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Town of Vernon, WI
Waukesha County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Vernon 1-6-1998 by Ord. No. 47 (Ch. 4 of the Town Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Adult-oriented establishments — See Ch. 105.
Animals — See Ch. 117.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 160.
Heating devices — See Ch. 174.
Intoxicating liquor and fermented malt beverages — See Ch. 187.
Noise — See Ch. 221.
Peace and good order — See Ch. 244.
Refuse disposal and recycling — See Ch. 262.
[Amended 6-19-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-04]
No person shall erect, contrive, cause, continue, maintain, or permit the existence of any public nuisance within the Town of Vernon, Waukesha County, Wisconsin.
[Amended 6-19-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-04]
A public nuisance is an object, act, occupation, condition or use of property which shall continue for such length of time as to:
A. 
Substantially annoy, disturb, injure or endanger the comfort, quiet, peace, health, repose or safety of the public.
B. 
In any way render the public insecure in life or in the use of property.
C. 
Greatly offend public morals or decency.
D. 
Unlawfully and substantially interfere with, or obstruct, or tend to obstruct or render dangerous for passage, any street, alley, highway, navigable body of water or other public way or the use of public property.
E. 
Cause a substantial negative impact on the value of neighboring properties as a result of, or related to, failure by any owner and/or occupant to keep the premises, or any structure thereon, in a reasonably good state of maintenance and repair.
[Amended 8-16-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-08; 6-19-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-04]
The following acts, omissions, places, conditions and objects are hereby specifically declared to be public nuisances, but such enumeration shall not be construed to exclude other health nuisances or hazards coming within the definition of § 230-2:
A. 
Adulterated food: all decayed, harmfully adulterated or unwholesome food or drink sold or offered for sale to the public.
B. 
Unburied carcasses: carcasses of animals, birds or fowl not intended for human consumption or food which are not buried or otherwise disposed of in an appropriate sanitary manner within 24 hours after the death of such animal, bird or fowl.
C. 
Breeding places for insects or vermin: accumulation of decayed animal or vegetable matter, trash, rubbish, rotting lumber, bedding, packing material, scrap metal or any material whatsoever in which flies, mosquitoes, disease-carrying insects, rats or other vermin may breed.
D. 
Privy vaults and garbage cans: privy vaults and garbage cans which are not flytight.
E. 
Noxious weeds: all noxious weeds identified in § 66.0407(1)(b), Wis. Stats., and other rank growth of vegetation. The Town may cause rank growth and noxious weeds to be cut and removed. Failure to comply could result in the Town removing the noxious weeds, and the expense of the removal shall be charged to the real estate where removed pursuant to § 66.0627, Wis. Stats.
F. 
Animals at large: all domestic animals running at large or not confined within the owner's property.
G. 
Abandoned wells: all abandoned wells not securely covered or secured from public use.
H. 
Stagnant water: all stagnant water in which mosquitoes, flies or other insects can multiply.
I. 
Smoking in public buildings: smoking in public places in the Town is prohibited in accordance with § 101.123, Wis. Stats.
J. 
Animal waste.
(1) 
Waste removal. The owner or person having immediate control of an animal shall promptly remove and dispose of, in a sanitary manner, any feces left or deposited by the animal upon any property not owned by such person.
(2) 
Proof of intent to remove waste. It shall be unlawful for any person to permit a dog or cat to be on such property, not owned or possessed by such person, unless such person has, in his/her immediate possession, an appropriate means of removing animal feces. This Subsection J(2) shall not be applicable in cases in which a person is being assisted by a properly trained service dog which is assisting such person due to such person's physical disability.
K. 
Loud, discordant and unnecessary noises, vibrations, electronic sound amplification devices, or any other noise or vibration which unreasonably annoys or disturbs a neighborhood or any considerable number of persons within the Town.
L. 
Unnecessary or disturbing noise prohibited. Violations of § 221-1 shall constitute a violation of this chapter.
The following acts, omissions, places, conditions, and objects are hereby declared to be public nuisances affecting peace and safety; however, such enumeration shall not be construed to exclude other nuisances affecting public peace or safety coming within the provisions of § 230-2:
A. 
Dangerous signs, billboards, etc. All signs and billboards, awnings and other structures over or near streets, sidewalks, public grounds, or places frequented by the public, so situated or constructed as to endanger the public safety.
B. 
