Sec. 6-1-5 Regulation of Length of Lawn and Grasses.
(a) Purpose. This Section is adopted due to the unique nature of the problems associated with lawns, grasses and noxious weeds being allowed to grow to excessive length in the City of Elroy.
(b) Public Nuisance Declared. The Common Council finds that lawns, grasses and noxious weeds on non-agricultural lots or parcels of land, as classified under the City Zoning Code, within the City of Elroy which exceed eight (8) inches in length adversely affect the public health and safety of the public in that they tend to emit pollen and other discomforting bits of plants. constitute a fire hazard and a safety hazard in that debris can be hidden in the grass, interferes with the public convenience and adversely affects property values of other land within the City. For that reason, any non-agricultural lawn, grass or weed on a lot or other parcel of land which exceeds eight (8) inches in length is hereby declared to be a public nuisance, except for property located in a designated floodplain area and/or wetland area or agricultural area.
(c) Nuisances Prohibited. No person, firm or corporation shall permit any public nuisance as defined in Subsection (b) above to remain on any premises owned or controlled by him/her within the City.
(d) Inspection. The Weed Commissioner or his/her designee shall inspect or cause to be inspected all premises and places within the City to determine whether any public nuisance as defined in Subsection (b) above exists.
(e) Abatement of Nuisance. Abatement of Nuisance. If the owner or occupant shall fail to cut any lawns as required herein, the Weed Commissioner/City Administrator of the City shall provide ten (10) days written notice by mail to the owner or occupant of any lands upon which grass is growing in violation of this section. If said lawn is not mowed within ten (10) days from the date of said notice the City may proceed to mow or have mowed said lawn to meet the requirements of this section. The cost of said mowing will be assessed as a tax upon the lands upon which said lawn is growing pursuant to the provisions of Sec. 66.96, Wis. Stats. If the owner or occupant further neglects to comply with said notice, then the Weed Commissioner/City Administrator shall mow or have mowed said lawns to comply with this Section and shall include the cost of said mowing and the cost of billing and administrative expenses and shall charge said costs against the property and be collected as a special tax thereon. In addition, any owner or occupant violating this Section shall be subject to a forfeiture as set forth in section 1-1-7.
(f) Due Process Hearing. If the owner believes that his/her grasses or weeds are not a nuisance, he/she may request a hearing before the Common Council. The request for said hearing must be made in writing to the City Administrator’s office within the ten (10) days set forth in the notice to abate. Upon application for the hearing, the property owner must deposit a Twenty-five Dollar ($25.00) bond. If a decision is rendered in the property owner’s favor, the Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00) will be returned to the property owner. If the property owner fails to appear for the hearing or if the decision is rendered against the property owner, the deposit shall be forfeited and applied to the cost of City personnel abating the nuisance, if necessary. When a hearing is requested by the owner of the property, a hearing by the Common Council shall be held within seven (7) days from the date of the owner’s request. The property in question will not be mowed by the City until such time as the hearing is held by the Common Council. At the hearing, the owner may appear in person or by his/her attorney, may present witnesses in his/her own behalf and may cross-examine witnesses presented by the City as well as subpoena witnesses for his/her own case. At the close of the hearing, the Common Council shall make its determination in writing specifying its findings, facts, and conclusions. If the Common Council determines that a public nuisance did exist, the Common Council shall order the Weed Commissioner to mow the property in question unless the property has been mowed by the owner within forty-eight (48) hours of the Common Council’ decision. If the owner does not abate the nuisance within the described forty-eight (48) hours, the Weed Commissioner shall cause the same nuisance to be abated and cost in excess of the forfeited fee assessed accordingly.
(g) City’s Option To Abate Nuisance. In any case where the owner, occupant or person in charge of the property shall fail to cut his/her lawn, grass or weeds as set forth above, then, and in that event, the City may elect to cut said lawn, grass or weeds as follows:
(1) The written notice required in Subsection (e) shall inform said person that in the event of his/her failure to abate the nuisance within the prescribed time, the City shall abate the same and the cost thereof shall be assessed to the property owner as a special charge.
(2) The City shall cut or cause to be cut all grass and weeds from the subject’s property and shall charge the expenses of so doing at a rate as established by resolution by the Common Council. The charges shall be set forth in a statement to the City Administrator who, in turn, shall mail the same to the owner, occupant or person in charge of the subject premises. If said statement is not paid in full within thirty (30) days thereafter, the City Administrator shall enter the charges in the tax roll as a special tax against said lot or parcel of land, and the same shall be collected in all respects like other taxes upon real estate, or as provided under Sec. 66.6 15(3)(f), Wis. Stats.
(h) Second and Subsequent Violations. If one notice has been sent, as set forth in this subsection, in any one calendar year, no further notices for additional violations on the same property are required in that calendar year. If lawns, grasses or noxious weeds on non-agricultural lots or parcels of land, as classified by the City Zoning Code, within the City of Elroy exceeds 6 inches in length, the City may cut or cause to be cut all grasses and weeds from said property and charge the owner as set forth in Section 6-1-5(g).
(i) In addition to the provisions set forth in this Section, a person, firm or corporation who violates the provisions of this Section shall be subject to a penalty as provided in Section 1-1-7 of this Code of Ordinance.