CITY OF DEQUINCY
ORDINANCE NO. 924
The City Council of the City of DeQuincy, State of Louisiana, met in regular session on the 13th day of July 2020, and adopted the following Ordinance as an amendment to Article V of the Code of Ordinances.
WHEREAS, the City of DeQuincy desires to update and modernize its Code of Ordinances regarding the regulation of weeds and offensive accumulations.
THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED by the City Council that Article IV Weeds and Offensive Accumulations of Chapter 10 Health and Sanitation is hereby amended to read as follows:
ARTICLE IV. – WEEDS AND OFFENSIVE ACCUMULATIONS
Sec. 10-56 – DEFINITIONS
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them respectively:
Blight is defined as conditions upon or affecting premises, which are hazardous to the health, safety or welfare of the public, and/or conditions, which are detrimental to property values, economic stability, or to the quality of the environment.
Brush or underbrush means any plant, vegetation or woody growth under one inch in diameter.
Chronic or repetitive violator means any person who fails to comply with this chapter, which may be shown by three or more notices of violation, or notices of cost within any 12 month period.
Cutting or trimming means the safe removal of grass and/or weeds to an acceptable length, as specified in the chapter as measured above the finish grade. Cutting and trimming shall also include proper disposal of the cut grass and/or weeds so as not to form piles of dead vegetation.
Developed means any lot, tract, or other parcel of unimproved real estate with manmade changes which are typically installed at or above grade, including but not limited to buildings, structures, slabs and other developments.
Excessive growth means any vegetation which is more than said limits for the parcel, lot, or area as mandated by this chapter and shall include all trees, bushes, brush, underbrush, flowers and ornamental or garden plants, either cultivated or uncultivated, and uncontrolled invasive plants if such are not made readily distinguishable from surrounding vegetation growth, uncontrolled invasive plants, and plants which are poisonous to the touch, including poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac.
Garbage means all solid kitchen refuse subject to decay or putrefaction; tin cans, bottles, loose paper, small food containers, ashes, all market waste or animal or vegetable matter which is intended to be used as food, garbage, and any other commonly understood to be household waste; every waste accumulation of paper sweepings, dust, rags, bottles, cans, loose newspapers generated by regular usage, or other matter of any kind, other than solid kitchen waste, which is usually attended to housekeeping.
Landscape improvements means, for the purpose of this chapter, landscape and hardscape outdoor improvements including, but not limited to, retaining walls, statues, and decorative features.
Landscape materials means materials such as, but not limited to, living trees, shrubs, vines, lawn grass, ground cover, earthen mounds, landscape water features and non-living, durable materials commonly used in landscaping, including, but not limited to, rocks, pebbles, sands, decorative walls, fences, brick, stone or concrete paving or landscape support systems such as irrigation, drainage and landscape lighting components.
Municipal solid waste (MSW) means refuse accumulations consisting of household waste, business trash, tree and shrubbery trimmings, yard trash and litter.
Owner means the named property owner as indicated by the records of the Calcasieu Parish Tax Assessor.
Person means any individual, individuals, partnership, corporation, unincorporated association, other business organization, committee, board, trustee, or receiver.
Rubbish means combustible and no combustible waste materials, except garbage, the term shall include the residue from the burning of wood, coal and other combustible materials, paper, rags, cartons, boxes, wood excelsior, rubber, leather, fallen trees, tree branches, yard trimmings, tin cans, metals, mineral matter, glass, crockery and dust and other similar materials.
Shrubs means a low, usually several-stemmed, woody plant. For the purpose of this chapter, it shall also include ornamental grasses used in place of shrubs.
Trash means any refuse other than garbage. It shall include furniture, bedding, debris and rubbish normally produced in a household that will not fit in a 96 gallon container. Trash must be totally separated from other municipal solid waste (MSW) to allow for separate collection. Trees, wallpaper, roofing material, plaster, concrete or other substances that may accumulate as a result of repairs to land or buildings, or as a result of initial clearing of lots or as a result of building operations, shall not be considered trash. The owner shall have such items removed at his own expenses.
Tree means a woody plant having a well-defined stem or trunk, a more or less definite crown, a height at maturity of at least eight feet, and the trunk diameter exceeds two inches.
Undeveloped property means any lot, tract, or parcel of real estate without any manmade changes, structures or other improvements, except grading and tree harvesting.
Unimproved, unchanged and undeveloped wooded/forested property means any lot, tract, or parcel of real estate which cannot be easily maintained or cut by a standard bush hog, tractor, lawnmower, etc.
Vegetation includes, but is not limited to, weeds, woody vines, brush, grass and uncultivated plants.
