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Norfolk, NE 68701
Phone: (402) 844-2000
 

Chapter 17

NUISANCES*

*Cross references--Animals and fowl, Ch. 4; buildings and building regulations, Ch. 6; incinerators required, § 8-2; garbage and trash, Ch. 10; health and sanitation, Ch. 11; housing, Ch. 12; abandoned iceboxes, § 14‑226; stagnant water, § 14-303; placing carcass or filthy substance in well, spring, etc., § 14-304; exposing offensive matter, § 14-305; maintaining a nuisance, § 14-314; mobile home park ordinance violation constituting nuisance, § 15-6; water, sewers and sewage disposal, Ch. 26.

State law reference--Nuisances, R.R.S. 1943, 16-231, 18-1720.

   
Art.     I. In General, §§ 17-1--17-10
Art.    II. Weeds or Noxious Growths and Litter, §§ 17-11--17-25
Art.   III. Wrecked or Abandoned Vehicles, §§ 17-26--17-49
Art.   IV. Graffiti Abatement, §§ 17-50--17-55
   

ARTICLE I.  IN GENERAL

Sec. 17-1.  Abatement of nuisances generally.

 

Anything which is injurious to the health or morals, or indecent or offensive to the sense or an obstruction to the free use of property so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property is declared a nuisance and as such shall be abated. 

 

Source:  Code 1962, § 6-1-31

State law reference--Nuisances prohibited, R.R.S. 1943, 28-1321(2).

 

ARTICLE II.  WEEDS OR NOXIOUS GROWTHS AND LITTER†

Editor’s note--Ord. No. 3393, § 1, adopted April 21, 1986, has been treated as superseding the provisions of former Art.  II,  §§ 17-11--17-16.  The aforesaid sections were concerned with similar provisions, and derived from the Code of 1962, §§ 9-4-2--9-4-7; and Ord. No. 3088, adopted September 7, 1982.

 

Sec. 17-11.  Definitions; duty of enforcement.

 

(a)   As used in this article the term “weeds or noxious growths” shall mean any weeds or other rank growth or worthless vegetation which exceed twelve (12) inches in height and shall include, but not be limited to, bindweed (convolvulus arvensis), puncture vine (tribulus terrestris), leafy spurge (euphorbia esula), Canada thistle (cirsium arvense), preennial peppergrass (lepidium draba), Russian Knapweek (centaurea picris), Johnson grass (sorghum halepense), nodding or misk thistle, quack grass (agropyron repens), preennial sow thistle (sonchus arvensis), horse nettle (solanum carolinense), bull thistle (cirsium lanceolatum), buckthorn (rahmnus sp.) (tourn), hemp plant (cannabis sativa), and ragweed (ambrosiaceae).

 

(b)   As used in this article the term “litter” shall include, but not be limited to:

 

(1)       Trash, rubbish, refuse, garbage, paper, rags and ashes;

 

(2)       Wood plaster, cement, brick, or stone building rubble;

 

(3)       Grass, leaves and worthless vegetation;

 

(4)       Offal and dead animals; and

 

(5)       Any machine or machines, vehicle or vehicles, or parts of a machine or vehicle which have lost their identity, character, utility, or serviceability as such through deterioration, dismantling, or the ravages of time, are inoperative or unable to perform their intended functions, or are cast off, discarded, or thrown away or left as waste wreckage, or junk.

 

(c)   The fire chief or his or her designee shall enforce the provisions of this article. 

 

Source:  Ord. No. 3393, § 1, 4-21-86; Ord. No. 3859, § 17, 3-16-92; Ord. No. 3862, § 1, 4-20-92

State law reference--State regulation of weeds, R.R.S. 1943, 2-946.1 et seq.

 

Sec. 17-12.  Weeds; litter, stagnant water, removal of.

 

It shall be the duty of every owner, agent, occupant or person in possession of any lot or parcel of land within the city, to cut the weeds thereon so as to keep the same free from weeds at all times, and to not allow the depositing or accumulation of litter thereon so as to keep the same free from litter, except in proper receptacles, and to drain or fill any property so as to prevent stagnant water from accumulating thereon.  Weeds shall be cut to the curb line on the street together with one-half of the streets or alleys abutting the same, and as often in each year as may be necessary to keep said lot or parcel free from weeds.  Litter shall be picked up and removed from each lot or parcel of land as is necessary to keep the same free from litter. 

