TOP "3" Code Violations
You have received notification or correspondence from the City of Etowah Codes Enforcement Officer...
What should I do now?
1. You should contact the Codes Enforcement Officer as soon as possible to advise them that you have received the notification/correspondence and if you have questions or need clarification you will be able to address them immediately.
2. Make corrections to the findings you were notified of in Notice/correspondence.
3. Notify the City of Etowah Codes Officer that the corrections to the violations have been made. He will then verify the corrections are to code and the matter will be closed.
“Top 3 Code Violations”
Unlawful Clutter – Weeds & Overgrown/Dirty Lots – Junk Vehicles
1.) Unlawful Clutter
50.07 Premises to be kept clean.
(A) All persons within the city are required to keep their premises in a clean and sanitary condition, free from accumulation of refuse except when stored as provided in this chapter. Containers for a week’s storage of refuse or more shall be strong, durable and rodent and insect proof.
(B) No person shall allow or leave any debris, rubbish or unlawful clutter (as defined in 50.01 above) on his or her property for no longer than the defined time periods. All yards, side, front and back porches must be kept clean as above outlined. No sheets, towels, foil, plastic, flags, loose screens or other clutter shall be placed in windows. No “No Trespassing” signs shall be affixed on houses or trees.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
REFUSE or GARBAGE. All organic household waste, offal, animal and vegetable matter, such as has been prepared or intended to be used as food, or shall have arisen in the preparation of food and like matter, from restaurants, homes, apartments, wholesale and retail groceries, stores and produce stands. Dead animals or birds shall not be placed in garbage containers, but shall be disposed of in a proper, lawful and humane manner by the owner or keeper.
TRASH. All cold ashes, papers, cans, leaves, weeds, portions of trees, branches, grass, old and worn out household machines, furniture and boxes; provided, it is an accumulation from that property and no debris from contract work (i.e., a store replaces a stove, the store removes the old stove; house remodeled, the contractor removes all debris). If the owner has been verified to have done the work, the city will help remove that debris. Dwelling unit is one that has a semi-private bath, kitchen and bedroom as a minimum.
UNLAWFUL CLUTTER. All waste or non-waste toys, tools, papers of every description, auto parts, furniture, appliances, discarded sand, broken limbs, discarded gravel, ashes, brick bats, tin cans, aluminum cans, empty glass containers, trash, garbage, old firewood not neatly stacked, lumber, upholstered indoor furniture, boxes, mattresses, building materials, yard maintenance items, usable items left in the yard or porches for days at a time, discarded materials of every kind, all of which is left in front, back or side yards, or porches, more than one week; or waste or non-waste building material left in front, back or side yards for more than 30 days.
(1994 Code, § 17-101) (Ord. 434, passed 1-7-1987; Ord. 744, passed 10-29-2013)
2.) Weeds and Overgrown/Dirty Lots
§ 91.04 WEEDS.
(A) Cutting grass and weeds; civil offense. Every owner or tenant of property shall periodically cut the grass and other vegetation commonly recognized as weeds on his or her property, and it shall be a civil offense for any person to fail to comply with an order by the Codes Enforcement Officer to cut such vegetation when it has reached a height of over one foot.
(B) Prohibited vegetation.
(1) It shall be unlawful for any property owner, occupant, or person in control of any lot or parcel of land within the city to fail to eradicate on any such lot or parcel of land any noxious weeds, ragweed, poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, thistle,, kudzu or any random invasive privet hedge. A weed may be added to or deleted from the list of noxious weeds by resolution of the City Commission.
(2) Such noxious weeds may be destroyed by cutting or removal, by spraying with a chemical compound/herbicide, by plowing under, or by such other method as recommended by the University of Tennessee Agriculture Extension Office.
(1994 Code, § 13-104) (Ord. 494, passed 9-2-1993; Ord. 796, passed 11-28-2016) Penalty, see § 10.99
§ 91.07 OVERGROWN AND DIRTY LOTS.
(A) Prohibition. Pursuant to the authority granted to municipalities under Tenn. Code Ann. § 6-54-113, it shall be unlawful for any owner of record of real property to create, maintain or permit to be maintained on such property the growth of trees, vines, grass, underbrush and/or the accumulations of debris, trash, litter or garbage or any combination of the preceding elements so as to endanger the health, safety or welfare of other citizens or to encourage the infestation of rats and other harmful animals.
(B) Application. The provisions of this section shall apply to any and all parcels of property located within the corporate limits of the city. There shall be no limitation upon the application of this section.
(1) (a) Citation. It shall be unlawful for any property owner to create, maintain or permit the growth of trees, vines, grass, underbrush or the accumulation of debris, trash, litter or garbage or any combination of the preceding elements that would endanger the health, safety or welfare of other citizens, or encourage the infestation of rats and other harmful insects and animals. The officer is authorized to issue a citation (to be served in the same manner as the notice set out below) for violations of this section and shall give notice to the property owner to appear and answer the charges against him, her or them in municipal court.
