4. Nuisance Abatement
8-4-2: NUISANCE DEFINED; VIOLATION SUBJECT TO CONTEMPT
8-4-3: COMPLAINT OF NUISANCE, RIGHT OF ENTRY IN EMERGENCY
8-4-4: SUMMARY ABATEMENT; NOTICE TO ABATE; ACTION TO ABATE A PUBLIC NUISANCE
8-4-5: ASSESSMENT AND COLLECTION OF COSTS OF ABATEMENT
8-4-6: SPECIFIC NUISANCES DECLARED
8-4-1: DEFINITIONS: (1634 1805 1999 3683) When used in this Chapter the following words shall be interpreted as follows, unless the context indicates otherwise:
“Action to Abate a Public Nuisance” shall mean any action brought in the Municipal Court to declare and then restrain, remove, terminate, prevent, abate, or perpetually enjoin a public nuisance.
“Administrative Officer” shall mean the City Manager, Community Development Director, Code Enforcement Supervisor, Fire Chief, Chief of Police, or Chief Building Official.
“Building” shall mean any dwelling, office building, store, warehouse, or structure of any kind, whether or not the building is permanently affixed to the ground upon which it is located, and any trailer, semi-trailer, mobile home, or any other vehicle designed or used for occupancy by persons for any purpose.
“Person” shall mean any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or agent, servant, or employee of any individual, partnership, corporation, association or other type of organization.
8-4-2: NUISANCE DEFINED; VIOLATION SUBJECT TO CONTEMPT: (1634 1646 1999 2523 3564)
(A) The following are deemed to be a public nuisance:
(1) Any building, land, substance or personal property, the use or condition of which presents a substantial danger or hazard to the physical health or safety of the public, or used for any purpose which is in violation of the provisions of the Official Code of the City of Westminster.
(2) The conducting or maintaining of any business, occupation, operation, or activity in violation of the provisions of the Official Code of the City of Westminster.
(3) Any business, occupation, operation, activity, or any building, land, substance, or personal property the use or condition of which has been identified as a public nuisance in the Official Code of the City of Westminster, the Colorado Revised Statutes, or the common law.
(B) Any person found guilty of violating any of the provisions of this Chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine or imprisonment or both, pursuant to Section 1-8-1 of this Code. Each day that a violation of any of the provisions of this Chapter continues to exist shall be deemed to be a separate and distinct violation.
(C) Whenever, in a criminal or non-criminal prosecution under this Code, the Municipal Court finds the existence of a nuisance, the Court is authorized to abate the nuisance and assess costs in the same fashion as if a civil abatement proceeding had been commenced under Title 8, Chapter 4 of this Code.
(D) Any violation of any injunctino or order issued by the Municipal Court in an action to abate a public nuisance may be punished as a contempt of court or by a fine as specified in Section 1-8-1 of this Code. Unless the violation by its nature cannot be corrected, each day’s failure to comply with an injunction or order to abate shall constitute a separate violation, for which an additional penalty may be imposed.
8-4-3: COMPLAINT OF NUISANCE, RIGHT OF ENTRY IN EMERGENCY: (1634 1999 3683)
(A) A person may make a complaint of the existence of a public nuisance to a Code Enforcement Officer, a Community Service Officer, a Fire Marshal, a member of City Council, the City Manager or his designee, or the Code Enforcement Supervisor. Such complaint shall include, whenever possible, the nature of the public nuisance, the location, including the address, the name of the owner, occupant, or manager of the property, the duration of the nuisance and the name and address of the complainant. Complaints shall be referred to the appropriate Code Enforcement Officer, Community Service Officer, or Fire Marshal.