Waterways includes, but is not limited to, stream, bayou, river, branch, depression, reservoir, lake, pond, or drainage way in or into which storm water runoff flows.
Sec. 10-56.1 – ACCUMULATIONS PROHIBITED
(a) It shall be unlawful for persons owning or occupying developed or undeveloped lots or tracts of land within the city, which can be maintained or cut by a standard bush hog, tractor, lawnmower, etc., containing an area of five acres or less in size to permit on such lots or tracts, as well as the abutting sidewalk, banquette, fence lines, and neutral grounds or to any lot line, any grass, weeds, brush, underbrush, excessive growth, growing or lying upon such area which has attained a height of 12 inches or more, or to permit trash, garbage, rubbish, refuse and debris thereon, and such persons shall maintain said lots or tracts, as well as the abutting sidewalks, banquette, fence lines, and neutral grounds free of such weeds, grass, brush, underbrush, excessive growth, trash, rubbish, refuse and debris. For a violation to occur, the grass, weeds, brush or underbrush should be within ten feet of any lot line, be on a pile or accumulation of materials as identified in subsection (f) of this section, or cover at least 25 per cent of any given area of property, said determination to be made at the sole discretion of the inspector. Any down tree closer than ten feet to any property line, public right-of-way or street shall be a violation and shall be removed at the owner’s expense.
(b) It shall be unlawful for persons owing or occupying developed or underdeveloped lots or tracts of land within the city, which can be maintained or cut by a standard bush hog, tractor, lawnmower, etc., containing an area or more than five acres, to permit on those portions thereof within 100 feet of any street and within 100 feet of the boundary lines adjacent to developed areas, or on the abutting sidewalk, banquette, fence lines, and neutral grounds, or upon such area which has attained a height of 12 inches or more, on the property, or to permit trash, garbage, rubbish, refuse and debris thereon and such persons must maintain such portions of said lots of tracts, and any abutting sidewalks, street curbs, banquettes, fence lines and neutral grounds free of such weeds, grass, brush or underbrush, excessive growth, trash, rubbish, refuse and debris. For a violation to occur, the grass, weeds, brush, or underbrush should be within ten feet of any lot line, be on a pile or accumulation of materials as identified in subsection (f) of this section, or cover at least 25 per cent of any given area of property, said determination to be made at the sole discretion of the inspector. Any down tree closer than ten feet to any property line (or) public right-of-way shall be in violation and shall be removed at the owner’s expense.
(c) When the lots or tracts of property consist mostly of undeveloped, unchanged, unimproved wooded/forested property which is adjacent to developed property and cannot be easily maintained or cut by a standard bush hog, tractor, lawnmower, etc., the city mayor or his designee may require that a buffer area (an area free of underbrush) up to five feet of any lot line adjacent to developed areas or a public roadway (rather than the entire premises) be cut. Where an inhabited dwelling exists on the adjacent developed area, the buffer area up to 15 feet of the inhabited dwelling may be required. Said requirements shall be enforced with or without public access in accordance with the provisions in this article on lot cleanliness. Any down tree closer than five feet to any property line, public right-of-way or street shall be a violation and shall be removed at the owner’s expense.
(d) It shall be unlawful for any person owning or occupying the property not to maintain their property free of such trash, garbage, rubbish, or any junk, discarded or abandoned appliances, auto parts, metals, iron, or any other discarded or abandoned items on any vacant property or any unused portion of occupied property within the City of DeQuincy, unless said materials are located within a duly designated junk of salvage yard.
(e) Notwithstanding the above provisions, neutral ground, public sidewalks and roadways, or fence lines must be maintained in a safe and sanitary manner, including, but not limited to, cutting grass and weeds along areas abutting the sidewalks and curbs, and removal of grass, weeds and other plants that encroach onto public sidewalks and roadways. Thus, no person owning, leasing, renting, or occupying any lot, place, or property or area, shall permit noxious weeds, grass, or deleterious, unhealthy or noxious growths over 12 inches in height (or six inches in length with regards to growth over sidewalks or onto roadways) to grow, stand, or accumulate on any fence line, abutting sidewalk or roadway curb or neutral ground, nor shall such person allow the abutting sidewalk, roadways, curb, or neutral ground of any lot, place or area to become a haven for rodents or other dangerous animals and insects.
