The Reporter covers Miller, Morgan and Camden County in Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks and is published once per week on Wednesdays.

 

Published July 5, 2017

City changing nuisance ordinance

LAKE OZARK – The city has approved the first reading of a modification to its existing ordinance controlling various nuisances within (and outside) the city limits.

The modifications also apply to property within one-half mile beyond the city limits. How the city can enforce city ordinances outside the city limits was not explained but had also been part of the current ordinance (which this will replace, if approved).

City Administrator Dave Van Dee stated that this is simply “tightening” up the law so it can be better enforced. The new ordinance adds specifics to the nuisance law in several areas including weed control and buildings.

New additions to the nuisance law in Section 2 are:

“16. Any building, shed, or fence or other man-made structure, which because of its condition or because of lack of doors and/or windows, is available to frequenting by malefactors or disorderly person who are not lawful occupants of such structures.

“17. Unsheltered storage of old, unused, stripped, junked machinery, implements and or equipment or personal property of any kind which is no longer safely usable for the purpose for which it was manufactured for a period of thirty (30) days or more (except in licensed junkyards) within the corporate limits of the City is hereby declared to be a nuisance and dangerous to the public safety and prohibited. This shall include, but is not limited to, the keeping or the depositing on or the scattering over the premises of any of the following:
a. lumber, junk, trash or debris
b. abandoned, discarded or unused objects or equipment such as freezers, stoves,
refrigerators, cans, containers, bottles or rubbish
B. This Section does not apply to boats and vessels, regulation of 33 Section 3, Section 4 which are provided in RSMo. Chapter 306.”

City employees are given blanket permission to enter any “premises” that any nuisance is located to abate it. Once warned, the person has 10 days to fix the nuisance or the city can fix it at the expense of the one who is guilty.

And like the current ordinance, the proposed one states that a person is not simply “accused” of the offense but it guilty of the “offense.”

“It shall be the duty of the City Attorney to prepare such notices and the duty of any authorized City Officer or employee to serve the notice, and if the nuisance is not abated within the time required after the service of any such notice, any person notified shall be guilty of an offense,” (Section 3 of the proposed ordinance).

In the newly added Weeds-Cutting and Removal section (Section 1 of Article II), any weeds, grass, unhealthy growth or “other noxious matter” cannot be more than 12 inches in height and must be cut, if the terrain allows for cutting.

Once the notice of a nuisance on these growths is sent out, the responsible party has five days to fix the problem. If they don’t, the city will fix it at the expense of the one responsible and will add the cost of that abatement to a special tax bill that will be the first lien on the property. If not paid, the Board of Aldermen can sue the person for not paying.

So what are the fines? It can range anywhere from $25 to $500 per violation (upon conviction) and each day after the set period the nuisance continues will be looked at as a separate violation by the city.

Article III spells out details of “Dangerous Buildings” with various definitions of what a “dangerous building” is. If the building is declared dangerous it has to be repaired, vacated or demolished according to city laws.

 

The proposed ordinance also lays out the duties of the building inspector and the authority they have in regards to buildings of any kind.

“The Building Inspector(s) shall have the duty under this Ordinance to:
A. Inspect, or cause to be inspected, as often as may be necessary, all residential, institutional, assembly, commercial, industrial, garage, special or miscellaneous occupancy buildings for the purpose of determining whether any conditions exist that render such place to be a dangerous building when he/she has reasonable grounds to believe that any such building is dangerous.”

Notices of the violation has to be sent in writing to whoever is responsible for the structure and if they can’t be served in writing, then a notice can be published in a newspaper notifying them of the situation.

Then the City Administrator is given the authority to remedy the situation if the one responsible does not comply with the order to fix the dangerous building. The City Administrator can order the building demolished, with the cost added to the special tax bill.

Besides those major changes, the rest of the current ordinance is retained with only minor changes. One term that will be removed from the current ordinance is the term ‘chamber lye” to which one alderman asked what that term means. Chamber Lye is a term from the 1500’s that simply means “urine used as a detergent.”

The board is expected to approve the second reading of the ordinance at its next Board of Aldermen meeting.

All content is Copyright 2017 by Reporter Publishing, L.L.C. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited without written permission.