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Violation Procedure

Illegal DumpingInoperative VehicleOvergrown Lot 

Bringing Properties into Compliance

When a code violation exists on a property, the code compliance officer contacts the person in charge of the property, usually by mail or with a door hanger, and advises them of the code violation. Depending on the gravity of the violation, either a courtesy notice or a notice of violation is issued, also with a possible attempt to verbally contact the owner. Violations involving abandoned vehicles, occupancy overcrowding, trash accumulation and illegal dumping are zero tolerance violations and are immediately processed with a notice of violation.

The initial amount of time usually given to bring a property into compliance is ten days, per the violation notice. There are, however, three exceptions to this standard: a repeat violation; a violation which presents imminent danger to public health or safety; and a violation that is irreparable or irreversible in nature, such as occupancy overcrowding.

After a notice of violation has been issued, and the time allowed to bring the property into compliance has expired, the officer will initiate a hearing before the special magistrate. At this hearing the officer will present the case and explain why the property is in violation. The person in charge of the property is also given an opportunity to present their side of the issue and cross-examine the code officer. If the town prevails in prosecuting the case, an administrative fee is assessed and a possible fine of up to $1,000.00 for each day the property remains in violation could be assessed against the property owner.  (A repeat violator can be fined up to $5,000.00 per day, and if the violation is considered irreparable or irreversible, a one-time fine of up to $15,000.00 can be assessed.)

Once the time given for compliance has expired, a lien for the amount due is filed with the Clerk of the Court as soon thereafter as possible. The lien can stay in effect for 20 years before it expires, and if the property is not homesteaded, foreclosure proceedings can be initiated by the town within the year following the filing of the lien.