(f) It shall be unlawful for persons owning or occupying developed or undeveloped lots or tracts of land within the city to stockpile any materials used for landscape improvements, for raising property elevations, or for shoreline stabilization except as follows:
(1) Piles/accumulations of materials, such as dirt, mulch, clay, sand, or concrete, used for landscaping, for raising property elevations, or for shoreline stabilization;
a. Shall not block or impede natural drainage in the surrounding area;
b. Shall not be in violation of (section 10-56.1) provisions that include limitations on grass height and rubbish deposition;
c. Shall ensure compliance with city storm water management and permitting requirements; and
d. The stockpiled material shall be leveled or used for the intended purpose within 90 days. Extensions may be granted for valid reasons by the director of planning or his designee provided the owner of the property, or his representative, submits a written request that includes a detailed explanation.
1. Ongoing permitted activities, such as residential or commercial construction, are not subject to this limitation. (2) Any permits required, including a city grading permit and Corps of Engineer permits (if required), shall be obtained prior to the accumulation of materials beginning. (3) Any violation of the requirements in (section 10-56.1) (f) (1) shall constitute a violation.
SEC. 10-57. – NOTICE TO
COMPLY – GIVEN IN CASE
(a) When any premises within the city is not maintained in accordance with the provisions of
(section 10-56.1), no such work shall be undertaken by the city pursuant this article until the owner of the lot, place, or area, or the owner of the abutting property where the weeds or growths are to be removed, as shown on the last assessment roll duly filed with the tax assessor’s office, has an opportunity of doing the work himself within at least ten days after notice has been given him by advertisement in the official journal of the city within which same is located for two consecutive days or after notice has been given him by registered or certified mail, addressed in accordance with the tax rolls of the city.
(b) The municipal governing authority may undertake the cutting, destruction, or removal of noxious weeds or grass or other deleterious, unhealthful, or noxious growths on any property within the municipality on a monthly basis without the notice required by this section, if the property owner liable has been notified pursuant to this section at any time during the immediately preceding 12 months and has failed to do the work himself after opportunity to do so. However, prior to undertaking such work, the municipal governing authority shall file and record an affidavit, signed by the Mayor of the municipality or his designee, at its administrative office. Such affidavit shall include the following, as described in R.S. 33:5062:
(1) A description of the property sufficient to reasonably identify it. (2) A photograph of the property sufficient to reasonably identify it’s unsafe or unsanitary condition and to justify the necessity for cutting , destroying, or removing weeds, grass, or other noxious growths.
(3) A statement that the property owner liable has within the past 12 months failed to do such work after notification and opportunity to do so pursuant to this section.
SEC. 1-58 – SAME – SERVING
The notice provided for in (section 10-57) shall be given to the person owning or occupying the premises at his last known address. Notice directed to the person owning the premises as shown on the last assessment rolls shall be sufficient to constitute notice to the person actually owning the premises. If pursuant to (section 10-57), notice is given by advertisement in the official journal, no further notice shall be required.
SEC. 10-59 – SAME – PRESUMPTION OF RECEIVING
The notice provided by in (section 10-57) shall be presumed to have been received by the person owning or occupying the premises when deposited in the United States post office for delivery to such person.
SEC. 10-60 – PUNISHMENT FOR VIOLATION
Upon failure, neglect or refusal of such person owning or occupying the premises to comply with the notice within ten days after date of the written notice provided for in (section 10-57) provided the same was properly addressed to the last known address of the person owning or occupying the premises as provided in (section 10-58) the person owning or occupying the premises shall be deemed in violation of this Code and subject to the penalties set out in (section 1-8) of this Code. In the event the person owning or occupying the premises is a corporation, each officer and director thereof shall be deemed in violation of this Code and subject to the penalties set out in (section 1-8) of this Code.
SEC. 10-61 – ABATEMENT BY CITY – AUTHORITY
In default of the cutting, destroying or removing from the lot or tract, or adjacent sidewalks, banquettes or neutral grounds any weeds, grass, brush or underbrush, trash, rubbish, refuse and debris growing or lying upon said area within the period provided in (section 10-56), the mayor of the city, or his duly authorized representative, is authorized and empowered, at the expense of the person owning the premises or he abutting lot or tract, to either perform with the city forces or to contract with private businesses, individuals, partnerships or corporations, for the cutting, destroying or removing of such weeds, grass, brush or underbrush, trash, rubbish, refuse and debris growing or lying upon said lot or tract or abutting sidewalks, banquettes or neutral grounds.
SEC. 10-62 – SAME – CHARGES AND INTEREST PAYABLE
(a) The actual cost of the work and cleaning the premises, whether performed by city forces or by contract, plus accrued interest at the judicial rate of interest, as provided in R.S. 9:3500, as the same presently exists or as the same may hereafter be amended, per annum from the date of the completion of said work, according to the following rates:
(1) City of DeQuincy administrative fee: Shall be determined by the city council of DeQuincy, LA in their yearly budget meeting.
