Health Safety and Nuisances

Note: For the Sanitary Code of Texas, see VACS Article 4477. Among other things this Code prescribes powers and duties of city health authorities regarding quarantine and disinfection. For state law relating to sanitation and health protection generally, see VACS Article 4477-1. Section 2 of this article defines certain health nuisances, and § 3 prescribes abatement procedures.

 

Article 1. Nuisances Generally

 

Section 10-1. Certain nuisances defined.

(a) All dead, decaying, or putrid carcasses, flesh, fish or vegetable deposits, or manure; foul or unwholesome substance of any kind or description; all filthy or unhealthy water or slops when thrown or conducted upon any street or alley or enclosure so as to be unwholesome; all privies and slaughter houses that have become offensive from use; all markets, cellars, or outbuildings or places which are not kept clean from all filth and unwholesome substance; all deposits of substance that are liable to become offensive or liable to engender disease; any lot retaining water until it stagnates; all trash, excelsior, cans, cardboard, boxes, or other articles unsightly or obstructing any street or alley of the City of White Deer, are hereby declared a nuisance and are liable to be abated. (Ordinance of 10-6-30, § 1.)

 

Section 10-2. Penalty.

(a) Any person who shall in this City, cause or create any such nuisance or allow the same to exist upon his property or on property under his control shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and his punishment fixed as a fine of not more than maximum amount as established by State law for a Class C misdemeanor; and each and every day that such nuisance exists shall constitute a separate offense. (Ordinance of 10-6-30, § 2.)

 

Article 2. Weeds and Grass

 

Section 10-11. Unlawful to permit growth over 10 inches.

(a) It shall hereafter be unlawful for the owner, lessee, tenant, or person in control of any real property to permit any growth of weeds or grass to a height of over ten inches. (Ordinance of 7-12-65, § 1.)

 

Section 10-12. “Person in control” defined.

(a) All persons, firms, or corporations who own, look after, rent, lease, or collect rent or revenue for or upon any such real property shall be deemed “person in control of real property” within the City within the meaning of section 10-11 hereof. (Ordinance of 7-12-65, § 2.)

 

Section 10-13. Failure to observe section 10-1 and 10-2.

(a) Upon the failure of any person, firm, or corporation to observe the provisions of this article, the City Council may give the owner, lessee, tenant, or person in control of the property, upon which the weeds or grass are growing, seven days notice by registered mail, or in person, or by one publication thereof in the official publication of the City of White Deer, or by posting such notice on the property in violation. The notice shall provide that unless the owner, lessee, tenant, or person in control of the property shall cause the weeds or grass to be cut down within seven days from the date thereof, the City Council will cause the weeds to be cut, and a lien shall be created against the property for the expenses thereof; and if at the expiration of the seven days notice the owner, lessee, tenant, or person in control has not complied with the notice, the City Council shall cause the nuisance to be abated at the expense of the owner, and the expenses shall be taxed and shall be a lien against the real property. Nothing in this section shall be construed to exempt from punishment any person, firm, or corporation who shall violate any of the provisions of this article hereof. (Ordinance of 7-12-65, § 3 and amended with this code.)

 

Section 10-14. Penalty.

(a) Any person, firm, or corporation who shall violate any provision of this article shall be guilty of a Class C misdemeanor, and upon a conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not to exceed the maximum fine as established by State law for a Class C misdemeanor and each day the violation shall continue. (Ordinance of 7-12-65, § 4.)

 

Article 3. Regulation of Junk Vehicles

 

Section 10-20. Definitions.

(a) Antique Vehicle – A passenger car or truck that is at least twenty-five (25) years old.

(b) City Marshal – City Marshal of the City of White Deer or any duly commissioned police officer of the City of White Deer.

(c) Junked Vehicle – A motor vehicle that is self-propelled and inoperable, to include watercraft which are subject to registration under Chapter 31 Parks and Wildlife Code.

  1. Does not have lawfully attached to it, an unexpired license plate and valid motor vehicle inspection certificate.
  2. Is wrecked, dismantled or partially dismantled, or discarded, or
  3. Has remained inoperable for
  4. 72 consecutive hours if the vehicle is located on public property, or
  5. 30 consecutive days if the vehicle is located on private property.

 

The term “junked vehicle” does not include a vehicle or part thereof, which is completely enclosed within a building in a lawful manner where it is not visible from the street or other public on private property. A vehicle or part thereof which is stored or parked in a lawful manner on private property in connection with the business of a licensed vehicle dealer or junkyard, or an unlicensed, operable or inoperable antique and special interest vehicle stored by a collector on

his property, provided that the vehicle and the outdoor storage area are maintained in such a manner that they do not constitute a health hazard and are screened from ordinary public view by means of a fence, rapidly growing tree, shrubbery or other appropriate means.

