Below is a copy of the two Ordinances that are being drafted by the city. They have not been enacted as of this time, but are available for public viewing. Let us know in the comments your thoughts on this matter.
AN ORDINANCE PERTAINING TO MAINTENANCE OF REAL PROPERTY AND PROVISIONS FOR ABATEMENT OF NUISANCE PROPERTIES OR STRUCTURES WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS OF THE CITY OF CALICO ROCK, ARKANSAS
WHEREAS, Arkansas State Statute §14-54-901 states that incorporated cities of the second class are empowered to order the owner of lots and other real property within the city limits to cut weeds, to remove garbage, rubbish and other unsightly and unsanitary articles and things upon the property; and to eliminate, fill up, or remove stagnant pools of water or any other unsanitary thing, place or condition which might become a breeding place for mosquitoes, flies and germs harmful to the health of the community; and,
WHEREAS, there exists within the city limits several properties that have remained a continual nuisance for numerous years and persist in the cycle of code enforcement; and, those properties persisting in the cycle of code enforcement cause perpetual use of city funds; and, the number of nuisance properties continues to increase annually; and,
WHEREAS, Arkansas Code Annotated §§ 14-54-901 through 14-54-904 with §14-54-903 being amended by Act 854 grants cities additional tools to deal with criminal, nuisance and vacant properties; and
NOW, THEREFORE: BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CALICO ROCK, ARKANSAS:
SECTION 1. GENERAL INTENT AND PURPOSE: The intent of this Ordinance is to protect the public health, safety and welfare of the residents of Calico Rock, Arkansas with regard to non-wooded residential and nonresidential properties within the city limits of Calico Rock by establishing minimum property maintenance requirements and standards to prevent blight, crime and disease, to preserve property values, to increase public confidence in safety, to increase tourism, to facilitate the basic rights of adjacent property owners and citizens to enjoy their surroundings, to fix the responsibility of owners and occupants and to provide for administration, enforcement and penalties.
SECTION 2. INTERPRETATION: This ordinance shall be construed liberally and justly to ensure public health, safety and welfare insofar as they are affected by the continual use and maintenance of residential and non-residential properties.
SECTION 3. DEFINITIONS:
Code Official: The Mayor of the City of Calico Rock or the Mayor’s designee with the authority to issue noncompliance citations.
Property: For the intent and purpose of this ordinance, “property” or “properties” shall be defined as any non-wooded lot or parcel and its existing structures or buildings whether residential, commercial or industrial.
Owners, Occupants: Any person(s), whether owner(s) or occupant(s) under a lease agreement, shall be responsible for the care, maintenance and upkeep of the property owned or occupied.
Unlawful Structure: A structure found in whole or in part to be a harbor for criminal activity, or one that constitutes a blighting problem due to a consistent lack of regular property maintenance or is in such a structural state that the building constitutes a danger to anyone in, on or near said structure.
Nuisance Property: A nuisance property is one that unreasonably interferes with the use and enjoyment of lands of another, including the use of a structure which disturbs the peaceful, quiet, undisturbed use and enjoyment of nearby property. The definition of nuisance property shall also include but not be limited to, those properties found to be dilapidated, unsightly, unsafe, unsanitary, obnoxious, unfit for human occupancy, unlawful or detrimental to the public welfare.
Unsafe Property: An unsafe property is one in which all or part of the premises thereof is found to be dangerous to life, health, property, or the safety of the public or the occupants of the structure due to a state of non-repair, damage, decay, dilapidation, trash or fire hazard of such faulty construction or unstable foundation that would make the structure unsafe with partial or complete collapse likely.
Unsanitary Property: An unsanitary property is one in which the condition of the premises allows for infestation by rodents, vermin, pestiferous insects, mosquitoes or flies. An unsanitary property will include, but not be limited to, those allowing stagnant pools of water causing the breeding of mosquitoes.
Unfit for Human Occupancy: A Structure is unfit for human occupancy or use whenever the Code Official determines that such structure is unsafe, unlawful or because of the degree in which the structure is in disrepair or lacks maintenance, is unsanitary, vermin or rat infested, contains filth and contamination or lacks water and sewer service or other utility services making the structure a hazard.
Unsafe Equipment: Equipment that is unsafe means any machinery that no longer functions in a manner consistent with its make and is openly and obviously displayed on property within the city limits.
SECTION 4. MINIMUM PROPERTY MAINTENANCE REQUIREMENTS AND STANDARDS: Properties and structures: It shall be unlawful for any person to keep, own or maintain any property, house, building, or other structure within the corporate limits of the city of Calico Rock that constitutes a nuisance or that is unsightly, unsanitary, unsafe, unlawful or unfit for human occupancy. Property owners/occupants shall be held responsible for compliance to this Ordinance as follows:
1. Any equipment that is unsafe, inoperative, unfit for human use, or unlawful shall not be kept, owned or displayed on properties.
2. All accessory structures, including but not limited to detached garages, fences and walls shall be kept in good repair and free from vines or other vegetation that may grow into or onto an adjoining property.
3. A vacant structure unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use shall not be allowed to remain standing.