Unauthorized traffic signs. All unauthorized signs, signals, markings or devices placed or maintained upon or in view of any public highway or railway crossing which purport to be or may be mistaken as an official traffic control device, railroad sign or signal or which because of their color, location, brilliance or manner of operation interfere with the effectiveness of any such device, sign or signal.
C. 
Obstruction of intersections. All trees, hedges, billboards, or other obstructions which prevent persons driving vehicles on public streets, alleys, or highways from obtaining a clear view of traffic when approaching an intersection or pedestrian crosswalk. Any such obstruction which falls within a vision clearance triangle extending 25 feet horizontally along each street line from their intersection and within a vertical clearance of six feet shall be presumed to be a violation of this subsection.
D. 
Low-hanging tree limbs. All limbs of trees which project over and less than eight feet above the surface of a public sidewalk or 14 feet above the surface of the portion of the street, highway, or alley traveled by vehicles.
E. 
Fireworks. The use or display of fireworks except as provided by the laws of the State of Wisconsin and ordinances of the Town.
F. 
Dilapidated buildings. All buildings or structures so old, dilapidated or out of repair as to be dangerous, unsafe, unsanitary or otherwise unfit for human use or occupancy.
G. 
Low-hanging wires and cables. All wires over streets, alleys, highway, or public grounds which are strung less than 15 feet above the surface thereof.
H. 
Loud, discordant and unnecessary noises or vibration. Any noise or vibration which greatly annoys or disturbs a neighborhood or any considerable number of persons within the Town.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsections (1), (2) and (3), regarding noise permits, which were part of this subsection, have been moved to Ch. 221, Noise.
I. 
Noisy animal or fowl. The keeping or harboring of any animal or fowl which by frequent or habitual howling, yelping, barking, or making of other noises shall greatly annoy or disturb a neighborhood or any considerable number of persons within the Town.
J. 
Obstruction of streets; excavations. All obstructions of streets, alleys, highways, sidewalks, or crosswalks and all excavations in or under the same, except as permitted by the ordinances of the Town of Vernon, or which, although made in accordance with such ordinances, are kept or maintained for an unreasonable or illegal length of time after the purpose thereof has been accomplished.
K. 
Unguarded pits, wells, etc. All open and unguarded pits, wells, excavations, or unused basements, freely accessible from any public street, alley, highway, or sidewalk.
L. 
Abandoned appliances. All public accessible or abandoned appliances from which the doors and other covers have not been removed or which are not equipped with a device for opening from the inside.
M. 
Hazardous materials. Repeated or continuous violations of the ordinances of the Town or Wisconsin Statutes relating to the use or storage of flammable liquids and/or hazardous materials.
N. 
Animals at large. Violation of § 117-2A of the Town Code regarding animals running at large.
[Added 7-21-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-03]
O. 
Vicious animals. Violation of § 117-2B of the Town Code regarding vicious animals.
[Added 7-21-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-03]
The following acts, omissions, places, conditions and objects are hereby specifically declared to be public nuisances offending the comfort, health, repose or safety of the Town of Vernon, but such enumeration shall not be construed to exclude other nuisances offending morals and decency within the definition of § 230-2:
A. 
Disorderly houses. All disorderly houses, bawdy houses, houses of ill fame, gambling houses and buildings or structures kept or resorted to or for the purpose of prostitution, promiscuous sexual intercourse or gambling.
B. 
Gambling devices. All gambling devices, slot machines and punch boards.
C. 
Unlicensed sale of liquor and beer. All places where intoxicating liquor or fermented malt beverages are sold, possessed, stored, brewed, bottled, manufactured or rectified without a permit or license as provided for by the ordinances of the Town.
D. 
Continuous violation of Town ordinances. Any place or premises within the Town where Town ordinances or state laws relating to public health, safety, peace, morals or welfare are openly, continuously, repeatedly and intentionally violated.
E. 
Illegal drinking. Any place or premises resorted to or for the purpose of drinking intoxicating liquor or fermented malt beverages in violation of state laws.
[Amended 3-16-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-05]
A. 
As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meaning indicated:
LITTER
Includes, but is not limited to, trash and wastepaper lying scattered about and an untidy accumulation of objects of any kind.
RUBBISH
Includes, but is not limited to, waste materials and refuse of every character and kind, collected and/or accumulated.
TRASH
Includes, but is not limited to, things or objects worth little or nothing or a thing or object in a crumbled, broken or inoperable condition.
B. 