(B) Whenever an administrative officer has reason to believe that a public nuisance exists, and that such public nuisance constitutes an emergency presenting imminent danger of serious injury to persons or property, the administrative officer, his authorized representative, a Fire Marshal, a Community Service Officer or a Police Officer may immediately enter into any building or upon any premises within the jurisdiction of the City of Westminster for purposes of inspection or abatement. (1634 1999)
8-4-4: SUMMARY ABATEMENT; NOTICE TO ABATE; ACTION TO ABATE A PUBLIC NUISANCE: (1634 1646 1661 1999 3683)
(A) Whenever a public nuisance exists which constitutes an emergency presenting imminent danger of serious injury to persons or property, an administrative officer may order without notice or judicial action that the public nuisance be summarily abated by removal, destruction or mitigation. The cost of abatement shall be paid by the owner of the property upon which the nuisance existed, pursuant to the procedures established in Section 8-4-5 (B).
(B) Unless a specific provision of this Code states otherwise, when a public nuisance does not require summary abatement, a Code Enforcement, Community Service or Police Officer or Fire Marshal may prepare and serve a notice to abate on the owner, manager, occupant or possessor of any property which constitutes the public nuisance or the person conducting or maintaining the business, occupation, operation, or activity which constitutes the public nuisance. Such notice shall:
(1) State that if the nuisance is not abated within seven (7) days an action may be brought in the Municipal Court to abate the nuisance and that the costs of abatement, plus ten percent (10%) of such costs for inspection, and other additional administrative costs, may be assessed against the person found by the Court to have caused, allowed to be caused or allowed to continue the public nuisance, and such costs may become a lien upon any property on which the abatement was performed.
(2) Be in writing, signed by the official issuing the notice, and be served, either personally or by means of posting on the premises upon which the nuisance exists. If notice is served by posting, a copy of the notice shall also be mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owner of record of the property at his last known address.
(C) When a public nuisance has not been voluntarily abated within the time specified in the notice to abate, the following procedure shall apply:
(1) The City may bring an action in the Municipal Court to have the nuisance declared as such by the Court and for an order enjoining the public nuisance or authorizing its restraint, removal, termination or abatement by the owner or the person who caused the nuisance or the person who allowed the nuisance to be caused or to continue, or an administrative officer, his authorized representative, a Police Officer, a Code Enforcement Officer, a Community Service Officer or any person under contract with the City to perform such services.
(2) The action to declare and abate a public nuisance shall be brought by the City in the name of the people of the City, by the filing of a complaint, which shall be verified or supported by an affidavit. Summons shall be issued and served as in civil cases, and any employee of the City of Westminster who is over the age of eighteen (18), may serve the summons and verified complaint upon the respondent. Trial shall be to the Court.
(3) A notice of appearance shall be served with the summons and complaint. The appearance date shall be not less than twenty-one days from the date of service of the summons and complaint. The trial shall be held upon the appearance date, unless the Court grants a continuance for good cause shown.
(4) The respondent shall file a response on or before the appearance date set forth in the notice of appearance.
(5) Upon the date and at the time set for appearance and trial, if the respondent has filed no response and fails to appear and if the City proves that proper service was made on the respondent at least twenty-one days prior to the appearance date, the Court may grant such orders as are requested by the City; except that, the Court shall order that enforcement by the City be stayed for ten days and that a copy of the Court's order be mailed to the respondent at his last known address. Failure to appear on any other date set for trial shall be grounds for entering a default and judgment thereon against a non-appearing party. For good cause shown, and prior to enforcement, the Court may set aside an entry of default and the judgment entered thereon.
(6) The judgment of the municipal court may be appealed to the district court.
(D) The remedies specified in this Section shall be in addition to all other remedies provided by law. (1634 1999)
8-4-5: ASSESSMENT AND COLLECTION OF COSTS OF ABATEMENT: (1634 1680 1805 1999)
(A) A person found by the court to have caused a public nuisance or allowed the nuisance to be caused or to continue shall be liable for the costs specified in section 8-4-5 (B). Such costs may be collected by the City in a civil action or assessed and filed as a lien against any property on which the abatement was performed as specified in this Section.
