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Nuisance ordinance deals with everything from animal noise to drug activity

GRANDVIEW - Monday night, the Grandview City Council approved an updated nuisance ordinance that deals with everything from people yelling in the street to laser pointers being shone in people's windows.

The updated ordinance, which was championed by Grandview resident Deborah Hanson and her Concord Avenue neighbors, will go into effect Monday, March 28.

The 17-page nuisance ordinance deals with public nuisances, beginning with property issues. The ordinance declares the existence of weeds, trash, unused household appliances and general filth as being a nuisance. It also describes the burning of waste without permission of the local fire department, any issue that could lead to unsanitary conditions and the existence of any pits or holes that would be dangerous as nuisances.

Another issue the ordinance deals with in regards to properties is the keeping of any unused building materials, without a permit from the building official. The ordinance states that keeping unused building materials for more than 30 days is considered a nuisance.

The ordinance also points out that unused and abandoned trailers, cars, boats or other vehicles on a person's property is considered a nuisance, as well as a decaying fence that runs along any public street.

The updated ordinance makes "hanging laundry on any fence visible from any street or another person's property" a nuisance.

Under the category of noise nuisances, everything from beeping car horns to yelling in the middle of the street is addressed.

The sounding of a horn when it is not used to warn someone of danger is considered a nuisance, as is the use of any vehicle that is so out of repair or fixed up in such a manner that is unnecessarily loud.

"Yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling or singing on the public street, particularly between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. or at any time and place so as to disturb the quiet, comfort and repose an any person in any dwelling or other type of residence," is included as a nuisance in the updated ordinance.

The ordinance notes that construction work, which uses heavy equipment or creates excess noise, is restricted except between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Other loud noises the ordinance covers include noise from loading and unloading any vehicle, the use of loudspeakers and other instruments to attract attention to something and the use of loudspeakers on a vehicle for advertisement.

Under the category of vehicle nuisances, the ordinance covers working on a car or truck in great detail. It notes that minor repair work can be done within public view, work can be done on no more than one vehicle at a time, major repair work must be done in an area that is screened from public view, such work will not be done in a public right-of-way, and can only be done between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.

The next category tackled by the updated nuisance ordinance is animal nuisances.

The ordinance notes that continuous barking, howling or yelping of any animal is considered a nuisance, as is allowing an animal to defecate in an area owned by the city or on another person's property.

Under the category of drug and moral nuisances the ordinance denotes that the illegal possession, delivery or manufacture of any illegal drug is considered a nuisance, as is any building that is used for the manufacturing or distribution of drugs.

City Administrator Jim Sewell explained that even with the lengthy nuisance ordinance in place, it doesn't mean that city officials will be out patrolling for violations.

"Nuisance ordinances are generally enforced upon complaint," Sewell said.

He explained that when the city receives a complaint it will send out a city enforcement official who will work to determine if the complaint is a violation of the nuisance ordinance. If it is a violation, he said, the city will work with the resident or property owner to abate the nuisance.

Sewell said if city officials find the nuisance had not been abated they will talk with the resident or property owner again to set up a schedule as to when the nuisance will be taken care of. If it is still not abated at the conclusion of that process, Sewell said, the city will move ahead with prosecution for the violation.

The next portion of the ordinance deals with chronic nuisances, which are properties where nuisance activities have occurred three or more times in any 60-day period.

Sewell explained that this portion of the ordinance deals with criminal nuisances, such as stalking, harassment, assault, drug related activity and firearms violations.

When a person is in violation of the chronic nuisance ordinance the police department will attempt to contact the resident or property owner to work to abate the nuisances. If the nuisances are not abated the matter is taken on by the city attorney, who will begin legal action on the chronic nuisance property.

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