 

Source:  Ord. No. 3393, § 1, 4-21-86; Ord. No. 3859, § 18, 3-16-92; Ord. No. 3862, § 1, 4-20-92

 

Sec. 17-13.  Reserved.

 

Editor’s note--Section 2 of Ord. No. 3862, adopted April 20, 1992, repealed § 17-13.  Former § 17-13 pertained to general notice to remove weeds and litter and derived from Ord. No. 3393, § 1, adopted April 21, 1986.

 

Sec. 17-14.  Notice.

 

Notice to abate and remove such nuisance shall be given to each owner or owner’s duly authorized agent and to the occupant, if any, by personal service or certified mail.  Within five (5) days after receipt of such notice, if the owner or occupant of the lot or piece of ground does not request a hearing with the municipality or fails to comply with the order to abate and remove the nuisance, the municipality may have such work done and may levy and assess the costs and expenses of the work upon the lot or piece of ground so benefitted in the same manner as other special taxes for improvements are levied and assessed. 

 

Source:  Ord. No. 3393, § 1, 4-21-86; Ord. No. 3859, § 19, 3-16-92; Ord. No. 3862, § 1, 4-20-92

 

Sec. 17-15.  Removal by city--Authorized.

 

Upon the failure, neglect or refusal of any such owner, agent, occupant or person in possession so notified to cut, destroy and remove said weeds or litter as provided in section 17-14 and in addition to the remedy provided therein, the health official or his designee, may, after five (5) days notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, have such work done and is authorized and empowered to pay for the cutting, destroying and removal of such weeds and litter or order the removal thereof by the city. 

 

Source:  Ord. No. 3393, § 1, 4-21-86; Ord. No. Ord. No. 3859, § 20, 3-16-92

 

Sec. 17-16.  Same--Costs.

 

When the city has effected the removal of weeds and/or litter or has paid for its removal or has conducted drainage or filling or has paid for the drainage or filling of a property so as to prevent the presence of stagnant water, the actual cost thereof shall be charged to the owner, agent, occupant or person in possession, charge or control of such property as set forth in section 17-12.  For purposes of this section, if it becomes necessary for the city to charge the owner, agent, occupant or person in possession, charge or control of a property for work conducted upon a property as described above, the billing shall be calculated at a rate that includes an administrative fee as set forth in Section 2-5 of this Code plus: (a) the actual cost of the billing by an authorized contractor that controls weeds on a property on behalf of the city, (b) a rate as set forth in Section 2-5 of this Code per square foot of the property so affected if such weeds are controlled by the city, (c) the actual cost of litter removal, and (d) the actual cost of the draining or filling to prevent the accumulation of stagnant water. 

 

Source:  Ord. No. 3393, § 1, 4-21-86; Ord. No. 3859, § 21, 3-16-92; Ord. No. 3862, § 1, 4-20-92; Ord. No. 5135, § 11, 9-7-10

State law reference--Power of city to so provide, R.R.S. 1943, 16-230.

 

ARTICLE III.  WRECKED OR ABANDONED VEHICLES*

*Cross references--Removal of vehicles on roadways by city, § 24-152; unattended motor vehicles, § 24‑155.

State law reference--Abandoned motor vehicles, R.R.S. 1943, 60-1901 et seq.

 

Sec. 17-26.  Nuisance declared.

 

It is hereby expressly found and determined that unlicensed motor vehicles, or parts or portions therefrom, or wrecked, junked, partially dismantled, inoperable or abandoned vehicles which are parked, permitted to remain, stored or accumulated, on any private premises, are unsightly and unhealthful in that such provide harborage for disease carrying insects and vermin, degrade the aesthetic beauty of the city and constitutes a nuisance to the citizens and residents of the city; provided, the storage or accumulation of such motor vehicles, motor vehicle bodies and motor vehicle chassis or parts therefrom in completely enclosed buildings shall not be considered a nuisance. 

 

Source:  Code 1962, § 6-10-1; Ord. No. 4712, § 1, 12-15-03

 

Sec. 17-27.  Storage of unlicensed, inoperable, wrecked or junked vehicles.