(b) Civil penalty. Any person violating this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of $50 plus court costs for each separate violation of this section. Each day the violation of this section continues shall be considered a separate violation.
(2) Clean up at property owner’s expense. If the property owner of record fails or refuses to remedy the condition within five to 30 days excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays (the time periods established for compliance shall be at the discretion of the officer) after receiving a citation or notice of violation, the officer shall immediately cause the condition to be remedied or removed at a cost in conformity with reasonable standards, and the cost thereof shall be assessed against the owner of the property at a minimum charge of $75. Upon the filing of the notice with the Office of the Register of Deeds for McMinn County, the costs shall be a lien on the property in favor of the municipality, second only to liens of the state, county and municipality for taxes, any lien of the municipality for special assessments and any valid lien, right or interest in such property duly recorded and perfected by filing prior to the filing of such notice. These costs shall be placed on the tax rolls of the municipality as a lien and shall be added to property tax bills to be collected at the same time and in the same manner as property taxes are collected. If the owner fails to pay the costs, they may be collected at the same time and in the same manner as delinquent property taxes are collected and shall be subject to the same penalty and interest as delinquent property taxes.
(3) Remedies not exclusive. The remedies provided in this chapter are not exclusive or in lieu of other rights and remedies that the city may have. The Codes Enforcement Officer, in the exercise of reasonable discretion, may elect to issue a citation, notice of violation or to clean up the property at the owner’s expense.
(D) Notice to property owner. All notices by the Codes Enforcement Officer served upon the owner of record in violation of the provisions of this section, shall state in plain language to remedy any such condition within five to 30 days excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays. The time periods established for compliance shall be at the discretion of the officer.
(1) All notices shall be sent either by:
(a) Registered or certified United States mail, addressed to the last known address of the owner of record as documented by the County Tax Assessor;
(b) Hand delivered with the deliverer obtaining the owner’s signature or with the delivers affidavit confirming receipt/delivery of the notice; or
(c) If the whereabouts of such person is unknown and the same cannot be ascertained by the exercise of reasonable diligence, the officer shall make an affidavit to that effect and then post such notice in conspicuous place on the property or premises.
(2) The notice shall state that the owner of the property is entitled to a hearing before the City Municipal Judge, and shall, at the minimum, contain the following additional information:
(a) A brief statement that the owner is in violation of this section (§ 91.07) of the Etowah Municipal Code and that the property of such owner may be cleaned up at the expense of the owner and a lien placed against the property to secure the cost of the clean-up;
(b) The office, address and telephone number of the department or person giving the notice;
(c) A cost estimate for remedying the noted condition, which shall be in conformity with the standards of cost in the city as adopted by the City Commission; and
(d) That the property owner may request a hearing.
(E) Appeal. The owner of record who is aggrieved by the determination and order of the public officer may appeal the determination and order to the City Commission. The appeal shall be filed with the city within ten days following the receipt of the notice issued pursuant to division (D) above. The failure to appeal within this time shall, without exception, constitute a waiver of the right to a hearing.
(F) Judicial review. Any person aggrieved by an order or act of the City Commission under division (D) above may seek judicial review of the order or act. The time period established in division (C) above shall be stayed during the pendency of judicial review.
(G) Supplemental nature of this section. The provisions of this section are in addition and supplemental to, and not in substitution for, any other provision in the municipal charter, this municipal code of ordinances or other applicable law which permits the city to proceed against an owner, tenant or occupant of property who has created, maintained or permitted to be maintained on such property the growth of trees, vines, grass, weeds, underbrush and/or the accumulation of the debris, trash, litter or garbage or any combination of the preceding elements, under its charter, any other provisions of this municipal code of ordinances or any other applicable law.
(1994 Code, § 13-108) (Ord. 569, passed 10-26-1998; Ord. 686, passed 8-25-2008; Ord. 749, passed 12-16-2013; Ord. passed - -)
3.) Junk Vehicles
§ 92.15 DEFINITIONS.
