Hayden to enforce nuisance ordinance starting today
30 notices to be sent out for excessive weeds; rule took effect April 1
June 30, 2010
Steamboat Springs — Staring today, Hayden will issue about 30 notices to property owners who are not in compliance with the town's nuisance ordinance for excessive weeds.
Hayden Town Manager Russ Martin said property owners who receive notices will have 10 days to comply. After that, he said they could face a $35 citation and the cost to remove the weeds plus 20 percent. It's all part of a revamped nuisance ordinance passed by the Town Council this spring.
"If they take care of it, then there will no cost to them. It will be nothing," he said. "It's a reminder that the weeds are overgrown. They probably know that, just need the extra push to make that happen."
Martin said areas of town with overgrown weeds include subdivisions, industrial lots and residential lots in vacant subdivisions. He said some property owners who have had issues in the past already have taken care of the problem.
The Town Council in March adopted an amended ordinance, which took effect April 1. It allows the town to impose fines on residents who violate sections of the Hayden Municipal Code relating to alarm systems, garbage and refuse, and weeds and brush.
The ordinance includes an administrative citation process, which allows residents to file complaints with Hayden and town employees to follow up on those complaints or issue citations through the authority of the town manager's office. Before the amendment, the responsibility of issuing notices and writing citations fell to the Hayden Police Department.
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"Right now, because of all the cutbacks and stuff in the police department and all the town employees, it gives more flexibility to whoever has the time to do it," Hayden Mayor Lorraine Johnson said about the process. "Instead of having to call the police department and file a complaint, any one person in the town of Hayden, the way it's written, can file a complaint as a nuisance."
Martin said the amended ordinance also is intended to help the town address overgrown weeds on properties of owners who don't live in Hayden or on rental properties.
In the past, the ordinance required police to hand deliver a notice. Martin said town staff members will attempt to issue notices in person, but they now can send them by mail, as well.
"They can't be absentee landowners in Hayden," he said. "They have to take responsibility. That's no longer tolerated in the town. That has to be taken care of if you want to live in Hayden."
The amended ordinance also allows property owners to appeal within five days if they've been issued a notice. He said it costs $50 plus a $200 deposit to cover court costs. If a property owner wins an appeal, Martin said there would be no cost.
Martin said continued nuisance violations could result in citations of as much as $150 per calendar year, in addition to billing property owners, or the town imposing a lien on the property or pursuing criminal prosecution as final options.
And Martin added that it's not only the responsibility of property owners to trim their weeds. He said the town also is working to address issues on its properties.