 

It shall be unlawful for any person in charge or control of any property within the city, whether as owner, tenant, occupant, lessee, or otherwise, to allow any inoperable, wrecked, junked, or partially dismantled vehicle to remain on such property longer than thirty (30) days.  It shall be unlawful for any person in charge or control of any property within the city, whether as owner, tenant, occupant, lessee, or otherwise, to allow any motor vehicle or trailer which has been unregistered for more than thirty (30) days to remain on such property.  This section shall not apply to a vehicle in an enclosed building, a vehicle on the premises of a business enterprise operated in a lawful place and manner, when necessary to the lawful operation of such business enterprise, or a vehicle in an appropriate storage place or depository maintained in a lawful place and manner. 

 

Source:  Code 1962, § 6-10-2; Ord. No. 3088, § 6, 9-7-82; Ord. No. 4712, § 1, 12-15-03

 

Sec. 17-28.  Notice to remove.

 

Notice of removal may be given to the owner or occupant of the private property upon which such vehicle is located and such notice shall request that said vehicle be removed from said property within thirty (30) days of the date of said notice and the notice shall advise that upon failure to comply with the notice to remove, the city or its designee may issue a citation or shall undertake such removal with the cost of removal to be levied against the owner of the vehicle or the owner or occupant of the property. 

 

Source:  Code 1962, § 6-10-3; Ord. No. 3859, § 22, 3-16-92; Ord. No. 4712, § 1, 12-15-03

 

Sec. 17-29.  Removal after notice.

 

(a)   Upon the notice to remove, the owner of the vehicle and the owner or occupant of the private property on which the same is located, either or all of them, shall be responsible for its removal.  In the event of removal and disposition by the city, the owner, or occupant of the private property, where the same is located, shall be liable for the expenses incurred.

 

(b)   If the violation described in the notice has not been remedied within the thirty (30) day period of compliance, the chief of police or his designee shall have the right to take possession of said vehicle and remove it from the premises.  It shall be unlawful for any person to interfere with, hinder, or refuse to allow such person or persons to enter upon private property for the purpose of removing a vehicle under the provisions of this article. 

 

Source:  Code 1962, §§ 6-10-3--6-10-5; Ord. No. 4712, § 1, 12-15-03

 

Sec. 17-30.  Abandoned vehicle defined.

 

A motor vehicle shall be deemed to be an abandoned vehicle if left unattended:

 

(1)       With no number plates affixed thereto, for more than six (6) hours on any public property;

 

(2)       For more than twenty-four (24) hours on any public property, except a portion thereof on which parking is legally permitted;

 

(3)       For more than forty-eight (48) hours, after the parking of such vehicle shall have become illegal, if left on a portion of public property on which parking is legally permitted; or

 

(4)       For more than seven (7) days on private property if left initially without permission of the owner, or after permission of the owner shall be terminated.

 

For purposes of this section public property shall mean any public right-of-way, street, highway, alley, park, or other state, county or municipally-owned property; and private property shall mean any privately-owned property which is not included within the definition of public property.

State law reference--Similar provisions, R.R.S. 1943, 60-1901.

 

Sec. 17-31.  Valuation and title.

 

If an abandoned vehicle, at the time of abandonment, has no number plates of the current year affixed and is of a wholesale value, taking into consideration the condition of the vehicle, of two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) or less, title shall immediately be vested in the city.

State law reference--Similar provisions, R.R.S. 1943, 60-1902; Ord. No.5467, § 1, 4-17-17.

 

Sec. 17-32.  Duties of police chief.

 

(a)   Except for vehicles governed by section 17-31, the chief of police shall make an inquiry concerning the last-registered owner of such vehicle as follows:

 

(1)       Abandoned vehicle with number plates affixed, to the jurisdiction which issued such number plates; or

 

(2)       Abandoned vehicle with no number plates affixed, to the department of motor vehicles.

 

(b)   The chief of police shall notify the last-registered owner, if any, that the vehicle in question has been recovered as an abandoned vehicle and that, if unclaimed, it will be sold at public auction after five (5) days from the date such notice was mailed.  If the agency described in subsection (a) of this section also notifies the city that a lien or mortgage exists, such notice shall also be sent the lienholder or mortgagee.  Any person claiming such vehicle shall be required to pay the cost of removal and storage of such vehicle.

