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First reading of nuisance ordinance approved by Fiscal Court

10/24/2019

By Tom Marshall
Senior Advocate writer

The Montgomery County Fiscal Court has given first reading of a nuisance ordinance that would address junked, wrecked or inoperative motor vehicles, abandoned mobile homes, rubbish or residences with high grass or weeds.

The first reading was approved unanimously Oct. 15. Second reading is expected to occur at the Fiscal Court’s Nov. 19 meeting.

The ordinance would apply to unincorporated portions of the county that excludes the cities of Mt. Sterling, Camargo or Jeffersonville.
The Fiscal Court has spent several months crafting the ordinance with the help of Solid Waste Coordinator Brian Bailey, who has looked at similar ordinances in other communities.

The ordinance states that “there exists in areas of Montgomery County Kentucky properties whose condition or use causes or tends to cause substantial diminishing value of residential or commercial properties adjacent thereto, or prevents or interferes with the use and enjoying of adjoining property, or tends to render such properties as dangerous or detrimental or adverse to the health and welfare of the residents of Montgomery County.”

The ordinance also notes that the Fiscal Court has authority to address ordinances concerning the abatement of nuisances through KRS 65.8840.

Identified in the ordinance as nuisances subject to abatement are:
• Junked or wrecked automobiles, vehicles, machines or other similar scrap or salvage materials, excluding inoperative farm equipment.
• One or more mobile or manufactured homes that are junked, wrecked or inoperative and which are not inhabited.

• Rubbish, which is defined as “waste material normally accumulated in the course of ordinary day-to-day living, except for garbage or other potentially hazardous waste materials, and shall include abandoned, discarded, inoperable, dilapidated, disassembled or demolished objects, structures or equipment.”

• The excessive growth of weeds or grass edible or not, to exceed a height of 18 inches.

Excluded from the ordinance are:

• Junked, wrecked or inoperative automobiles, vehicles, machines or other similar scrap or salvage materials located on the business premises of a licensed automobile recycling dealer or motor vehicle auction dealer.
• Junked, wrecked or inoperative motor vehicles, including parts cars, stored on private premises by automobile collectors, whether by hobby or a profession if these motor vehicles and parts cars are stored out of ordinary public view by means of suitable fencing, trees, shrubbery or other means.

Parts cars are defined as “an automobile that is not intended to be operated along streets and roads, but is used to provide parts for the restoration of other automobiles.”

• Any motor vehicle that is owned, controlled, operated, managed or leased by a motor carrier.

• Any crops, trees, bushes, shrubs, flowers or other ornamental plants or flowers, which are maintained in a clearly definable fashion.
The ordinance states that any notice of violation shall describe the nuisance and demand abatement within seven days of the issuance of the notice.

Should the person fail or refuse to abate the nuisance within the time specified, the ordinance states that the violation is determined to be final and a notice of intent to abate may be issued.

The ordinance states that the enforcement officer (assigned by the Fiscal Court) shall send within three days of a determination that a violation of the ordinance is final and send a notice of intent to abate by certified mail, return receipt requested.

Should the nuisance not be abated within the seven-day period, the ordinance states that the county may proceed to abate the nuisance at the expense of the owner, including an administrative fee that may be charged to the owner.

The county is authorized in the ordinance to place a lien against the property for all charges and fees incurred by the county.
The ordinance also states that the county may bring a civil action against the owner.

“The provisions of this ordinance shall not apply to an owner, occupant or person having control or management of any land, if the owner, occupant or person is not the generator of the rubbish or is not dumping or knowingly allowing the dumping of the rubbish and has made reasonable efforts to prevent the dumping of rubbish by other persons onto the premises,” the ordinance states.

Property assessed as agricultural land for tax purposes by the property valuation administrator is excluded.

“Nothing contained in this ordinance shall prohibit the county from taking immediate action to remedy a violation of this ordinance when there is reason to believe that the existence of the violation presents imminent danger, a serious threat to the public health, safety and welfare, or if in the absence of immediate action, the effects of the violation will be irreparable or irreversible,” the ordinance states.

In other action, commissioners:
• Approved an amended lease agreement with the Montgomery County Health Dept. for space at the health and civic center.
• Approved second reading of an ordinance reverting ownership of Larison Road back to Rumpke.

A three-member committee recommended that the county do so.
• Approved a Montgomery County Regional Jail adult detention agreement with Powell County.

This would allow the MCRJ to house inmates temporarily at the Powell County facility if an emergency were to occur, Jailer Eric Jones said.
• Approved the county clerk’s claim for preparing tax bills.
• Approved second readings of budget amendments affecting the general and road funds.

The court will meet again in regular session 2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, in the fiscal courtroom at the Courthouse Annex. The Fiscal Court also holds workshops the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 10 a.m. in the conference room at the judge-executive’s office.
Meetings are open to the public.