(d) Motor Vehicle Collector – A person who owns one or more antique or special interest vehicles, and acquires, collects, or disposes of an antique or special interest vehicle or part of an antique or special interest vehicle for personal use to restore and preserve an antique or special interest vehicle for historic interest.

(e) Special Interest Vehicle – A motor vehicle of any age that has not been changed from original manufacturers specifications and, because of its historic interest, is being preserved by a hobbyist.

 

Section 10-25. Unlawful to create or maintain such nuisance.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any individual, company or corporation to leave or permit to remain upon public or private property (except as provided for in the Texas Transportation Code, Chapter 683) within the City of White Deer, Texas, any junked vehicle or parts or portion thereof, for any period of time in excess of ten (10) days.

 

Section 10-26. Notice by City Marshal or Code Compliance Officer of White Deer, Texas.

(a) Whenever it is brought to the attention or the City Marshal or Code Compliance Officer of the City of White Deer, Texas finds that a nuisance, as defined herein exists in the City of White Deer, the City Marshal or Code Compliance Officer shall give or cause to be given to the person maintaining or suspected of maintaining said nuisance:

  1. Notice shall be in writing.
  2. State the nature of the public nuisance and that it must be removed and abated within ten (10) days after the date of mailing or personal service of notice.
  3. State that a request for a hearing to determine whether or not the motor vehicle is a junked motor vehicle as defined herein must be made to the White Deer Municipal Court, either in person or in writing and without the requirement of bond, before expiration of said ten (10) day period.
  4. State that in the event that no request for a hearing is received before the expiration of said ten (10) day period it shall be conclusively presumed that said vehicle is a junked vehicle as defined under state law and this subsection.
  5. The order must be mailed, by certified mail with a five (5) day return request, to the last known registered owner of the junked motor vehicle, any lien holder of record, and to the owner or occupant of the premises on which the public nuisance exists. If the post office address of the last known registered owner of the junked motor vehicle is unknown, notice to the last known registered owner may be placed on the motor vehicle, or if the last known registered owner is physically located. The notice may be hand delivered. If any notice is returned undelivered by the United States Post Office, official action to abate the nuisance shall be continued to a date not earlier than the eleventh (11) day after the date of the return.
  6. A public hearing shall be had prior to the removal of the vehicle or part thereof as a public nuisance. The hearing shall be held before the Municipal Judge of the City of White Deer. If the owner or occupant of the premises does not request a public Hearing and either fails or refuses to comply with the order of the City Marshal or Code Compliance Officer within the ten (10) day period after service thereof, as provided herein, the City Marshal, Code Compliance Officer or his delegate shall take possession of such junked motor vehicle and remove it from the premises upon the issuance of an appropriate order of the judge of the municipal court.

 

Section 10-27. Duty of the owner.

(a) It shall be the duty of the owner or his agents or the occupant of any lot, or place of any kind in this city where any nuisance may exist, to remove, abate the same without delay

 

Section 10-28. Duty of the City Marshal or Code Compliance Officer.

(a) It shall be the duty of the City Marshal or any duly commissioned police officer or Code Compliance Officer who may be cognizant of any nuisance, to make a complaint against the author thereof before the Municipal Court

 

Section 10-29. Officers Non-compliance, penalty.

(a) Any officer mentioned in this Article failing to comply with the provisions of this Article shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and neglect of official duty, and upon a conviction thereof, shall be fined in the sum not to exceed the maximum fine established by State law.

 

Section 10-30. Notice to owner; unoccupied premises.

(a) Whenever any such junked vehicle is located on unoccupied premises within the city in violation of the Junk Vehicle Code, the City Marshal or Code Compliance Officer shall order the owner of the premises, as shown on the current tax rolls of the city whereon such public nuisance exists, to abate or remove the same. Such order shall contain the same information as for the order required under Section 10-26.

Section 10-31. Notice to owner; public property or public right-of-way.

(a) Whenever any such junked vehicle is located on public property or on public right-of-way within the city in violation of this Article, the City Marshal or Code Compliance Officer shall order the owner or occupant of the premises adjacent to the public right-of-way whereupon said public nuisance exists, to abate of remove the same. Such order shall contain the same information as for the order required under Section 1-3.

 

Section 10-32. Visible notice to abate nuisance.