(2) Bush-hog work: Or other mowing that requires the use of ride-on equipment with cutting width larger than 54 inches or engine size greater than 21 horsepower, or debris removal that requires the use of heavy equipment. Shall be paid by hourly rate of $50.00, minimum of two (2) hours or an amount to be determined by the council.
(3) For hand work: hand mowers, riding mowers smaller than indicated in subsection (2), handheld trimmers and other similar equipment, trash pickup, hand debris removal, underbrush clearing, or other similar activity, shall be paid by hourly rate of $25.00 or an amount to be determined by the city council.
(4) Transportation fee: Shall be as determined by the city council.
(5) Expenses for debris disposal shall be the actual cost of disposal at a licensed disposal facility.
(6) Said fees and cost: shall be charged to the person owning the premises, which charge shall be due and payable on the date of completion of said work.
SEC. 10-63 – SAME – IMPOSITION OF LIEN; COLLECTIN AND PLACEMENT ON TAX ROLLS
(a) If, after the work has been done as provided in this article, after due notice as above provided, the costs or expense thereof have not been paid within ten days, the City Clerk, or the Clerk’s designee, of the city shall furnish the owner, as shown on the last assessment roll of the city, by registered or certified mail, a written statement showing the cost or expense incurred for the work, and the place or property on which the work was done. If the state is not paid within one month thereafter, the amount thereof shall be due and collectable in the manner set forth in this section.
(b) Upon the failure of the owner or occupant of any lot or tract of land to pay the cost of cutting, destroying or removing from a lot or tract or adjacent sidewalks, banquettes or neutral grounds all weeds, grass, brush or underbrush, trash, rubbish, refuse and debris, within 30 days after the notice provided herein, the mayor or his designee is hereby authorized to record in the mortgage records of the parish, a sworn statement showing the cost incurred for the work and the date, place or property upon which the said work was done.
(c) The recordation of such sworn statement shall constitute a lien and privilege on the property and shall remain in full force and effect for the full amount due in principal, penalty, and interest, plus cost of court, if any, for collection, for a period of ten years from the date of filing.
(d) The costs and expenses shall be collected in the manner fixed for the collection taxes, an shall be subject to a delinquent penalty of ten per cent in the event same is not paid in full on or before on month after the notice provided for in this section.
(e) Sworn statements recorded in accordance with the provisions hereof shall be prima facie evidence that all legal formalities have been complied with and shall be full notice to every person concerned that the amount of the statement, plus interest, constitutes a charge against the property designated or described by the statement and the same is due and collectable as provided by law.
In addition to the procedures set forth in this section, if, after the cutting, destruction or removal of weeds, grass or growths, by the city or those with whom it contracts, after due notice as above provided, the cost or expense thereof has not been paid within ten days, and after written notice by registered or certified mail, as provide in this section, the costs thereof shall be collectable in the amount as hereafter provided. If the said statement is not paid within one month thereafter, the amount thereof shall be included in and shall form a part of the ad valorem taxes on said lot or tract due by the owner of said property, and shall be collectable in
the manner provided for unpaid ad valorem taxes against immovable property, and when collected shall be credited to the general fund of the city, in accordance with the provisions of LSA R.S. 33:5062 and 5063.
BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED by the City Council that should any section, clause, or provision of this ordinance be declared invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, the same shall not affect the validity of the ordinance as a whole, or any part thereof, other than the part or parts declared to be invalid. All ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict with any of the provisions of this ordinance are hereby repealed.
All other sections, paragraphs, subsections, subparagraphs, clauses, phrases and words of Appendix A, not specifically amended by this ordinance, are to remain the same.
This Ordinance was declared duly adopted this 13th day of July, 2020.
Chairman of the Council
I hereby certify that the foregoing Ordinance has been presented to the Mayor on this 13th day of July, 2020, at 8:00 o’clock p. m.
Secretary of theCouncil
and City Clerk
I have reviewed the above and foregoing Ordinance on this 13th day of July, 2020, and do hereby Approve/Veto same.
I hereby certify that I have received from the Mayor at 8:00 o’clock p. m., on this 13th day of July, 2020, the foregoing Ordinance which has been Approved by the Mayor.
Secretary of the
Council and City Clerk
I certify that the above and foregoing constitutes a true and correct copy of an Ordinance duly adopted at a meeting of the City Council of the City of DeQuincy held on July 13, 2020, at which meeting a quorum was present and voted in favor of said Ordinance, and said Ordinance has never been modified or rescinded and is still in full force and effect. Date: July 13, 2020
Secretary of the Council
and City Clerk
Run: July 22, 2020 (Jy-5)
CITY OF DEQUINCY