[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Wethersfield as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 8-15-2005; amended in its entirety 12-6-2010]
Editor's Note: This ordinance provided an effective date of 2-1-2011.
The purpose of this chapter is to establish a citation hearing procedure in accordance with C.G.S. §§ 7-148(c)(10)(A), 7-152b and 7-152c to be followed in all instances when citations are issued by Town of Wethersfield municipal officials.
Regulations and ordinances of the Town may be enforced by citations issued by designated municipal officers or employees, provided that the regulations and ordinances have been designated specifically by the Town for enforcement by citation in the same manner in which they are adopted, and the designated municipal officer or employee issues a written warning providing notice of the specific violation before issuing the citation. Except where some other appeals procedure is specifically provided, any municipal citation issued pursuant to any ordinance of the Town of Wethersfield, other than a license denial or revocation order, may be appealed to a hearing officer as provided in this section.
The Town Manager shall appoint one or more citation hearing officers, who shall be other than police officers or employees or persons who issue citations, to conduct the hearings authorized by this section.
After a citation has been issued and the fine or penalty has not been paid, the Town shall send notice to the alleged violator promptly (and no later than 12 months after the expiration of the final period for the uncontested payment of fines, penalties, costs or fees for any citation issued under any ordinance of the Town for an alleged violation). Such notice shall inform the violator and any other persons cited of the following:
The allegations against the violator and other persons cited and the amount of the fines, penalties, costs or fees due.
That the alleged violator or other person cited may contest liability by delivering, in person or by mail, written notice within 10 days of the date of the original notice to said violator that he or she desires to contest liability before a citation hearing officer.
That if the alleged violator does not demand such a hearing, an assessment and judgment shall be entered against him or her.
That such judgment may issue without further notice.
If the alleged violator or other person to whom notice has been sent pursuant to Subsection C above wishes to admit liability for any alleged violation, he or she may, without requesting a hearing, pay the full amount of the fines, penalties, costs or fees in person or by mail, to the official designated by the Town. Any alleged violator or other person who does not deliver or mail a written demand for a hearing within 10 days of the date of the first notice provided in Subsection C above shall be deemed to have admitted liability, and the designated municipal official shall certify such person's failure to respond to the hearing officer. The hearing officer shall thereupon enter and assess the fines, penalties, costs or fees provided for by law and shall follow the procedures set forth in Subsection E below.
Any person who requests a hearing shall be given written notice of the date, time and place for the hearing. Such hearing shall be held not less than 15 days nor more than 30 days from the date of the mailing of such notice, provided that the hearing officer shall grant, upon good cause shown, any reasonable request by any interested party for postponement or continuance. An original or certified copy of the initial notice of violation issued by a police officer or other issuing officer shall be filed and retained by the Town, shall be deemed to be a business record within the scope of C.G.S. § 52-180 and evidence of the facts contained therein. The presence of the police officer or issuing officer shall be required at the hearing if such person so requests. The alleged violator or other person wishing to contest liability shall appear at the hearing and may present evidence in his or her behalf. A designated Town official, other than the hearing officer, may present evidence on behalf of the Town. If the alleged violator fails to appear, the hearing officer may enter an assessment by default against him or her upon a finding of proper notice and liability under the applicable ordinance. The hearing officer may accept from such alleged violator copies of police reports, Motor Vehicle Department documents and other official documents by mail and may determine thereby that the appearance of such person is unnecessary. The hearing officer shall conduct the hearing in the order and form and with such methods of proof as he or she deems fair and appropriate. The rules regarding the admissibility of evidence shall not be strictly applied, but all testimony shall be given under oath or affirmation. If the offense consists of a motor vehicle parking violation, proof of the registration number of the motor vehicle involved shall be prima facie evidence in all proceedings that the owner of such vehicle was the operator thereof, provided that in the case of a leased or rented motor vehicle, such proof shall be prima facie evidence in any proceeding that the lessee was the operator thereof. The hearing officer shall announce his or her decision at the end of the hearing. If he or she determines that the alleged violator or other person is not liable, he or she shall dismiss the matter and enter his or her determination, in writing, accordingly. If he or she determines that the person is liable for the violation, he or she shall forthwith enter and assess the fines, penalties, costs or fees against such person as provided by the ordinance.