(a) At the time a junked vehicle is located by the City Marshal on either occupied or unoccupied private of public property or public right-of-way, in addition to any other notices required herein, a visible notice should be securely affixed to such vehicle. Such notice shall:

  1. State that the vehicle is a public nuisance and that it must be removed and abated within ten (10) days from the date on such notice.
  2. State that a request for a hearing to determine whether or not the motor vehicle is a junked motor vehicle as defined herein must be made to the municipal court, either in person or in writing and without the requirement of bond before the expiration of said ten (10) day period.
  3. Shall state that in the event that no request for a hearing is received before the expiration of said ten (10) day period, it shall be conclusively presumed that said vehicle is a junked vehicle as defined under state law and this subsection.

 

Section 10-33. Visible notice not a condition or requirement.

(a) Affixing the notice set out herein shall not be condition or requirement precedent to any proceeding or official action to abate such public nuisance and such proceeding or action shall not be rendered void or avoidable nor in any way affected by failure to affix the visible notice prescribed herein.

 

Section 10-34. Expiration period.

(a) In the event the ten (10) day period set out on the visible notice is different from that prescribed in any other notice served as provided for herein, then official action or proceedings to abate such public nuisance shall not be commenced until after the expiration of both periods of time.

 

Section 10-35. Public Hearing: Finding and orders of Judge.

(a) The owner or occupant of any premises on which a junked vehicle is located may, within ten (10) days after service of a notice to abate said nuisance, request of the municipal court of the city, either in person or in writing, and without the requirement of the bond, that a date and time be set when he may appear before the judge of the municipal court for a hearing to determine whether or not the motor vehicle is a junked motor vehicle.

(b) The judge of the municipal court shall hear any case brought before such court as set out herein, and shall determine by a preponderance of the evidence whether or not the motor vehicle is a junked motor vehicle and in violation of this subsection. At the hearing, the motor vehicle is presumed, unless demonstrated other-wise by the owner, to be inoperable. Upon finding that such motor vehicle is in violation of this subsection, the judge of such court shall order such defendant to remove and abate such nuisance within ten (10) days, the same being a reasonable time. If the defendant shall fail and refuse, within such ten (10) days, to abate or remove the nuisance, the judge of the municipal court may issue an order directing the City Marshal or Code Compliance Officer to have the same removed, and the City Marshal, Code Compliance Officer or his delegate shall take possession of such junked motor vehicle and remove it from the premises. Such order shall include a description of the vehicle, and the current identification number and license number of the vehicle, if available at the site. Notice of any hearing set under this subsection shall be delivered to the City Marshal or Code Compliance Officer.

 

Section 10-36. Abatement under court order.

(a) If there is a junked motor vehicle, as herein defined, on premises that are Occupied or Unoccupied, and:

  1. Neither the owner nor the occupant of the premises can be found and notified to remove same, or
  2. The notice required by this Article is returned undelivered by the U.S. Post Office and ten (10) days after the return of such notice the nuisance has not been abated, then upon a showing of such facts the judge of the municipal court, the court may issue an order directing the City Marshal or Code Compliance Officer to have the same removed, and the City Marshal, Code Compliance Officer or his delegate shall take possession of such junked motor vehicle and remove it from the premises.

 

Sec 10-37. Notice to the Texas Department of Transportation.

(a) Notice shall be given to the Texas Department of Transportation that a junked vehicle has been impounded within five (5) days after the removal of the junked motor vehicle as provided in this subsection, identifying the vehicle or part thereof impounded.

 

Section 10-38. Disposition of Impounded Junked Vehicles.

(a) The City Marshal or his delegate shall dispose of all impounded junked vehicles in such a manner as the city council may designate, consistent with the state law, provided such vehicle shall not be reconstructed or made operable. Disposal may be by removal or sale, with or without competitive bidding, to a scrap yard or demolisher.

 

Section 10-39. Penalty.

  • Any person who shall violate the terms and provisions stated herein shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of not less that twenty-five dollars ($25.00), and not to exceed the maximum fine established by State law.

Section 10-40: Relocation of a Junked Vehicle to Avoid Abatement.

  • The mere relocation of a junked vehicle to another location within the corporate City limits after a proceeding for the abatement or removal of the public nuisance has commenced has not effect on the proceeding, if the junked vehicle constitutes a public nuisance at the new location.

 

Article 4. Unsafe Buildings.

Section 10.4101. Definitions.

(a) Responsible Party. The owner, occupant, or person in custody of the building or structure.

