Tazewell County can now fine residents for trash and blight if it is deemed a health or safety risk
TAZEWELL COUNTY, Va. (WVVA) - Tazewell County is looking up to clean blight in the area.
The Board of Supervisors has approved a new rule regarding trash and debris in an effort to protect the health of its citizens and beautify the area for tourism.
The ordinance prohibits accumulation of garbage or clutter visible on personal property.
Clutter is defines as mechanical equipment, household appliances and household furniture that may be detrimental to the wellbeing of a community when left in public view.
We spoke to a county supervisor on why it was important to enact these guidelines.
“We just started getting a significant increase in calls of people who have just literally trashed their properties. The longer we have all that trash and refuse that just sits in one spot, the more it creates issues for rats and vermin and things like that,” said Easter District Supervisor Charles Stacy.
The process for the ordinance is as follows: a citizen makes a report to the board who will then review the complaint.
If it is deemed valid by a committee.. A 30 day notice will be issued to the property owner to clean up the blight..
A fifty dollar fee is issued for the first violation and $200 for subsequent ones.
If the county is made to step in and clean the blight.. The amount it cost for the removal will be charged to the property owner and may result in a lien on the land...
Here is the entirety of the ordinance:
WHEREAS, the natural, scenic beauty of Tazewell County, Virginia is knownregionally, statewide, and nationally, and provides Tazewell County a significantadvantage regarding economic development and tourism;WHEREAS, the general welfare of the residents of Tazewell County is enhancedwhen the land in Tazewell County is free of trash, garbage, refuse, and litter;WHEREAS, the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors (hereafter, “the Board”)FINDS that the accumulation of trash, garbage, refuse, and litter throughout TazewellCounty is a significant issue facing Tazewell County residents, which creates acompelling governmental issue for the Board to consider; andWHEREAS, the Board desires to be proactive and regulate the accumulation oftrash, garbage, refuse, and litter throughout Tazewell County, pursuant to the authoritygranted pursuant to Sections 10.1-1414 et seq. and 15.2-901 of the Code of Virginia(1950), as amended;NOW THEREFORE, be it ORDAINED that Sections 13-111 through 13-130 ofthe Tazewell County Code of Ordinances are hereby amended and reenacted asfollows:CHAPTER 13 – OFFENSES AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONSARTICLE IV. – PUBLIC NUISANCESDIVISION 1 – GENERALLY TRASH, GARBAGE, REFUSE, AND LITTERSec. 13-111. – Section 13.130 – Reserved.Sec. 13-111. – Definitions.The following words, terms, and phrases, when used in this Division, shall have themeanings ascribed to them in this Division, except where the context clearly indicates adifferent meaning:Clutter shall mean “mechanical equipment, household furniture, household appliances,containers, and similar items that may be detrimental to the well-being of a communitywhen left in public view for an extended period of time or otherwise allowed toaccumulate.”Litter shall mean “all waste material, disposable packages, or containers, but does notinclude the properly disposed wastes of the primary processes of mining, logging,sawmilling, farming, or manufacturing.”Sec. 13-112. – Unlawful Storage or Accumulation of Trash, Garbage, Refuse, andLitter.(a) Prohibited storage or accumulation. It shall be unlawful for any owner, tenant, orinhabitant of real property to allow the storage or accumulation of trash, garbage,refuse, litter, clutter, or other substances that may endanger the health or safetyof other residents of Tazewell County, Virginia, except on land used in activefarming operations.(b) Use of containers required. All trash, garbage, refuse, litter, clutter, or othersubstances that may endanger the health or safety of other residents of TazewellCounty, Virginia shall be placed in watertight containers and kept covered untiltransported to the Tazewell County Landfill; or until taken from the premises bypublic or private solid waste collectors; or otherwise disposed as permitted byfederal, state, or local laws, except on land used in active farming operations.Sec. 13-113. – Procedure to Abate Unlawful Storage or Accumulation of Trash,Garbage, Refuse, and Litter.No action shall be taken by Tazewell County to abate the unlawful storage oraccumulation of trash, garbage, refuse, litter, clutter, or other substances that mayendanger the health or safety of other residents of Tazewell County, Virginia except bythe following procedures:(1) The County Administrator, upon receipt of a complain, shall appoint a committeeto evaluate the alleged unlawful activity as described herein.(2) The committee shall consist of at least three (3) members, one (1) of whom shallbe a Tazewell County Property Maintenance Official, or his/her designee. Thecomplainant shall not be on the committee.(3) The committee shall review the condition as alleged and report its finding to theCounty Administrator.(4) The committee’s report shall include:(a) An accurate description of the location of the condition;(b) The name and address of the owner of the property whereupon thecondition exists;(c) The name and address of any known lienholders to the property, asidentified in the Tazewell County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office;(d) A description of the condition as alleged, including photographs ifpracticable and applicable;(e) A finding by each member whether the condition endangers the health orsafety of other residents of Tazewell County, Virginia;(f) A reasonably accurate description of the danger so posed;(g) The dates of the report;(h) The signatures of the committee members; and(i) A recommendation regarding the action necessary to eliminate thecondition.(5) Upon a finding by a majority of the committee that the condition endangers thehealth or safety of other residents of Tazewell County, Virginia, the CountyAdministrator may order the removal or abatement of the trash, garbage, refuse,litter, clutter, or other substances that may endanger the health or safety of otherresidents of Tazewell County, Virginia.