If such assessment is not paid on the date of its entry, the hearing officer shall send, by first-class mail, a notice of the assessment to the person found liable and shall file, not less than 30 days nor more than 12 months after such mailing, a certified copy of the notice of assessment with the Clerk of the Superior Court facility designated by the Chief Court Administrator, together with an entry fee of $8. The certified copy of the notice of assessment shall constitute a record of assessment. Within such twelve-month period, assessments against the same person may be accrued and filed as one record of assessment. The Clerk shall enter judgment, in the amount of such record of assessment and court costs of $8, against such person in favor of the Town. Notwithstanding any other provision of the General Statutes, the hearing officer's assessment, when so entered as a judgment, shall have the effect of a civil money judgment, and a levy of execution on such judgment may issue without further notice to such person.
The person against whom an assessment has been entered pursuant to this section is entitled to judicial review by way of appeal. An appeal shall be instituted within 30 days of the mailing of notice of such assessment by filing a petition to reopen assessment, together with an entry fee in an amount equal to the entry fee for a small claims case pursuant to C.G.S. § 52-259, in the Superior Court facility designated by the Chief Court Administrator, which shall entitle such person to a hearing in accordance with the rules of the Judges of the Superior Court.
In those instances where there is time to do so and where a continuing violation is not causing immediate or significant harm, a written warning providing notice of the specific violation shall be sent prior to issuing the citation.
The fine, penalty, cost or fee imposed under this article for any single violation shall not exceed the amount of $100 per occurrence. Each day such violation exists shall constitute a separate offense, and a separate citation may be issued unless otherwise specifically provided by the General Statutes.
All moneys received pursuant to the procedure set forth above shall be remitted to the office of the Town Treasurer.
Each of the following chapters is amended to add the following section: 53, 90, 99, 108, 116, 134, 136, 139, 157, 160.
The purpose of this chapter is to establish penalties for violations of the Town's Zoning Regulations and Inland and Wetland Regulations, establish procedures for issuance of citations to violators and for collections of fines and to have the Town's citation hearing procedure (Article I, Citation Hearing Procedure, of this Chapter 73) apply to citations hereunder issued.
The Town's Zoning Enforcement Official or agent is authorized to issue cease-and-desist orders or other appropriate orders to a violator of the Town's Zoning Regulations or the Town's Inland Wetland and Watercourses Regulations or of any approval or permit issued by the Town Planning and Zoning Commission or Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission. If such violation has not been remedied either immediately or within 10 days of the date of issuance of the cease- and-desist order or other appropriate order, as provided in the order, the Enforcement Official, or such other Town official or employee designated by the Town Manager to issue citations, unless such time has been extended for good cause by the Enforcement Official, shall issue a citation to the violator which shall invoke the Town's citation hearing procedure set forth in Article I, Citation Hearing Procedure, of this Chapter 73. However, in the case where a violation is found by the Enforcement Official or agent to be willful, penalties may be assessed from the date such violation has been committed.
The penalty for each violation of the zoning regulations or approvals or permits issued shall be $150 for each day that such violation continues beyond the compliance date in the cease-and-desist order. Notwithstanding the preceding, in instances of willful violations and instances where the violation is not corrected within such manner and time period stipulated in the order, fines may be assessed from the date such violation has been committed.
The penalty for each violation of the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Regulations or approvals or permits issued shall be from $150 to $1,000 for each day that such violation continues beyond the compliance date in the cease-and-desist order. Notwithstanding the preceding, in instances of willful violations and instances where the violation is not corrected within such manner and time period stipulated in the order, fines may be assessed from the date such violation has been committed. The Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission, within 10 days of the issuance of an order, shall hold a hearing to provide the alleged violator an opportunity to be heard and show cause why the order should not remain in effect. No fines may be levied against the state or any employee of the state acting within the scope of his employment.