4. Long-term offensive odors to emanate from the property that unreasonably interfere with the ordinary use and enjoyment of neighboring property owners’ land shall not be permitted. This excludes naturally occurring odors beyond the control of the property owner.
5. Premises and exterior property shall be kept free from all used or dismantled household appliances, furniture, vehicle parts, discarded personal property, garbage, junk, scrap, or refuse excepting those structures in building, remodeling or demolition process.
6. Unregistered, dismantled, inoperable, untagged, or stripped vehicles shall not be kept or stored outside on any premises, commercial or residential and will be enforced in accordance with Chapter 8.16 of the City of Calico Rock Municipal Code.
7. All structures and exterior property shall be kept clean and sanitary and free from rat/vermin infestation.
8. Stagnant water shall not be permitted. This provision shall not apply to private lakes or ponds.
9. Weeds, grasses or other vegetation growth exceeding twelve (12) inches shall not be permitted. This provision shall not apply to ornamental trees, shrubs and flowers.
10. Nothing contained herein shall be interpreted or construed to prevent a person from using acreage for pastureland, wooded lots or for cutting of hay.
SECTION 5. ENFORCEMENT: Any tenant and/or owner of real property within the City of Calico Rock, Arkansas whose property violates this Ordinance shall be notified of the violation by the City of Calico Rock and shall be given a seven (7) day notice to correct the Ordinance violation. Said notice shall be sent by regular and certified mail and shall be sent to the following:
The occupant, if any, of the property, with notice sent to the physical address of the property;
The owner of the property, with notice sent to the owner’s address of record at the Office of Izard County Collector; and
Any lien holders of the property as reflected in the Office of the Clerk and Ex-Officio Recorder for Izard County, Arkansas.
Refusal of Owner to Comply:
If the owner, occupant, or lien holder shall, after being sent notice as provided hereinabove, shall neglect or refuse to remove, abate or eliminate any condition as may be provided for in this Ordinance or fails to correct the Ordinance violation, then the City may take any and all action necessary to correct the Ordinance violation, and shall charge the costs thereof to the owner of the real property. As used herein, the term “costs” shall include the actual cost to correct the Ordinance violation, as well as any administrative and collection costs incurred by the City. The City shall be entitled to a lien against the property for all such costs, provided that the lien shall be perfected, imposed, and collected in the time and manner set forth in Arkansas Code Annotated §§14-54-903 and 14-54-904.
In case the owner of any lot or other real property is unknown or his whereabouts is not known or is a non-resident of this State, then a copy of the written notice hereinabove referred to shall be posted upon the premises and before any action to enforce such lien shall be had, the City Clerk or Recorder shall make an affidavit setting out the facts as to unknown address or whereabouts of non-residents and thereupon service of publication as now provided for by law against non-resident defendants may be had and an attorney ad litem shall be appointed to notify the defendant by certified letter addressed to his last known place of address if same can be found.
SECTION 6. PENALTIES: Any person in violation of this Ordinance shall be deemed guilty of an unclassified violation and, upon conviction, shall be fined not less than $50.00 nor more than $200.00 for the first violation, and if such violation is continued, each day’s violation shall be a separate offense of $20.00 per day; and any person convicted a second time for a violation of any such provision of this ordinance shall be fined up to one thousand dollars ($1,000.00), and if such violation is continued, each day’s violation shall be a separate offense of fifty dollars ($50.00) per day.
SECTION 7. INCONSISTENCIES REPEALED: All other ordinances or parts thereof in conflict herewith are hereby repealed. However, the City of Calico Rock may also choose to enforce the provisions of Ordinance 2022-2 as it relates to any property relevant thereto.
SECTION 8. SEVERABILITY: Should any section, clause or paragraph of this Ordinance be declared by court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, the same will not affect the validity of the ordinance as a whole or part hereof other than the part declared to be invalid.
SECTION 9. SAVING CLAUSE: That nothing in this Ordinance shall be construed to affect any suit or proceeding impending in any court, or any rights acquired, or liability incurred, or any cause or causes of action acquired or existing, under any act or ordinance hereby repealed; nor shall any just or legal right or remedy of any character be lost, impaired or affected by this Ordinance.
AN ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR THE CONDEMNATION AND REMOVAL OF HOUSES, BUILDINGS AND/OR STRUCTURES CONSTITUTING A NUISANCE WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS OF CALICO ROCK, ARKANSAS; PROVIDING FOR A LIEN ON THE PROPERTY; PROVIDING A PENALTY THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CALICO ROCK, ARKANSAS:
SECTION 1. That it shall be and it is hereby declared to be unlawful for any person or persons, partnership, corporation or association, to own, keep or maintain any house, building and/or structure within the corporate limits of the City of Calico Rock, Arkansas, which constitutes a nuisance and which is found and declared to be a nuisance by Resolution of the City Council.
SECTION 2. That any such house, building and/or structure which is found and declared to be a nuisance by Resolution of the City Council will be condemned to insure the removal thereof as herein provided.