 

(c)   Title to such abandoned vehicles, if unclaimed, shall be vested in the city five (5) days from the date such notice is mailed, or if the last-registered owner cannot be ascertained, when notice of such fact is received. 

 

Source:  Ord. No. 3859, § 29, 3-16-92

State law reference--Similar provisions, R.R.S. 1943, 60-1903.

 

Sec. 17-33.  Proceeds of sale; disposition.

 

Any proceeds from the sale of an abandoned vehicle less any expenses incurred by the city shall be held by the city without interest, for the benefit of the owner of such vehicle for a period of two (2) years.  If not claimed within such two-year period, such proceeds shall be paid into the general fund of the city.

State law reference--Similar provisions, R.R.S. 1943, 60-1905.

 

Sec. 17-34.  Liability for removal.

 

Neither the owner, lessee, nor occupant of the premises from which any abandoned vehicle shall be removed nor the city shall be liable for any loss or damage to such vehicle which occurs during its removal or while in the possession of the city or its contractual agent, or as a result of any subsequent disposition.

State law reference--Similar provisions, R.R.S. 1943, 60-1906.

 

Sec. 17-35.  Person cannot abandon a vehicle.

 

No person shall cause any vehicle to be an abandoned vehicle. 

State law reference--Similar provisions, R.R.S. 1943, 60-1907.

 

Sec. 17-36.  Destruction, defacement or removal of parts.

 

No person other than one authorized by the city shall destroy, deface or remove any part of a vehicle which is left unattended on a highway or other public place without number plates affixed or which is abandoned.  Anyone violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of an offense.

State law reference--Similar provisions, R.R.S. 1943, § 60-1908.

 

Sec. 17-37.  Cost of removal and storage.

 

The last-registered owner of an abandoned vehicle shall be liable to the city for the costs of removal and storage of such vehicle.

State law reference--Similar provisions, R.R.S. 1943, 60-1909.

 

Sec. 17-38.  Redemption of impounded vehicles.

 

The owner of any vehicle seized under the provisions of this article may redeem such vehicle at any time after its removal but prior to the sale or destruction thereof upon proof of ownership, presentment of a valid registration certificate, current license plates, and payment to the chief of police of such sum as said chief may determine and fix for the actual and reasonable expense of removal, and any preliminary sale advertising expenses, including a reasonable amount for storage for each vehicle redeemed. 

 

Source:  Code 1962, § 6-10-9

 

Sec. 17-39.  Refusal of entry.

 

Subject to constitutional limitations, any person who interferes with, hinders or refuses to allow any person to enter upon private property for the purpose of removing vehicles as stated herein shall be guilty of an infraction. 

 

Source:  Code 1962, § 6-10-12

 

Sec. 17-40.  Exceptions.

 

This article shall not apply to the premises used by an authorized salvage dealer, nor shall it apply to the premises where a licensed motor vehicle dealer or farm implement dealer conducts his business so long as said premises are not a nuisance and are maintained in a healthful and safe condition. 

 

Source:  Code 1962, § 6-10-11

 

Sec. 17-41.  Violations.

 

It shall be an offense to violate any of the provisions of this article.

 

ARTICLE IV. GRAFFITI ABATEMENT

Sec. 17-50.  Definitions.

 

For the purpose of this article, the following words and terms as used herein are defined.

 

Aerosol paint container shall mean any aerosol container adapted or made for the purpose of applying spray paint or other substances capable of defacing property.

 

Broad-tipped marker shall mean any felt tip indelible marker or similar implement with a flat or angled writing surface that, at its broadest width, is greater than one-fourth (1/4) inch and contains ink or other pigmented liquid.

 

Etching equipment shall mean any tool, device or substance that can be used to make permanent marks on any natural or manmade surface.

 

Graffiti shall mean any unauthorized inscription, word, figure, painting or other defacement which is written, marked, etched, scratched, sprayed, drawn, painted or engraved on or otherwise affixed to any surface of public or private property by any graffiti implement, to the extent the graffiti was not authorized in advance by the owner or occupant of the property or, despite advance authorization, is otherwise deemed a public nuisance by the City Council.

