City life 101: Nuisances and nuisance reduction – Sonoma Sun


Posted on October 18, 2021 by Larry Barnett

We have all seen properties with dilapidated vehicles, abandoned equipment, trash, overgrown weeds, and buildings in very poor condition. Sometimes it’s the result of financial hardship, other times the willful negligence of an owner. A good example of owner neglect in Sonoma is the former Truck and Auto commercial property at the corner of Broadway and MacArthur streets. Everyone agrees that a run down and run down lot like this would benefit from new development, but until that happens, the condition of the property depends on its owner in Texas. Where is it?

Nuisances: Public and attractive

In terms of nuisance, the municipal code of Sonoma defines two types: public and attractive. A public nuisance includes a property covered in trash or garbage, with standing stagnant water, buildings in a state of deterioration or disrepair such that it “causes visual degradation, or reduces the aesthetic appearance of the neighborhood. , or is offensive to the senses, or is detrimental to neighboring properties or constitutes a danger to persons or property.

The code goes on to define in more detail these reduced public nuisance conditions and includes, in part: “Buildings which are abandoned, partially destroyed for a period of at least six months, or left in an unreasonable state of construction partial.” Also: Unpainted buildings and those with dry rot, warping or termite infestation; Any building on which the condition of the existing paint has deteriorated to the point of allowing rotting, cracks, cracks, significant chipping.

Another formal nuisance: “The exteriors of buildings, walls, fences, gates, hedges, structures, paths, sidewalks, alleys or alleys which for at least 72 consecutive hours are kept in such a state as they are defective, unsightly or in such a state of deterioration or disrepair which constitutes a visual plague or reduces the aesthetic appearance of the neighborhood or is offensive to the senses or is detrimental to neighboring properties.

The reduction of public nuisance by the city includes the requirement that the nuisance conditions be corrected, and if such requests are ignored, provides that the city may proceed with the correction of the nuisance conditions at the owner’s expense and possibly the placement of the nuisance. ‘a tax lien on the property.

The other type of nuisance is the attractive nuisance type, which is defined as harmful to children and others, “including, but not limited to, abandoned, broken or neglected household appliances, equipment and machinery; absence of faulty or unmaintained safety devices, safety equipment, fences or gates, as required by the city building code, for swimming pools, spas, ponds and excavations.

The list of attractive nuisances is long and partly covers “dead, rotten, diseased or dangerous trees, weeds and invasive or uncultivated vegetation”, “any wall, sign, fence, gate, hedge or structure maintained in a such state of deterioration or disrepair which may constitute a danger to persons or property, or constitute a visual plague ”and“ The non-maintenance of any yard which causes excessive dust or atmospheric pollutants ”. Most of us can identify properties displaying some of these conditions.

Abatement by the City

The right of reduction is covered by the section of the code 14.30.030 – Abatement by civil action. “Civil action may be brought on behalf of the people of the State to reduce a public nuisance as defined in this section, by the city attorney, or the district attorney or the county county attorney, and each of the said agents must have concurrent right to bring such an action for a public nuisance in that city. The city attorney brought this action on the instruction of the city council.

A step-by-step process is outlined in the Municipal Code detailing the process for notices and public hearings, and the steps that can be taken to reduce nuisance. Ultimately, if the owner refuses to correct the nuisance and the City undertakes to correct the nuisance itself, all costs incurred by the City in the clean-up process must be paid by the owner. If this payment is not made, the city can resort to a lien on the property.

Although the reduction process is rarely used, it has been used successfully in the past. Like any civil action, a complaint must be filed, and any citizen can file a complaint for public or attractive nuisances. Complaints should be made in writing to the City Manager and City Council, and delivered by hand or by mail.

In summary, the City has solutions: “Whenever there is an imminent or immediate danger for a significant part of the population, by the existence or maintenance of any nuisance endangering health, well-being or public safety, resulting from any act, state or use or occupation of the property, or otherwise constituting a nuisance in itself, it is the duty of the city council or competent city officials to mitigate a such nuisance.

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