City of Rolla, Missouri
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Rolla, MO 65401

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Chapter 28 - Nuisances

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Chapter Contents:

Article I - In General

Article II - Weeds and Other Rank Vegetation


Article I - In General

Sec. 28-1. Maintenance, etc., of nuisances prohibited.

No person shall cause, maintain or permit, on premises owned or controlled by him, a nuisance, as defined by the laws of this State or by this Chapter.

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Sec. 28-2. Nuisances enumerated.

The following things are hereby declared to be nuisances; provided, that such listing shall not be deemed exclusive:

  1. Carcasses of animals remaining exposed more than six hours after death.

  2. Ashes, slops, filth, excrement, stones, straw, soot, rubbish, manure, offal, stagnant water, all sorts of decaying animal matter, decaying fruit or vegetables or other vegetable matter, broken kitchenware, wrecked or parts of worn out automobiles or other machines, scrap iron or other metals, tin cans, old bottles, broken glass, discarded wearing apparel, dead animals, or any other offensive or disagreeable substance or thing, old dilapidated barns, sheds or other buildings left, deposited or caused or permitted to remain, left or deposited in such quantity or in such condition as to be offensive to the sight or smell or a menace to health, safety, peace or comfort or of such a nature as to be or become harbors or breeding places for mosquitoes, ants, flies, rats, mice or other insects, animals or vermin, whether left or deposited upon private premises owned, occupied or controlled by persons causing or permitting the same or upon any public street, sidewalk, alley, parkway, public enclosure or vacant lot; all water, steam and condensation drained from, emitted from or thrown upon a sidewalk, parkway, alley or street from any place occupied by a commercial or business structure or any appurtenances thereto belonging. Also, the creation of dust by the operation of motor vehicles, racing cars, rides, or other motor driven contrivances where the dust is carried beyond the borders of the property whereon the above enumerated vehicles may be operated in such quantities as to interfere with reasonable enjoyment of any property in the neighborhood.

  3. Factories, slaughterhouses and all places of business causing an offensive odor to a greater extent than is reasonably necessary in the prosecution or carrying on of such business.

  4. Garbage deposited otherwise than in suitable containers for removal by the city.

  5. Green or unsalted hides kept in an exposed or open place.

  6. Hog pens.

  7. Shrubs, hedges and limbs of trees projecting over a sidewalk or street at a height of less than ten (10) feet.

  8. Privies in an overflowing, leaking or filthy condition.

  9. Ponds and pools of unclean water.

  10. The rendering, heating or steaming of any animal or vegetable product or substance in such a manner as to cause disagreeable odors off the premises.

  11. Stables, stalls, sheds, pens or yards in which any horses or cattle have been kept which are in an unclean condition.

  12. All substances or things which cause an odor disagreeable to the surrounding neighborhood.

  13. No person shall permit any junked or abandoned vehicle to be stored or parked on any premise occupied by or owned by the person, except inside an enclosed building or garage. A vehicle shall be considered junked or abandoned if it is not in operable condition for a consecutive period of 30 days. Vehicles that are being restored by the owner shall not fall within said definition provided said restoration is in progress on a continuous basis and the owner establishes a date for completion of such work. After the completion date, if such vehicle is not operable, it shall be deemed junked and subject the owner to the requirements of this Section. (Ord. 1385, §1; Ord. 2060, §1; Ord. 2545, §1)

  14. It shall be unlawful for the owner or occupant of a structure or property to utilize the exterior premises of such property for the open storage of any junk vehicle parts, appliances, furniture (excluding garden or patio furniture intended for outdoor use and barbeque grills), building demolition rubbish, boxed or bagged household waste, or any other similar items. For the purpose of this section, open storage shall be defined to include all storage on the premises which is not inside an enclosed building. This includes storage on porches, storage under open carports or breezeways, storage in open garages not equipped with a door, storage inside yards or similar areas visible from the public right-of-way. (Ord. 3968, §1)

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Sec. 28-3. Notice to owner to abate or remove nuisances.

