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Ord 42-2011 8/16/2011ORDINANCE NO. 42 -2011 Ordinance Amending Chapter 46 Of The Code Of Ordinances Of The City Of Wichita Falls, Texas To Amend Article IV Of Said Chapter, "Weeds, Rubbish And Unsanitary Matter "; Providing For A Penalty Not To Exceed $2,000 Per Violation; And Providing For Codification WHEREAS, the City Council finds that the unchecked growth of vegetation, debris, trash, rubbish, and other items on private property are unsightly, unsanitary, harbor rodents, mosquitoes and other pests, and constitute a fire danger; and WHEREAS, the City Council determines that weeds exceeding 9" in height and other nuisances as defined herein are a danger to the health and safety of the City's residents. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF WICHITA FALLS, TEXAS, THAT: 1. Section 46 -121 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Wichita Falls is amended to read as follows: Sec. 46 -121. Definitions. The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning: Any and all other objectionable, unsightly or unsanitary matter of whatever nature means any condition, object, material or other matter that is dangerous or detrimental to human life or health; that renders the ground, the water, the air or food a hazard or likely to cause injury to human life or health; that is offensive to the senses; or that threatens to become detrimental to the public health. The term includes but is not limited to any abandoned wells, shafts or basements; abandoned refrigerators; stagnant or unwholesome water; sinks; privies; filth; carrion; rubbish; junk, trash, debris or refuse; impure or unwholesome matter of any kind; and any matter, condition or object which is objectionable, unsightly or unsanitary to a person of ordinary sensitivities. Large Tract means a lot or parcel of real estate consisting of 7 or more acres. Lot or parcel of real estate includes, in addition to those grounds within their respective boundaries, all lots or parcels of ground lying and being adjacent thereto and extending beyond the property line of any such lot or parcel of real estate to the curbline of adjacent streets where a curbline has been established, and any abutting rights -of -way beyond the property line where no curbline has been established and also to the center of adjacent alleys. Rubbish means all refuse, tin cans, old vessels of all sorts, useless articles, discarded clothing and bottles of all sorts, and other nondecayable wastes. Trash and debris means all manner of refuse, including but not limited to mounds of dirt, compost, piles of leaves, grass and weed clippings, paper trash, useless fragments of building material, rubble, household items and appliances, items of salvage such as scrap metal and wood, barrels, tires, objects that hold water for an extended time, tree and brush trimmings, and other miscellaneous wastes or rejected matter. Tree means a woody plant with a trunk and secondary branches, which has a trunk - diameter that is greater than one inch. Undeveloped Tract means any lot or parcel of real estate on which there is not affixed above - ground structures, such as houses, garages, sheds, or barns.. Weeds includes grass or a44 rank or uncultivated vegetable growth or matter that Vo h.i ch (1) Has grown to more than nine inches in height; (2) Creates an unsanitary condition or becomes a breeding place for mosquitoes, rodents, vermin or other disease - carrying pests regardless of the height of the growth; or (3) Endangers property or is liable to catch on fire. 2. Section 46 -124 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Wichita Falls is amended to read as follows: Sec. 46 -124. Accumulation declared unlawful; public nuisance. (a) It shall be unlawful for any person who owns or has possession or control of any lot or parcel of real estate to permit rubbish or any other objectionable, unsightly and unsanitary matter of whatever nature to exist, covering or partly covering the surface of any lot or parcel of real estate within the city so as to produce an unsightly appearance or which may harbor reptiles or rodents, create a fire hazard or result in unsanitary conditions. Such a condition is declared to be a public nuisance, the abatement of which shall be a public necessity. (b) It shall be unlawful for any person who owns or has possession or control of any lot or parcel of real estate to permit weeds to grow on the property. (c) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution pursuant to this section that the weeds: (1) consist only of trees, or (2) are entirely located on a Large Tract or an Undeveloped Tract and are not within 50 feet of any dedicated public street or the boundary of said tract. 3. Section 46 -126 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Wichita Falls is amended to read as follows: Sec. 46 -126. Removal. All unlawful conditions described in 46 -124 are declared to be aublic nuisances the abatement of which shall be a public necessity. It shall be the duty of any person other than the city, owning or having possession or control of any lot or parcel of real estate upon which exists an unlawful condition described in 46- 124, to promptly remove or abate such condition, unless said condition consists solely of: a trees, or (b) weeds that are located on a large tract or an undeveloped tract and are more than 50 feet from a dedicated public street or boundary of f the tract. 4. Section 46 -127 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Wichita Falls is amended to read as follows: Sec. 46 -127. Removal by city; lien on property. If the owner shall fail or refuse to abate the condition described in this article within seven days from the date of notice to abate such condition as provided in section 46 -126, the city may cause such condition to be abated. The cost of work done or improvements made in abating such condition shall, when performed by private, independent contractors or the city, be the actual cost to the city plus an administrative fee of $100.00 per lot or parcel. When the work is done, the city shall compile the cost of such work done or improvements made and shall charge such costs against the owner of such premises. A certified copy of such costs shall be filed with the county clerk, and when the copy is filed, the city shall have a privileged lien upon such lot or parcel of real estate to secure the expenditures so made, and ten percent interest on the amount from the date of such payment. The lien statement shall state the name of the owner, if known, and the legal description of the property. The lien attaches upon the filing of the lien statement with the county clerk. This lien is inferior only to tax liens and liens for street improvements. After the fixing of any such lien and for any such expenditures and interest, suit may be instituted and recovery and foreclosure had in the name of the city in any court of competent jurisdiction. In any suit or action, the statement of charges so made or a certified copy thereof shall be prima facie proof of the amount expended in any such work or improvements. 5. This ordinance regulates fire safety and public health and sanitation, and shall be punishable by a penalty of up to $2,000 per violation and as provided by Section 1- 14 of the Wichita Falls Code of Ordinances. 6. The City Council intends the provisions of this ordinance to become a part of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Wichita Falls, and sections of this ordinance may be renumbered or relettered to accomplish such intention. PASSED AND APPROVED this the 16th day of August, 2011. MAYOR ATTEST: City Clerk