All owners of property located within a residential district of the Town of Vernon who fail to keep their premises free of litter, debris, trash or rubbish shall be in violation of this chapter.
C. 
All property owners within the Town of Vernon who allow their property to accumulate trash, litter or rubbish shall be considered to be in violation of this chapter.
[Amended 9-21-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-05]
No person shall occupy any camper, tent or mobile home structure for more than 30 days in a calendar year.
A. 
Junked automobiles, etc. No disassembled, inoperable, unlicensed, junked or wrecked motor vehicles, truck bodies, tractors, trailers or appliances shall be stored or allowed to remain in the open upon public or private property within the Town for a period exceeding five days if upon public property or for a period exceeding 30 days if upon private property. Any business engaged in automotive sales or repair must screen such vehicles by live planting or fencing as allowed by the County Zoning Code.
[Amended 3-16-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-05]
B. 
Farm exemption. All farms that produce farm products for sale, defined under § 93.01(5), Wis. Stats., are exempt from this section.
C. 
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meaning indicated:
APPLIANCE
Any stove, washer, refrigerator or freezer which is no longer operable in the sense for which it was manufactured.
DISASSEMBLED, INOPERABLE, JUNKED OR WRECKED MOTOR VEHICLES, TRUCK BODIES, TRACTORS OR TRAILERS
Motor vehicles, recreational vehicles, truck bodies, tractors, farm machinery or trailers in such state of physical or mechanical ruin as to be incapable of propulsion or being operated upon the public streets or highways or which are otherwise not in safe or legal condition for operation on public streets or highways due to missing or inoperative parts, flat or removed tires, expired or missing license plates or other defects.
[Amended 3-16-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-05]
MOTOR VEHICLE
Defined in § 340.01(35), Wis. Stats.
UNLICENSED
As referring to motor vehicles, truck bodies, tractors, or trailers shall be defined as follows: motor vehicles, truck bodies, semitractors and trailers which do not bear lawful and current license plates.
D. 
Abandoned vehicles, etc. No person shall leave unattended any motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer or mobile home on any public stretch of highway, or public or private property, for such time and under such circumstances as to cause the vehicle to reasonably appear to have been abandoned. When any such vehicle has been left unattended on any street or highway or on any public or private property within the Town of Vernon without the permission of the owner for a period of more than 72 hours, the vehicle is deemed abandoned and constitutes a public nuisance.
It shall be the policy of the Town of Vernon to regulate and control the planting, transplanting, removal, maintenance, and protection of public and private trees and shrubs in the Town in order to eliminate and guard against dangerous conditions which may result in injury to persons using the streets, highways, alleys, sidewalks or property of the Town; to promote the beauty and general welfare of the Town; to protect trees and shrubs located in the public areas of the Town from undesirable and unsafe planting, removal, treatment, and maintenance practices; and to control the spread of tree disease.
A. 
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meaning indicated:
BUSH or SHRUB
A low-spreading woods plant with several permanent stems.
PUBLIC TREES AND SHRUBS
All trees or shrubs planted on any park or other property owned or controlled by the Town or on any street, highway, alley or sidewalk within the public right-of-way, including terrace trees and shrubs, but excluding school sites.
TREE
A woods perennial plant with one main stem or trunk having a diameter of at least two inches, one foot above the ground, and which is capable of attaining a height in excess of 10 feet above the ground.
B. 
Prohibition. No person shall plant any bush, shrub or tree in any public easement, street, road, alley, highway or terrace.
C. 
Trimming. The owner or occupant of any private property shall keep all trees standing on such property so trimmed that no bough or branch thereof shall hang lower than 14 feet above the surface of the street, highway, or alley traveled by vehicles. Shrubs shall be trimmed so that they do not overhang any street, alley, highway, or sidewalk. The owner or occupant of any private property shall remove or cause to be removed any dead tree or dead or broken bough or branch on a tree standing on such private property and overhanging any public street, road, alley, sidewalk or highway.
[Amended 3-16-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-05]
D. 
Damage to trees and shrubs on public property. No person shall maliciously injure any trees growing on any public street, road, alley, or highway or impede the free passage of water or air to such trees. Similar provisions apply to trees and shrubs located on public parks and other public property.
(1) 
No person shall remove or cause to be removed any tree or shrub from any public property.
(2) 
The owner or occupant of any private property abutting on any public property may him/herself maintain and protect any tree standing on such public property at his or her own risk with permission from the Vernon Town Board, provided that in doing so there is compliance with the provisions of this chapter.