Whenever the city council, or its designated officer, shall ascertain or have knowledge that a nuisance exists in or upon any house or premises in the city, such council or its designated officer, shall, by written notice, notify the person occupying or having possession or the right to possession of such house or premises to abate or remove such nuisance within the time to be specified in such notice, provided, that if such house or premises is not occupied and the owners having the right of possession are nonresidents, the council, or its designated officer, shall notify the nonresident owners by posting a notice of such request to abate or remove such nuisance within a time to be specified in such notice upon such house or premises and by sending a copy of such notice by mail to the last known address of the nonresident owners. Receipt or acknowledgement of notification is not required.

No person notified as provided in this Section shall fail, neglect or refuse to comply with the same within the time specified in such notice. For every day thereafter that such person shall fail, neglect or refuse to comply with the same and for every day thereafter that such person shall fail, neglect or refuse to abate or remove such nuisance, he shall be deemed guilty of a separate offense and shall be proceeded against as in the first instance. (Ord. 1385, §1; Ord. 2728, §1; Ord. 2758, §2; Ord. 3527, §1)

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Sec. 28-4. Authority of police, etc., to enter premises, etc., for purpose of removing or abating nuisances.

Police officers and other employees of the city authorized by the city council or the chief of police are hereby authorized and required to go, in the daytime, in and upon any house, building, lot or premises, whether public or private, for the purpose of removing or abating any nuisance, when abatement of a nuisance is ordered under the provisions of this Chapter. (Ord. 1385, §1.)

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Sec. 28-5. City may abate nuisances when owner fails to do so - Duties of City Council.

If the person notified as provided in this Section shall fail, neglect or refuse to comply with the same within the time specified in such notice, the codes administrator or designated officer shall abate such nuisance provided the cost of such not exceed $1,000.00. If the estimated cost of abatement of the nuisance is in excess of the amount thus established, the codes administrator or designated officer shall report the same to the council of the city. Thereupon the council shall call and have a full and adequate hearing upon the matter, giving the affected parties at least fourteen days written notice of the hearing. At such hearing, any party may be represented by counsel, and all parties shall have an opportunity to be heard.

After the hearing, if the evidence supports a finding based upon competent and substantial evidence that a nuisance exists, that the person having an interest was notified, and that the person failed to abate the nuisance, the city council shall issue an order based upon its findings of fact to the codes administrator or its designated officer to proceed to abate the nuisance. (Ord. 1385, §1; Ord. 2728, §2; Ord 3527, §1)

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Sec. 28-6. Same - Cost to be lien against property.

If the codes administrator or its designated official as provided in Section 28-5 whereby the nuisance is abated by the city, the costs of the abatement and a reasonable charge for administering the provisions of Sections 28-1 to 28-6 not less than one hundred dollars, shall be certified to the city clerk who shall cause a special tax bill therefore against the property to be prepared and collected by the Finance Director. The tax bill from the date of its issuance shall be deemed a personal debt against the owner and and shall also be a lien on the property until paid. If the certified cost is not paid, the tax bill shall be considered delinquent, and the collection of the delinquent bill shall be governed by the laws governing delinquent and back taxes. (Ord. 2728, §3; Ord. 3527, §1; Ord. 3986, §3)

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Secs. 28-7 to 28-10. Reserved.

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Article II - Weeds and Other Rank Vegetation

Sec. 28-11. High weeds, etc., declared menace to public health, safety and welfare.

The presence of high weeds, brush and profusely growing (rank) vegetation taller than ten (10) inches in height, excluding shade trees, ornamental shrubs, fruit trees, domesticated berry bushes and vines, cultivated flowers and gardens, cover crops and domestic grains and plantings on lots and pieces of land within the City, that constitute a menace to the public safety, health and welfare by reasons that such conditions may:

  1. Cause a fire hazard.

  2. Furnish cover for prowlers and illegal activities.

  3. Create shelters and breeding places for rodents, disease carrying insects, poisonous snakes, and other vermin.

  4. Result in the aggravation of allergies.

  5. Obstruct visibility at street intersections.

(Ord. 3782, §1; Ord. 4105 §1)

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Sec. 28-12. City council or designated officer to determine when weeds, etc., constitute public nuisance.