(6) Upon issuing an abatement order, the County Administrator shall issue notice tothe owner, tenant, inhabitant, and lienholder of the property by United StatesPostal Service certified mail, return receipt requested. No action may be takenby the County Administrator less than thirty (30) days after the return receipt ofthe notice. The notice shall state the following:(a) The location of the property;(b) The name and address of the owner, tenant, inhabitant, and lienholder, ifany;(c) A brief description of the condition to be removed or abated;(d) A reasonably accurate description of the danger posts;(e) An order for the recipient to take specific action to remove or abate thecondition within thirty (30) days of receipt of the notice;(f) Notification that Tazewell County, Virginia may remove or abate thecondition if not removed or abated by the recipient of the notice;(g) Notification that Tazewell County, Virginia may hold the recipient of thenotice financially responsible for the costs of remedial measures;(h) Notification that such remedial measures shall constitute a lien against therecipient’s property;(i) Notification that, in addition to the costs of removal or abatement,Tazewell County, Virginia may impose penalties in accordance withSection 13-115 of the Tazewell County Code of Ordinances, with thespecific penalties stated therein;(j) Notification that the recipient may appear and object to the decision of theCounty Administrator at a public hearing before the Tazewell CountyBoard of Supervisors, stating the date, time, and place thereof;(k) Notification that the recipient may appeal the decision of the TazewellCounty Board of Supervisors to the Tazewell County Circuit Court by filinga petition within ten (10) days of the public hearing before the TazewellCounty Board of Supervisors; and(l) A reference to the appropriate sections of the Code of Virginia and theTazewell County Code of Ordinances.(7) In the event of an appeal by a recipient, no action may be taken by TazewellCounty, Virginia less than ten (10) days after the public hearing before theTazewell County Board of Supervisors.(8) When the Tazewell County Administrator has acted to remove or abate acondition described herein; or when a condition described herein was remediedby the property owner, tenant, or inhabitant after a public hearing before theTazewell County Board of Supervisors; the Tazewell County Board ofSupervisors shall hold a hearing to determine the penalties to be imposed uponthe property owner in accordance with Section 13-115 of the Tazewell CountyCode of Ordinances and the costs to be paid by the property owner. Theproperty owner shall be given notice of such hearing by United States PostalService certified mail, return receipt requested. Such notice shall state:(a) The costs to be presented to the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors;(b) Notification that the property owner may be subject to penalties inaccordance with Section 13-115 of the Tazewell County Code ofOrdinances, with the specific penalties stated therein;(c) The date, time, and place of the hearing;(d) Notification that Tazewell County, Virginia shall have a lien on the owner’sproperty in an amount to be determined by the Tazewell County Board ofSupervisors; and(e) Notification that the recipient may appeal the decision of the TazewellCounty Board of Supervisors to the Tazewell County Circuit Court withinten (10) days of such hearing before the Board.(9) The hearing as described in Paragraph 8 shall be held no sooner than ten (10)days after return of receipt for the notice as listed above.(10) The Tazewell County Board of Supervisors may reduce or waive repayment ofcosts and impose no penalty or some penalty not to exceed those listed inSection 13-115 of the Tazewell County Code of Ordinances. However, the costscharges shall not exceed the actual costs incurred by Tazewell County, Virginiain removing or abating such condition.(11) The Tazewell County Board of Supervisors shall request the Tazewell CountyCircuit Court Clerk’s Office to file a notice regarding the lien, including costs andfines, among the land records of the Tazewell County Circuit Court. The CountyAdministrator shall not transmit such request until more than thirty (30) days afterthe hearing as described in Paragraph 8.(12) Nothing in this procedure shall prohibit Tazewell County, Virginia from filing anyaction in a court of competent jurisdiction to collect costs and fines from aproperty owner, tenant, inhabitant, and/or lienholder.Sec. 13-114. – Lien for Unpaid Costs and Fines.Such costs and fines authorized by this Division may be collected by Tazewell County,Virginia as taxes and levies are collected. All costs and fines accruing against theowner, tenant, inhabitant, and/or lienholder under this Division which remain unpaidshall constitute a lien against such property on a parity with liens for unpaid TazewellCounty, Virginia real estate taxes. Tazewell County, Virginia may waive such liens inorder to facilitate the sale of such property. Such liens may be waived only as to a bonafide purchaser for value who is unrelated by blood or marriage to the owner and whohas no business association with the owner. All such liens so waived shall remain apersonal obligation of the owner of the property at the time the liens were imposed.Sec. 13-115. – Violations of Division; Penalties.Violations of this Division shall be subject to the following:(1) First violation / first violation arising from same set of operative facts: Civil penaltyof Fifty Dollars ($50.00).(2) Subsequent violations not arising from the same set of operative facts withintwelve (12) months of the first violation: Civil penalty of Two Hundred Dollars($200.00).(3) Each business day during which the same violation is found to have existed shallconstitute a separate offense.(4) Violations resulting from the same set of operative facts shall not exceed a civilpenalty of Three Thousand Dollars ($3,000.00) within any twelve (12)-monthperiod.Sec. 13-116. – Section 13.130 – Reserved.
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