That prior to the consideration of a Resolution by the City Council declaring any house, building and/or structure as a nuisance, the owner(s) and any mortgagee(s) or lienholder(s), of such house, building and/ or structure shall be mailed written notification of the date, time and place that the city Council will consider said Resolution. In addition, said notice shall inform the owner(s) and any mortgagee(s) or lienholder(s), of the right to be heard at the City Council meeting on the proposed Resolution declaring such house, building and/or structure to be a nuisance.
Should the owner(s) and mortgagee(s) and/or lienholder(s) of any such house, building and/or structure be unknown or their whereabouts be unknown, or if they do not reside in Arkansas, then a copy of the written notice shall be posted upon said premises and the Mayor or his designee shall make an affidavit setting out the facts as to unknown address, unknown whereabouts and/or non-resident status of said owner(s), mortgagee(s), and lienholder(s). Thereupon, service of publication as now provided by law against unknown and/or non-resident defendant(s) may be had and an attorney ad litem shall be appointed to notify such persons by certified letter addressed to their last known place(s) of residence or business.
SECTION 4. That the Resolution of the City Council condemning any house, building and/or structure which constitutes a nuisance will include in said Resolution an adequate description of the house, building, and/or structure; the name(s), if known, of the owner(s) and mortgagee(s) and/or lienholder(s) thereof; and shall set forth the reason or reasons said house, building and/or structure is or has been condemned as a nuisance.
SECTION 5. After a house, building and/or structure has been found and declared to be a nuisance and condemned by Resolution as herein provided, a true or certified copy of said Resolution will be mailed to the owner(s) and mortgagee(s) and/or lienholder(s) thereof, if the whereabouts of said owner(s) and mortgagee(s) and/or lienholder(s) thereof be known or their last known address be known, and a copy thereof shall be posted at a conspicuous place on said house, building and/or structure. Provided, that if the owner(s) and mortgagee(s) and/or lienholder(s) of said house, building and/or structure be unknown, or if his or their whereabouts or last known address be unknown, the posting of the copy of said resolution as hereinabove provided will suffice as notice of the condemnation.
SECTION 6. If the house, building and/or structure constituting a nuisance has not been torn down or removed, or said nuisance otherwise abated within thirty (30) days after posting the true copy of the Resolution at a conspicuous place on said house, building and/or structure constituting the nuisance, it will be torn down and/or removed by the Mayor, or his duly-designated representative.
SECTION 7. The Mayor, his designee, or any other person or persons designated by him to tear down and remove any such house, building and/or structure constituting a nuisance will insure the removal thereof and dispose of the same in such a manner as deemed appropriate in the circumstances and to that end may, if the same have a substantial value, sell said house, building and/or structure, or any saleable materials thereof, by public sale to the highest bidder for cash, ten (10) days’ notice thereof being first given by one publication in some newspaper having a general circulation in the City, to insure its removal and the abatement of the nuisance.
SECTION 8. All proceeds of the sale of any such house, building and/or structure, or the proceeds of the sale of saleable materials therefrom and all fines collected from the provisions of this ordinance shall be paid by the person or persons collecting the same to the City Treasurer. If any such house, building and/ or structure, or the saleable materials thereof, be sold for an amount which exceeds all costs incidental to the abatement of the nuisance (including the cleaning up of the premises) by the City, plus any fine or fines imposed, the balance thereof will be returned by the City Treasurer to the former owner or owners of such house, building and/or structure constituting the nuisance.
SECTION 9. If the City has any net costs in removal of any house, building or structure, the City shall have a lien on the property as provided by A.C.A. § 14-54-904.
SECTION 10. A fine of not less than Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($250.00) nor more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) is hereby imposed against the owner(s) of any house, building and/or structure found and declared to be a nuisance by Resolution of the City Council thirty (30) days after the same has been so found and declared to be a nuisance, and for each day thereafter said nuisance be not abated constitutes a continuing offense punishable by a fine up to Fifty Dollars ($50.00) per day; provided the notice as herein provided in Section 5 hereof has been given within ten (10) days after said house, building and/or structure has been by Resolution found and declared to be a nuisance.
SECTION 11. In the event it is deemed advisable by the City Council that a particular house, building and/ or structure be judicially declared to be a nuisance by a Court having jurisdiction of such matters, the City Council is hereby authorized to employ an attorney to bring such an action for said purpose in the name of the City, and the only notice to be given to the owner(s) and mortgagee(s) and/or lienholder(s) of any such house, building and/or structure sought to be judicially declared to be a nuisance will be that as now provided for by law in such cases in a court of equity or Circuit Court. When any such house, building, and/or structure has been declared judicially to be a nuisance by a Court of competent jurisdiction, a fine up to One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) is hereby imposed against the owner(s) thereof from the date said finding is made by the Court and for each day thereafter, said nuisance be not abated constitutes a continuing offense punishable by a fine up to Fifty Dollars ($50.00) per day.
SECTION 12. If, for any reason, any portion of this ordinance be held to be invalid, such invalidity shall in no way affect the remaining portions thereof which are valid, but said valid portions shall be and remain in full force and effect.
SECTION 13. All ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict herewith are hereby repealed. However, the City of Calico Rock may also choose to enforce the provisions of Ordinance 2022-1 as it relates to any property relevant thereto.