Unhealthy Conditions

The City's Code of Ordinances concerning unhealthy, unsanitary conditions states:

Sec. 38-116. - Sanitary condition of premises generally.

It shall be the duty of every owner of any building, lot, grounds or yard or any other place in the city to keep such place free from unwholesome matter; stagnant water; any condition likely to produce disease; filth; carrion; trash; rubbish; impure matter; objectionable matter; or unsanitary matter of whatever nature.

(Code 1991, § 11-206)

Sec. 38-117. - Weeds, rubbish, etc.

  1. The owner of any developed lot or lots within the city shall keep such lots free from weeds, grass and brush over 12 inches in height, except where such lots contain or are near residential structures in which case such lots shall be kept free from weeds, grass or brush over six inches in height for a distance of at least 100 feet from such structures.
  2. The owner of any undeveloped lot or lots, or tracts of land within the city shall keep such lots free from weeds, grass and brush over 18 inches in height for a distance of 50 feet from a residential structure or occupied commercial structure, or 25 feet from the property line of the property upon which such residential structure or occupied commercial structure is located, whichever is greater.
  3. All lots and land within the city developed or undeveloped shall be kept free from rubbish and any and all other objectionable, unsightly or unsanitary matter of whatsoever nature.
  4. As used in this section, the term "developed lot or lots" shall mean any property within a subdivision or addition to the city that was platted after January 1, 1920, regardless of whether or not such plat of such subdivision or addition is recorded in the real property records of the county.

(Code 1991, § 11-207)

Sec. 38-118. - Deposits on public property; drainage obstructions.

It shall be unlawful for any person to place garbage, boxes, trash, rubbish, waste matter, refuse matter, weeds, grass, or papers, or obstructions of any sort, in any gutter, drain or sewer in the city or in any street, alley or easement thereof. The presence of such matter in or upon any street, alley or public place shall be held to constitute a violation of this section on the part of the owner or occupant whose premises abuts the street, alley or public place on which such matter is permitted to remain for longer than 24 hours.

(Code 1991, § 11-208)

Sec. 38-119. - Dead animals.

The carcass of any animal dead of disease or other cause not slaughtered for food shall be removed and/or disposed of by the owner, if known, and if not known, the owner of the premises where such animal is found, at his own expense within 24 hours after such death, by such method as may be approved of by the health officer.

(Code 1991, § 11-209)

Cross reference— Animals, ch. 14.

Sec. 38-120. - Remedying unsanitary, unsightly, etc., condition on premises—Order and notice to owner or occupant.

  1. If the owner of property does not comply with a requirement under this division within seven days of notice of a violation, the city may:
    1. Do the work or make the improvements required; and
    2. Pay for the work done or improvements made and charge the expenses to the owner of the property.
  2. The notice must be given as follows:
    1. Personally to the owner in writing;
    2. By letter addressed to the owner at the owner's address as recorded in the appraisal district records of the appraisal district in which the property is located; or
    3. If personal service cannot be obtained by:
      1. Publication at least once;
      2. Posting the notice on or near the front door of each building on the property to which the violation relates; or
      3. Posting the notice on a placard attached to a stake driven into the ground on the property to which the violation relates.
  3. If the notice was mailed to a property owner in accordance with subsection (b) of this section, and the United States Postal Service returns the notice as "refused" or "unclaimed", the validity of the notice is not affected, and the notice is considered as delivered.
  4. In a notice provided under this section, the city may inform the owner by regular mail and a posting on the property, or by personally delivering the notice, that if the owner commits another violation of the same kind or nature that poses a danger to the public health and safety on or before the first anniversary of the date of the notice, the city without further notice may correct the violation at the owner's expense and assess the expense against the property. If a violation covered by a notice under this subsection occurs within the one-year period, and the city has not been informed in writing by the owner of an ownership change, then the city without notice may take any action permitted by subsections (a)(1) and (2) of this section and assess its expenses as provided by section 38-121

(Code 1991, § 11-210)

State law reference— Similar provisions, V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code § 342.006.

Sec. 38-121. - Same—Failure of owner or occupant to remedy condition.

  1. It is unlawful for any owner or occupant to willfully refuse to remedy any condition referred to in section 38-120, after notice thereof as provided in such section.
  2. Upon such failure, the health officer shall report to the city council, and it may order such work done by the city, or cause the work to be done by a private contractor. If a private contractor is used, the city shall pay therefore. Any expense the city has incurred in doing or having such work done or improvements made, as heretofore set out, shall be charged to the owner or occupant of such property. The expenses shall be billed with the tax statement to the owner or occupant. In addition, the expenses thereof may be assessed against the real estate, or lot or lots upon which such expense is incurred. This shall be done by filing with the county clerk a statement of such expenses, signed by the mayor or health officer, as provided for in V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code § 342.007. The city shall have a privileged lien upon such property second only to tax liens and liens for street improvements to secure the expenditure so made and ten percent interest on the amount from the date of such work. The city may institute suit and recover such expense and foreclose such lien in any court of competent jurisdiction and the statement so filed with the county clerk or a certified copy thereof shall be prima facie proof of the amount expended in any such work or improvements to remedy such condition or remove any such matter. This section is cumulative of all other ordinances on the same subject.

(Code 1991, § 11-211)