(B) If the costs of abatement have not been otherwise collected, the City Manager shall prepare a statement enumerating the actual costs of abatement and collection plus ten percent (10%) of the abatement costs for inspection and other administrative costs. The costs enumerated in this statement shall be a first and prior lien upon the property relating back to the date upon which the abatement was performed.
A copy of this statement shall be deposited in the United States mail or personally hand delivered to the owner. The owner may request a hearing before the City Finance Director to contest the amount of the costs. Such request must be made in writing and be filed with the Finance Director within thirty days of the date of mailing or service of the first statement to the owner. The owner shall be given at least two weeks written notice of the date, time and place of any hearing scheduled before the Finance Director. The decision of the Finance Director shall be final. If the statement remains unpaid, the amount shall be certified by the Finance Director to the County Treasurer of the County in which the property is located, as provided by Title I, Chapter 31 of this Code.
8-4-6: SPECIFIC NUISANCES DECLARED: (1634 1999 3338 3564) It shall be unlawful for any person to cause, maintain or permit a public nuisance. Public nuisance shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following acts or conditions:
(A) Fire hazards: Dry or dead shrubs, dead trees, combustible refuse, waste, and liquids, or any material growing on a street, sidewalk or upon private property within the City, which by reason of its size, manner of growth and location constitutes a fire hazard to a building, improvement, crop or other property, or when dry, will in reasonable probability constitute a fire hazard.
(B) Hazardous obstructions: An obstacle, landscaping, or thing installed or maintained in the sight triangle reaching a height higher than thirty (30) inches above the adjoining top of the curb at the applicable corner of the street intersection, or thirty (30) inches above the nearest pavement surface where there is no curb, or the existing traveled roadway at the corner in question where there is no curb or pavement. The sight triangle is that area adjacent to street intersections required to be free of visual obstructions as found in the most recent edition of "City of Westminster Standard Specifications for Design and Construction." Hazardous obstructions do not include existing or future permanent buildings otherwise constructed or maintained in accordance with applicable zoning and building regulations, public utility poles, and trees trimmed at the trunk at least eight (8) feet above the level of the ground surface, provided that such trees are spaced so that trunks do not obstruct the vision of motorists.
(C) Polluted water: A swimming pool, pond or other body of water which is abandoned, unattended, unfiltered, or not otherwise maintained, resulting in the water becoming polluted, or any standing or flowing water from a septic tank, cesspool, or sewer service line. For purposes of this Section "polluted water" means water contained in a swimming pool, pond, or other body of water, which contains one or more of the following: bacterial growth, including algae; remains of insects; remains of deceased animals; reptiles; rubbish; feces; refuse; debris; papers; and any other foreign matter or material which because of its nature or location constitutes an unhealthy, unsafe or unsightly condition.
(D) Public burning: The intentional outdoor burning of any material, structure, matter or thing, other than for the purpose of food preparation, unless specifically authorized by appropriate permit.
(E) Maintenance of property: Owning, leasing, occupying, managing or having possession of any premises in this City in such manner that any of the following conditions are found to exist thereon: .
(1) The premises are a detriment to public health, safety or general welfare;
(2) The premises are so out of harmony or conformity with the maintenance standards of adjacent properties as to cause substantial diminution of the enjoyment, use, or property values of such adjacent properties.
(3) The premises are abandoned, boarded up, partially destroyed, or left unreasonably in a state of partial construction.
(4) Buildings have dry rot, warping, or termite infestation.
(F) Parking in required front yard or side yard of residential property: Parking a vehicle on the front yard or side yard adjacent to the street of a residential property in violation of Section 10-1-12 of this Code.
(G) Vehicles Containing Trash or Junk: A truck or other vehicle which contains trash or junk in the bed or open trunk of the truck or other vehicle, parked on any street or public right-of-way, unless such junk or trash is completely and securely covered.