(b) Unsafe Building. Any building or structure in or about which any or all of the following conditions exist:

  1. Walls or other vertical structural members list, lean, or buckle;
  2. Damage or deterioration exists to the extent that the building is unsafe;
  3. Loads on floors or roofs are improperly distributed or the floors or roofs are insufficient strength to be reasonably safe for the purposes used;
  4. Damage by fire, wind, or other cause has rendered the building or structure dangerous to life, safety, morals, or the general health and welfare of the occupants or the people of the city;
  5. The building or structure is so dilapidated, substandard, decayed, unsafe, unsanitary, or otherwise lacking in the amenities essential to the decent living that the same is unfit for human habitation or is likely to cause sickness, disease or injury or otherwise to constitute a detriment to the health, morals, safety, or general welfare of those persons assembled, working, or living therein or is a hazard to the public health, safety and welfare;
  6. Light, air, and sanitation facilities are inadequate to protect the health, morals, safety, or general welfare of persons who assemble, work, or live therein;
  7. Stairways, fire escapes, and other facilities of egress in case of fire or panic are inadequate;
  8. Parts or appendages of the building or structure are so attached that they are likely to fall and injure persons or property;
  9. Whenever any door, aisle, passageway, stairway or other means of exit is not of sufficient width or size or is not so arranged as to provide safe and adequate means of exit in case of fire or panic;
  10. Whenever the walking surface of any aisle, passageway, stairway or other means of exit is so warped, worn, loose, torn or otherwise unsafe as to not provide safe and adequate means of exit in case of fire or panic;
  11. Whenever the stress in any materials, member or portion thereof, due to all dead and live loads, is more than one half times the working stress or stresses allowed in the building code for new buildings of similar structure, purpose or location;
  12. Whenever any portion thereof has been damaged by fire, earthquake, wind, flood or by any other cause, to such an extent that the structural strength or stability thereof is materially less than it was before such catastrophe and is less than the minimum requirements of the building code for new buildings of similar structure, purpose or location;
  13. Whenever any portion or member or appurtenance thereof is likely to fail or to become detached or dislodged, or to collapse and thereby injure persons or damage property;
  14. Whenever any portion of a building, or any member, appurtenance or ornamentation on the exterior thereof is not of sufficient strength or stability, or is not so anchored, attached or fastened in place so as to be capable of resisting a wind pressure of one half of that specified in the building code for new buildings of similar structure, purpose or location without exceeding the working stresses permitted in the building code for such buildings;
  15. Whenever any portion thereof has wracked, warped, buckled or settled to such an extent that walls or other structural portions have materially less resistance to winds or earthquakes than is required in the case of similar new construction;
  16. Whenever the building or structure, or any portion thereof, because of:
  17. Dilapidation, deterioration, or decay;
  18. The removal, movement or instability of any portion of the ground necessary for the purpose of supporting such building;
  19. The deterioration, decay or inadequacy of its foundation; or
  20. Any other cause is likely to partially or completely collapse;
  21. Whenever, for any reason, the building or structure, or any portion thereof, is manifestly unsafe for the purpose for which it is being used;
  22. Whenever the exterior walls or other vertical structural members list, lean or buckle to such an extent that a plumb line passing through the center of gravity does not fall inside the middle one-third of the base;
  23. Whenever the building or structure, exclusive of the foundation, shows 33 percent or more damage or deterioration of its supporting member or members, or 50 percent damage or deterioration of its non-supporting members, enclosing or outside walls or coverings;

Whenever the building or structure has been so damaged by fire, wind, earthquake or flood, or has become as dilapidated or deteriorated as to become:

  1. An attractive nuisance to children;
  2. A harbor of vagrants, criminals or immoral persons; or as to
  3. Enable persons to resort thereto for the purpose of committing unlawful or immoral acts;
  4. Whenever any building or structure has been constructed, exists or is maintained in violation of any specific requirement or prohibition applicable to such building or structure provided by the building regulations of this jurisdiction, as specified in the Uniform and International Building Code, as adopted by the City of White Deer, or of any law or code of this state or jurisdiction relating to the condition, location or structure of buildings;
  5. Whenever any building or structure which, whether or not erected in accordance with all applicable laws and codes, has in any non-supporting part, member or portion less than 50 percent, or in any supporting part, member or portion less than 66 percent of the (A) strength, (B) fire-resisting qualities or characteristics, or (C) weather-resisting qualities or characteristics required by law in the case of a newly constructed building of like area, height and occupancy in the same location;
  6. Whether a building or structure, used or intended to be used for dwelling purposes, because of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, decay, damage, faulty construction or arrangement, inadequate light, air or sanitation facilities, or otherwise, is determined by the health officer to be unsanitary, unfit for human habitation or in such condition that is likely to cause sickness or disease;
  7. Whenever any building or structure, because of obsolescence, dilapidated condition, deterioration: damage, inadequate exits; lack of sufficient fire restrictive construction, faulty wiring, has connections or heating apparatus, or other cause, is determined by the fire marshal to be a fire hazard;
  8. Whenever any building or structure is in such condition as to constitute a public nuisance known to the common law or in the equity jurisprudence;
  9. Whenever any portion of a building or structure remains on a site after the demolition or destruction of the building or structure or whenever any building or structure is abandoned for a period in excess of six months so as to constitute such building or portion thereof air attractive nuisance or hazard to the public.
  10. A condition exists in violation of the standards set forth in subsection (b) which condition renders the building or structure unsafe, unsanitary, or otherwise detrimental to the health, safety, morals, or welfare of the people of the city.
  11. The minimum standards prescribed in the Building Code adopted by the City of White Deer and as prescribed by this article apply to use and occupancy of all buildings in the city regardless of the date of their construction. A responsible party may continue to use and occupy any building located within the city; regardless of the date said building was constructed if such building meets the applicable minimum standards for buildings as prescribed in the adopted Building Code of the City of White Deer and is not in violation of this article.

 

Section 10.4102. Unsafe Buildings Declared to be a Nuisance.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to maintain or permit the existence of any unsafe building in the city; and it shall be unlawful for any person to permit same to remain in such condition.

(b) All unsafe buildings are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be abated by repair, rehabilitation, demolition, or removal in accordance with the procedures provided in this article.

(c) The building official shall enforce the provisions of this article.

 

Section 10.4103. Inspection of Buildings.

(a) The building official shall inspect, or cause to be inspected, every building or portion thereof reported to be unsafe. If such building or any portion thereof is determined to be unsafe, the building official shall give the responsible party notice in accordance with the requirements set forth in Sections 10.4104 and 10.4105 of this article.

 

Section 10.4104. Notice.

(a) Whenever the building official determines that a building is unsafe, he or she shall give notice of such determination to the responsible party. Such notice shall:

  1. Be in writing;
  2. Identify the specific conditions upon which such determination was based;
  3. Specify the corrective measures required;
  4. Provide a reasonable time for compliance;
  5. Advise the responsible party that there will be a public hearing conducted before the Planning and Zoning Board of Adjustment whether a building complies with the standards set out in Section 10.4101 as hereinabove set forth. Said notice shall inform the responsible party of the date, time and place of the hearing;
  6. Be served upon the responsible party as set out in this article.

 

Section 10.4105. Sufficiency of Notice.

(a) Notice given pursuant to this article shall be deemed properly served upon the responsible party if a copy thereof is:

  1. Served upon him personally;
  2. Sent by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to the last known address of such person as shown on the records of the city; or
  3. Posted in a conspicuous place in or about the building affected by the notice.

 

Section 10.4106. Public Hearing.

(a) The purpose of the public hearing is to determine whether or not the building is unsafe in accordance with the standards set forth in Section 10.4101.

(b) The matter shall be set for hearing by the Planning and Zoning Board of Adjustment at the earliest practicable date and notice of said hearing shall be served on the responsible party and the building official not less than ten (10) days prior to the date of said hearing. All interested persons shall have the opportunity to be heard and may introduce evidence to said board of adjustment for its members’ consideration.

(c) After the public hearing, the Planning and Zoning Board of Adjustment shall make such findings and recommendations to the City Council, as it shall deem appropriate.

(d) After the public hearing, if a building is found in violation of the standards set out in Section 10.4103 of this article, if recommended by the Planning and Zoning Board of Adjustment, the City Council may order that the building be vacated, secured, repaired, removed or demolished by the owner within a reasonable time. The City Council also may order that the occupants be relocated within a reasonable time. If the responsible party does not take the ordered action within the allotted time, the City Council shall make a diligent effort to discover each mortgagee and lien holder having an interest in the building or the property on which the building is located. The city secretary shall personally deliver or mail notice, certified mail return receipt requested, to each identified mortgagee and lien holder a notice containing:

  1. An identification, and address of the building and the property on which it is located;
  2. A description of the violation of the city building code or minimum standards established by this article that is present at the building; and
  3. A statement that the city will vacate, secure, remove, or demolish the building or relocate the occupants of the building if the ordered action is not taken within a reasonable time.