 

Graffiti implement shall mean any aerosol paint container, a broad-tipped marker, gum label, paint stick or graffiti stick, etching equipment, brush or any other device capable of scarring or leaving a visible mark on any natural or manmade surface.

 

Paint stick or graffiti stick shall mean any device containing a solid form of paint, chalk, wax, epoxy or other similar substance capable of being applied to a surface by pressure and leaving a mark of at least one-eighth (1/8) inch in width.

 

Person shall mean any individual, partnership, cooperative association, private corporation, personal representative, receiver, trustee, assignee or other legal entity. 

 

Source:  Ord. No. 4308, § 1, 11-17-97

 

Sec. 17-51.  Intent.

 

Graffiti on public and private property is a blighting factor that not only depreciates the value of the property that has been the target of such malicious vandalism, but also depreciates the value of the adjacent and surrounding properties, and in so doing, negatively impacts upon the entire community.  Graffiti is a nuisance and unless it is removed from public and private properties tends to remain.

 

Source:  Ord. No. 4308, § 1, 11-17-97

 

Sec. 17-52.  Prohibited acts.

 

(a)  It shall be unlawful for any person to apply graffiti to any natural or manmade surface on any City-owned property or, without the express permission of the owner or occupant, on any public or private property.

 

(b)  It shall be unlawful for any person to possess a graffiti implement with the intent to violate the provisions of this article. 

 

Source:  Ord. No. 4308, § 1, 11-17-97

 

Sec. 17-53.  Property responsibility.

 

It shall be the duty of every owner, agent, occupant or person in possession of the property to which graffiti has been applied to at all times keep the property clear of graffiti. 

 

Source:  Ord. No. 4308, § 1, 11-17-97

 

Sec. 17-54.  Notice.

 

(a)   Whenever the Chief of Police, or his or her designee, determines that graffiti exists on any public or private property, a notice shall be issued to abate such nuisance.  The notice shall be given by personal service or certified mail and shall contain the following information:

 

(1)       The street address or legal description of the property sufficient for identification of the property.

 

(2)       A statement that the property is a potential graffiti nuisance property and a concise description of the conditions leading to the finding.

 

(3)       A statement that the graffiti must be removed within ten (10) days of the receipt of the notice, and that if the graffiti is not abated within that time, the Chief of Police may have the graffiti removed with the owner, agent, occupant or person in possession being responsible for the actual cost thereof. 

 

(4)       An information sheet identifying any public or private organizations which have expressed an interest in assisting in the removal of graffiti.

 

(b)   In the event of extenuating circumstances, such as weather conditions not conducive to painting or removal, the property owner may request an additional ten (10) days to comply with the notice.

 

(c)   It shall be unlawful for any person who is the owner or who has primary responsibility for property in the City to permit that property to remain defaced with graffiti beyond the time authorized for abatement of the graffiti. 

 

Source:  Ord. No. 4308, § 1, 11-17-97

 

Sec. 17-55.  Removal by City.

 

(a)   Should the owner, agent, occupant or person in possession of the property subject to the graffiti notice fail to comply with the notice and fail to request a hearing with the municipality within ten (10) days after the receipt of such notice, the City shall be authorized to use public funds for the removal, painting or repair of the graffiti.  Only the immediate area on which the graffiti is located shall be painted or repaired, unless the Chief of Police determines and advises the owner, agent, occupant or person in possession that a more extensive painting or repair is needed to avoid an aesthetic disfigurement to the neighborhood or community.

 

(b)   The City or its contractor is expressly authorized to enter upon the premises for the removal, painting or repair of graffiti in accordance with this article.

 

(c)   The actual costs of removal, painting or repair shall be billed to the property owner and if not paid, the actual costs to the City of abating and removing the graffiti may be levied and assessed upon the real property so benefited in the same manner as other special taxes are levied and assessed. 

 

Source:  Ord. No. 4308, § 1, 11-17-97

 

The public information contained herein is furnished as a public service by the City of Norfolk. The official record is maintained by the City Clerk's Office as required by Neb. Rev. Stat. § 16-317. A printed version of the Norfolk Municipal Code is available at the City Clerk's Office and the Norfolk Public Library.

 

The City Clerk's Office may be contacted at (402) 844-2000 or by email bdeck@ci.norfolk.ne.us 

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