The growth of weeds, brush or rank vegetation shall constitute a public nuisance when, in the opinion of the City Council, or its designated officer, any such growth on a lot or piece of land may substantially endanger the health, safety or welfare of the public, having considered the hazards enumerated in Section 28-2, with the following exceptions:

  1. All lots or parcels zoned "R-R" (rural residential district).

  2. All undeveloped lots, parcels or right-of-way owned by the City of Rolla and dedicated for park and open space use, as bird sanctuaries, riparian corridors, detention basins, or as dedicated but undeveloped public right-of-way.

(Ord. 1385, §1; Ord. 3782, §2; Ord. 4105 §1)

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Sec. 28-13. Weeds, etc., over ten inches in height declared nuisance per se.

The growth of weeds, brush or other rank vegetation in excess of ten (10) inches in height is declared to be a public nuisance, per se, detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of the public. (Ord. 3527, §1; Ord. 4105 §1)

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Sec. 28-14. Permitting growth of high weeds, etc., prohibited.

It shall be unlawful for any property owner, lessee, or agent in control of any lot or piece of land where development has occurred on at least three (3) abutting sides (including developed streets), to allow weeds, brush, or rank vegetation to attain a height greater than ten (10) inches on such land, or lot. It shall be unlawful for any property owner, lessee, or agent in control of any lot or piece of land adjoining a developed street to allow weeds, brush, or rank vegetation to attain a height greater than ten (10) inches within ten (10) feet of any curb or street edge and five (5) feet from any other abutting developed parcel or lot. In addition to the street frontage maintenance requirement of ten (10) feet, undeveloped subdivisions that have been cleared or “brush hogged” shall be maintained in that condition until further development occurs.  (Ord. 2860, §2; Ord. 3527, §1; Ord. 3782, §3; Ord. 4105 §1)

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Sec. 28-15. Duty of owner, etc., to abate weeds, etc.

It shall be unlawful for any owner, lessee or agent in control of a lot or piece of land to permit such a growth of weeds, brush or rank vegetation as would constitute a nuisance under the terms of this Article.  It shall be such owner's, lessee's or agent's duty to abate such nuisance, if it exists.  A failure to abate shall be unlawful. The requirement to abate the nuisance shall be satisfied when such lot or piece of land determined by the City Council or its designated officer to be in violation of this Article shall have been cut to a distance of a minimum of ten (10) feet from the front curb or street edge and a minimum of five (5) feet from all other boundaries of the lot or piece of land.  (Ord. 3782, §4; Ord. 4105 §1)

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Sec. 28-16. Notice to owner to abate weeds, etc.

Whenever the city council, or its designated officer, is informed and believes that a nuisance, per se, exists under Section 28-13, or whenever the council or its designated officer, shall be of the opinion that a nuisance exists as provided by Section 28-12, the council, or such designated officer, shall cause to be posted a notice containing an order to abate the nuisance on the land where such nuisance exists, and shall cause a copy of such notice to be sent to the last known address of the owner. Receipt or acknowledgement of notification is not required. If the nuisance is not abated within the period of time determined by the council, or its designated officer, from the date the notice is posted or sent, then the council, or its designated officer, shall cause such nuisance to be abated by whatever reasonable means are necessary.  (Ord. 1385, §1; Ord. 3527, §1; Ord. 4105 §1)

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Sec. 28-17. Owner of land liable for cost of cutting weeds.

If the Codes Administrator or its designated official as provided in Section 28-16 whereby the cutting and removing weeds, brush and other rank vegetation is abated by the city, the costs of the abatement and a reasonable charge for administering the provisions of Sections 28-11 to 28-17 not less than fifty dollars, shall be certified to the City Clerk who shall cause a special tax bill therefore against the property to be prepared and collected by the Finance Director. The tax bill from the date of its issuance shall be deemed a personal debt against the owner and shall also be a lien on the property until paid. If the certified cost is not paid, the tax bill shall be considered delinquent, and the collection of the delinquent bill shall be governed by the laws governing delinquent and back taxes.

(Ord. 1385, §1; Ord. 3527, §1; Ord. 3782, §5, 3986, §4; Ord. 4105 §1)

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Secs. 28-18 to 28-22. Reserved.

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