A. 
Inspection of premises. Whenever a complaint is made to any Town Board member or a Town enforcement officer that a public nuisance exists within the Town of Vernon, the above-mentioned Board member or officer shall promptly and forthwith inspect or cause the inspection of the premises complained of and shall make a written report of his findings to the Town Board. Whenever practicable, the above-mentioned Board member or officer shall photograph the premises and shall file the same in the office of the Town Clerk.
B. 
Summary of abatement.
[Amended 3-16-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-05]
(1) 
Notice to owner. If the above-mentioned Board member or officer shall determine that a public nuisance exists within the Town and that there is great and immediate danger to the public health, safety, peace, morals or decency, any Town Board Supervisor may direct the enforcement officer to serve a notice upon a person causing, permitting, or maintaining such nuisance, whether an owner or occupant of the premises where such nuisance is caused, permitted or maintained. If immediate personal service cannot be made, a copy of such notice shall be posted on the premises in a location likely to attract the attention of the owner or occupant thereof, as well as direct mail notice to the last known owner of said property. Such notice shall direct the person causing, permitting, or maintaining such nuisance, or the owner or occupant to the premises, to abate and remove such nuisance within 24 hours or a mutually agreed upon time between the property owner and Town Board Supervisor and shall state that unless such nuisance is so abated, the Town may cause the same to be abated and will charge the cost thereof to the owner, occupant, or person causing, permitting or maintaining the nuisance.
(2) 
Abatement by Town. If the nuisance is not abated within the time provided or if the owner, occupant or person causing the nuisance cannot be found, the Town Board in the case of health nuisances and other cases shall cause the abatement or removal of such public nuisance.
C. 
Abatement by court action. If the above-mentioned Board member or officer shall determine that a public nuisance exists on private premises but that the nature of such nuisance is not such as to threaten great and immediate danger to the public health, safety, peace, morals or decency, he or she shall file a written report of his or her findings with the Town Chairperson, who shall cause an action to abate such nuisance to be commenced in the name of the Town in the Circuit Court of Waukesha County in accordance with the provisions of Ch. 823, Wis. Stats. In the alternative, any Town Board Supervisor may direct the Town enforcement officer to issue one or more citations for each day of violation of said time period and to report back whether compliance has occurred.
[Amended 3-16-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-05]
D. 
Other methods not excluded. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as prohibiting the abatement of public nuisances by the Town of Vernon or its officials in accordance with the laws of the State of Wisconsin.
In addition to any other penalty imposed by this chapter for the erection, contrivance, creation, continuance or maintenance of a public nuisance, the cost of abatement of any public nuisance by the Town shall be collect as a debt from the owner, occupant or person causing, permitting, or maintaining the nuisance. If notice to abate the nuisance has been given to the owner previously, such cost shall be assessed against the real property where such violation occurred as a special charge unless paid earlier.
[Amended 11-21-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1; 2-16-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-03; 6-19-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-04]
A. 
Penalties according to number of offenses.
(1) 
First offense: A written warning is issued to the offending party by an Officer of the Sheriff's Department. The full name, address and age of the person or persons violating this chapter along with the date, time, and place of the occurrence shall be logged by the Officer, and a copy of same is to be emailed to the Vernon Town Clerk, who shall maintain a database on all offenders and occurrences. The focus of the first citation is to educate the offending party or parties, and to seek compliance.
(2) 
Second offense: A written warning is issued to the offending party by an Officer of the Sheriff's Department. The full name, address, and age of the person or persons violating this chapter along with the date, time and place of the occurrence shall be logged by the Officer, and a copy of same is to be emailed to the Vernon Town Clerk, who shall check the database for all offenders and occurrences, and on the occurrence of a second offense will notify the offender by registered mail that the Town of Vernon will strictly enforce a third or subsequent violation.
(3) 
Third offense: Any person, who shall violate any provision of this chapter for a third time shall be issued a citation, and upon conviction thereof, forfeit not less than $250 nor more than $500 together with the costs of prosecution, and in default of payment of such forfeiture and costs shall be imprisoned in the County Jail until such forfeiture and costs are paid, but not exceeding 30 days.
(4) 
Continued violations. Each violation and each day a violation continues to occur shall constitute a separate offense.
B. 
Penalties for a violation of this chapter shall be as described in Chapter 1, § 1-10 of this Code.