(e) As an alternative to the procedures prescribed in subsection (d) above, the Planning and Zoning Board of Adjustment shall make a diligent effort to discover each mortgagee and lien holder before conducting the public hearing and shall give them notice of and an opportunity to comment at the hearing. If the city proceeds under this subsection, the order issued by said city council shall specify a reasonable time for the building to be vacated, secured, repaired, removed or demolished by the responsible party or for the occupants to be relocated by the responsible party and an additional reasonable time for the ordered action to be taken by any of the mortgagees or lien holders in the event the responsible party fails to comply with the order within the time provided for action by the responsible party. Under this subsection, the city is not required to furnish any notice to a mortgagee or penholder other than a copy of the order in the event the responsible party fails to timely take the ordered action.

  1. Within 10 days after the date that the order is issued, the municipality shall:
  2. File a copy of the order in the office of the Municipal secretary or clerk; and
  3. Publish in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality;
  4. The street address or legal description of the property;
  5. The date of the hearing;
  6. A brief statement indicating the results of the order; and
  7. Instructions stating where a complete copy of the order may be obtained.

(f) After the City Council makes an order determined by the Planning and Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing and recommendation, the municipality shall promptly mail by certified mail, return receipt requested, or personally deliver a

copy of the order to the owner of the building and to any lien holder or mortgagee of the building. The municipality shall use its best efforts to determine the identity and address of any owner, lien holder, or mortgagee of the building.

(g) In conducting a hearing authorized under this section, the municipality shall require the owner, lien holder, or mortgagee of the building to within 30 days:

  1. Secure the building from unauthorized entry; or
  2. Repair, remove, or demolish the building, unless the owner or lien holder establishes at the hearing that the work cannot reasonably be performed within 30 days.

(h) If the municipality allows the owner, lien holder, or mortgagee more than 30 days to repair, remove, or demolish the building, the municipality shall establish specific time schedules for the commencement and performance of the work and shall require the owner, lien holder, or mortgagee to secure the property in a reasonable manner from unauthorized entry while the work is being performed, as determined by the hearing official.

(i) A municipality may not allow the owner, lien holder, or mortgagee more than 90 days to repair, remove, or demolish the building or fully perform all work required to comply with the order unless the owner, lien holder, or mortgagee:

  1. Submits a detailed plan and time schedule for the work at the hearing; and
  2. Establishes at the hearing that the work cannot reasonably be completed within 90 days because of the scope and complexity of the work.

(j) If the municipality allows the owner, lien holder, or mortgagee more than 90 days to complete any part of the work required to repair, remove, or demolish the building, the municipality shall require the owner, lien holder, or mortgagee to regularly submit progress reports to the municipality to demonstrate compliance with the time schedules established for commencement and performance of the work. The order may require that the owner, lien holder, or mortgagee appear before the hearing official or the hearing official’s designee to demonstrate compliance with the time schedules. If the owner, lien holder, or mortgagee owns property, including structures or improvements on property, within the municipal boundaries that exceeds $100,000 in total value, the municipality may require the owner, lien holder, or mortgagee to post a cash or surety bond in an amount adequate to cover the cost of repairing, removing, or demolishing a building under this subsection. In lieu of a bond, the municipality may require the owner, lien holder, or mortgagee to provide a letter of credit from a financial institution or a guaranty from a third party approved by the municipality. The bond must be posted, or the letter of credit or third party guaranty provided, not later than the 30th day after the date the municipality issues the order.

(k) In a public hearing to determine whether a building complies with the standards set out in an code adopted under this section, the owner, lien holder, or mortgagee has the burden of proof to demonstrate the scope of any work that may be required to comply with the code and the time it will take to reasonably perform the work.

(l) If a building is not vacated, secured, repaired, removed, or demolished, or the occupants are not relocated within the allotted time, the city may vacate, secure, remove, or demolish the building or relocate the occupants at its own expense.

(m)If the city incurs expenses under subsections (a, b, or f) of this section, the city may assess the expenses on and the city has a lien against, unless it is a homestead as protected by the Texas Constitution, the property on which the building was or is located. The lien is extinguished if the property owner or another person having interest in the legal right to the property reimburses the city for the expenses. The lien arises and attaches to the property at the time the notice of the lien is recorded and indexed in the office of the Carson County Clerk. The notice must contain the name and address of the owner if that information can be determined with a reasonable effort, a lega1 description of the real property on which the building was located, the amount of expenses incurred by the city, and the balance due.

