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Key Points of the Public Nuisance Ordinance

  1. Purpose
    To remedy chronic problems at properties where City Code violations occur that annoy or disturb others. To hold property owners accountable for the use of their properties.
  2. Definition of "Public Nuisance"
    Three or more separate City Code violations at the same property within 12 months or 5 or more within 24 months. Written notice must have been sent to the property owner and tenants within 30 days of each violation, except the last one. The last violation must have occurred at least 45 days after the last notice. Each complaint about a separate violation must result in the issuance of a municipal court citation.
  3. Commencement of Nuisance Action
    Another notice must be posted at the property and mailed to the property owner at least 10 days before filing the action. After that ten-day period, the City may then file the action in municipal court and serve the summons and complaint on any person(s) that the City believes is responsible for the nuisance.
  4. Voluntary Agreement
    At any time after a notice has been sent out, a property owner can enter into a voluntary abatement plan with the City. If the property owner and the City reach such an agreement and the property owner does what he or she has agreed to do, no public nuisance action will be filed. Even without an agreement, a notice of violation will be stricken (not counted) if a landlord goes to court to evict a tenant that has caused the problem and does everything reasonably possible to avoid more of the same kinds of problems.
  5. City's Remedies
    If no voluntary abatement agreement is reached, the City can ask the Municipal Court to order the parties causing the nuisance to do whatever is necessary to put an end to the nuisance. Only in an emergency can the City get such an order without a court hearing. If the City gets such an order, the persons affected by the order can ask the Court to remove it at any time. At no time can the City seek or obtain a court order that would take away or close the property or place the property into "special receivership". A person who knowingly disobeys an abatement order issued by the court could be prosecuted for committing a misdemeanor criminal offense.
  6. Effect of Sale of the Property
    All previous notices of violations will be stricken (will not count) if the property is sold unless the property is sold simply to avoid the public nuisance ordinance.