For the purpose of this subchapter, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
JUNK VEHICLE. A vehicle of any age that is damaged or defective in any one or combination of any of the following ways that either makes the vehicle immediately inoperable, or would prohibit the vehicle from being operated in a reasonably safe manner upon the public streets and highways under its own power if self-propelled, or while being towed or pushed, if not self-propelled:
(1) Flat tires, missing tires, missing wheels or missing or partially or totally disassembled tires and wheels;
(2) Missing inoperative or partially or totally disassembled essential part or parts of the vehicle’s drive train, including, but not limited to, engine, transmission, clutch, transaxle, drive shaft, differential or axle;
(3) Extensive exterior body damage or missing or partially or totally disassembled essential body parts, including, but not limited to, fenders, doors, engine hood, bumper or bumpers, windshield or windows;
(4) Missing inoperative or partially or totally disassembled essential interior parts, including, but not limited to, driver’s seat, steering wheel, instrument panel, clutch pedal, brake pedal, gear shift lever;
(5) Missing inoperative or partially or totally disassembled parts essential to the starting or running of the vehicle under its own power, including, but not limited to, starter, generator or alternator, battery, distributor, gas tank, carburetor or fuel injection system, spark plugs, brakes or radiator;
(6) Interior is a container for metal, glass, paper, rags or other cloth, wood, auto parts, machinery, waste or discarded materials in such quantity, quality and arrangement that a driver cannot be properly seated in the vehicle;
(7) Lying on the ground (upside down, on its side or at other extreme angle), sitting on block or suspended in the air by any other method; and
(8) General environment in which the vehicle sits, including, but not limited to, vegetation that has grown up around, in or through the vehicle, the collection of pools of water in the vehicle and the accumulation of other garbage or debris around the vehicle.
PERSON. Any natural person, or any firm, partnership, association, corporation or other organization of any kind and description.
PRIVATE PROPERTY. All property that is not public property, regardless of how the property is zoned or used.
TRAVELED PORTION OF ANY PUBLIC STREET OR HIGHWAY. The width of the street from curb to curb, or where there are no curbs, the entire width of the paved portion of the street, or where the street is unpaved, the entire width of the street in which vehicles ordinarily use for travel.
VEHICLE. Any machine propelled by power other than human power, designed to travel along the ground by the use of wheels, treads, self-laying tracks, runners, slides or skids, including, but not limited to, automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, motor scooters, go-carts, campers, tractors, trailers, tractor-trailers, buggies, wagons and earth-moving equipment, and any part of the same.
(1994 Code, § 13-401) (Ord. 584, passed 12-13-1999)
§ 92.16 VIOLATIONS A CIVIL OFFENSE.
§ 92.16 VIOLATIONS A CIVIL OFFENSE.
It shall be unlawful and a civil offense for any person:
(A) To park and/or in any other manner place and leave unattended on the traveled portion of any public street or highway a junk vehicle for any period of time, even if the owner or operator of the vehicle did not intend to permanently desert or forsake the vehicle;
(B) To park or in any other manner place and leave unattended on the untraveled portion of any street or highway, or upon any other public property, a junk vehicle for more than 48 continuous hours, even if the owner or operator of the vehicle did not intend to permanently desert or forsake the vehicle; and/or
(C) To park, store, keep, maintain on private property a junk vehicle for more than 60 days.
(1994 Code, § 13-402) (Ord. 584, passed 12-13-1999) Penalty, see § 92.99
§ 92.17 EXCEPTIONS.
(A) It shall be permissible for a person to park, store, keep and maintain a junked vehicle on private property under the following conditions:
(1) The junk vehicle is completely enclosed within a building where neither the vehicle, nor any part of it, is visible from the street or from any other abutting property. However, this exception shall not exempt the owner or person in possession of the property from any zoning, building, housing, property maintenance and other regulations governing the building in which such vehicle is enclosed; and/or
(2) The junk vehicle is parked or stored on property lawfully zoned for the parking or storage of such vehicles. However, this exception shall not exempt the owner or occupant of the property from any other zoning, building, property maintenance and other regulations governing the manner in which such vehicles can be kept on such property.
(B) No person shall park, store, keep and maintain on private property a junk vehicle for any period of time if it poses an immediate threat to the health and safety of citizens of the city.
(1994 Code, § 13-403) (Ord. 584, passed 12-13-1999) Penalty, see § 92.99
§ 92.18 ENFORCEMENT.
(A) (1) Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 7-63-101, the Codes Enforcement Officer is authorized to issue an ordinance summons for violations of this subchapter on private property. The Codes Enforcement Officer shall upon the complaint of any citizen, or acting on his or her own information, investigate complaints of junked vehicles on private property.
(2) If, after such investigation, the Codes Enforcement Officer finds a junked vehicle on private property, he or she shall issue an ordinance summons. The ordinance summons shall be served upon the owner or owners of the property, and shall give notice to the same to appear and answer the charges against him, her or them.
(B) If the offender refuses to sign the agreement to appear, the Codes Enforcement Officer may:
(1) Request the city judge to issue a summons; or
(2) Request a police office to witness the violation.
(C) The police officer who witnesses the violation may issue the offender a citation in lieu of arrest as authorized by Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 7-63-101 et seq. or if the offender refuses to sign the citation, may arrest the offender for failure to sign the citation in lieu of arrest.
(1994 Code, § 13-404) (Ord. 584, passed 12-13-1999)
§ 92.99 PENALTY.
Any person violating any provision of this chapter for which no specific penalty is prescribed shall be subject to § 10.99 of this code of ordinances.
(1994 Code, § 13-405) (Ord. 584, passed 12-13-1999)