(n) If the notice is given and the opportunity to repair, remove, or demolish the building is afforded to each mortgagee and lien holder as authorized, the lien is a privileged lien subordinate only to tax liens and all previously recorded bona fide mortgage liens attached to the real property to which the city’s lien attaches.

 

Section 10.4107. Judicial Review.

(a) Any owner, lien holder, or mortgagee of record of property jointly or severally aggrieved by an order of a municipality issued under this Section or Chapter 214.001 of the Local Government Code may file in district court a verified petition setting forth that the decision is illegal, in whole or in part, and specifying the grounds of the illegality. The petition must be filed by an owner, lien holder, or mortgagee within 30 calendar days after the respective dates a copy of the final decision of the municipality is personally delivered or mailed to them by first class mail, certified return receipt requested, or such decision shall become final as to each of them upon the expiration of each such 30 calendar day period.

(b) On the filing of the petition, the court may issue a writ of certiorari directed to the municipality to review the order of the municipality and shall prescribe in the writ the time within which a return on the writ must be made, which must be longer than 10 days, and served on the realtor or the realtor’s attorney.

(c) The municipality may not be required to return the original papers acted on by it, but it is sufficient for the municipality to return certified or sworn copies of the papers or of parts of the papers as may be called for by the writ.

(d) The return must concisely set forth other facts as may be pertinent and material to show the grounds of the decision appealed from and shall be verified.

(e) The issuance of the writ does not stay proceedings on the decision appealed from.

(f) Appeal in the district court shall be limited to a hearing under the substantial evidence rule. The court may reverse or affirm, in whole or in part, or may modify the decision brought up for review.

(g) Costs may not be allowed against the municipality.

(h) If the decision of the municipality is affirmed or not substantially reversed, but only modified, the district court shall allow to the municipality all attorney’s fees and other costs and expenses incurred by it and shall enter a judgment for those items, which may be entered against the property owners, lien holders, or mortgagees as well as all persons subject to the proceedings before the municipality.

 

Section 10.4108. Assessment of Expenses and Penalties.

(a) If the Planning and Zoning Board of Adjustment has held a hearing pursuant to Section 10.4106(b) and the time allotted for the repair, removal or demolition of a building under Section 10.4106(d) or (e) has expired, the City Council may, in addition to the authority granted under V.T.C.A., Local Government Code, Section 214.001 and Section 10.4106:

  1. Order the repair of the building at the city’s expense and assess the expenses on the land on which the building stands or to which it is attached; or
  2. Assess a civil penalty against the responsible party for failure to repair, remove, or demolish the building.
  3. The building official shall invite at least two (2) or more building contractors to make estimates pertaining to the needed repair, removal or demolition of the building. The building official shall cause to be made an assessment of expenses or civil penalty based on such estimates. The building official shall endeavor to minimize the expenses of any building repairs, removal or demolition order pursuant to this article. The City may make the necessary repairs, removal or demolition of the building and assess the expenses or civil penalty based on the cost of performing such repairs, removal or demolition.
  4. Notice of assessment of a civil penalty is sufficient if served upon the responsible party personally or sent by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested to the last known address of such responsible party as shown on the records of the city. Failure to pay the civil penalty within sixty (60) days after the notice has been served as set out above shall give rise to a cause of action in favor of the city, which said cause of action, can be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction for collection of said civil penalty. The assessment of a civil penalty and the collection of that penalty is in addition to and not in lieu of the city’s statutory right to punish by a fine any person who does not comply with an order issued by the City Council with respect to the removal, repair, or demolition of an unsafe building or structure.

(b) The city may repair a building under subsection (a) hereof only to the extent necessary to bring the building into compliance with the minimum standards of the city and only if the building is a residential building with ten (10) or fewer dwelling units. The repairs may not improve the building to the extent that the building exceeds the minimum standards prescribed by the city.

(c) The city shall impose a lien against the land on which the building stands or stood, unless it is a homestead as protected by the Texas Constitution, to secure the payment of the repair, removal, or demolition expenses or the civil penalty. Promptly after the imposition of the lien, the city shall file for record in recordable form in the office of the Carson County Clerk, a written notice of the imposition of the lien. The notice shall contain a legal description of the land.

(d) Except as provided by Section 10.4106 as set forth above, the city’s lien to secure the payment of a civil penalty or the costs of repairs, removal, or demolition is inferior to any previously recorded bona fide mortgage lien attached to the real property to which the city’s lien attaches if the mortgage lien was filed for record in the office of the Carson County Clerk before the date the civil penalty is assessed or the repair, removal or demolition is begun by the city. The city’s lien is superior to all other previously recorded judgment liens.

(e) Any civil penalty or other assessment imposed under this section accrues interest at the rate of ten percent (10%) per year from the date of the assessment until paid in full.

(f) In any judicial proceeding regarding the enforcement of municipalities under this section, the prevailing party is entitled to recover reasonable attorney’s fees from the non-prevailing party.

(g) A lien acquired under this section by the city for repair expenses may not be foreclosed if the property on which the repairs were made is occupied as a residential homestead by a person sixty-five (65) years of age or older.

 

Section 10.4109. Additional Authority Regarding Substandard Building.

(a) This section applies only to a municipality that has adopted a code under Section 214.001 of the Texas Local Government Code.

(b) In addition to the authority granted to the municipality by Section 214.001 of the Texas Local Government Code, after the expiration of the time allotted under Section 214.001(d) or (e) for the repair, removal, or demolition of a building, the municipality may:

  1. Repair the building at the expense of the municipality and assess the expenses on the land on which the building stands or to which it is attached and may provide for that assessment, the mode and manner of giving notice, and the means of recovering the repair expenses; or
  2. Assess a civil penalty against the property owner for failure to repair, remove, or demolish the building and provide for that assessment, the mode and manner of giving notice, and the means of recovering the assessment.

(c) The municipality may repair a building under Subsection (b) of this section only to the extent necessary to bring the building into compliance with the minimum standards and only if the building is a residential building with 10 or fewer dwelling units. The repairs may not improve the building to the extent that the building exceeds minimum housing standards.

(d) The municipality shall impose a lien against the land on which the building stands or stood, unless it is a homestead as protected by the Texas Constitution, to secure the payment of the repair, removal, or demolition expenses or the civil penalty. Promptly after the imposition of the lien, the municipality must file for record, in recordable form in the office of the county clerk of Carson County, a written notice of the imposition of the lien. The notice must contain a legal description of the land.

(e) Except as provided by Section 214.001of the Texas Local Government Code, the municipality’s lien to secure the payment of a civil penalty or the costs of repairs, removal, or demolition is inferior to any previously recorded bona fide mortgage lien attached to the real property to which the municipality’s lien attaches if the mortgage lien was filed for record in the office of the county clerk of the county in which the real property is located before the date the civil penalty is assessed or the repair, removal, or demolition is begun by the municipality. The municipality’s lien is superior to all other previously recorded judgment liens.

(f) Any civil penalty or other assessment imposed under this section accrues interest at the rate of 10 percent a year from the date of the assessment until paid in full.

(g) The municipalities right to the assessment lien may not be transferred to third parties.

(h) In any judicial proceeding regarding enforcement of municipal rights under this section, the prevailing party is entitled to recover reasonable attorney’s fees from the non-prevailing party.

(i) A lien acquired under this section by a municipality for repair expenses may not be foreclosed if the property on which the repairs were made is occupied as a residential homestead by a person 65 years of age or older.

(j) The municipality by order may assess and recover a civil penalty against a property owner at the time of an administrative hearing on violations of an code, in an amount not to exceed $1,000 a day for each violation or, if the owner shows that the property is the owner’s lawful homestead, in an amount not to exceed $10 a day for each violation, if the municipality proves:

  1. The property owner was notified of the requirements of the code and the owner’s need to comply with the requirements; and
  2. After notification, the property owner committed an act in violation of the code or failed to take an action necessary for compliance with the code.

(k) An assessment of a civil penalty under Subsection (j) of this section is final and binding and constitutes prima facie evidence of the penalty in any suit brought by a municipality in a court of competent jurisdiction for a final judgment in accordance with the assessed penalty.

  1. To enforce a civil penalty under this subchapter, city secretary of the City of White Deer must file with the district clerk of Carson County in which the municipality is located a certified copy of an order issued under Subsection (j) of this section stating the amount and duration of the penalty. No other proof is required for a district court to enter a final judgment on the penalty.

 

Section 10.4110. Requiring Repair, Removal, Or Demolition Of Building Or Other Structure.

(a) If the governing body of a municipality finds that a building, bulkhead or other method of shoreline protection, fence, shed, awning, or other structure, or part of a structure, is likely to endanger persons or property, the governing body may:

  1. Order the owner of the structure, the owner’s agent, or the owner or occupant of the property on which the structure is located to repair, remove, or demolish the structure, or the part of the structure, within a specified time; or
  2. Repair, remove, or demolish the structure, or the part of the structure, at the expense of the municipality, on behalf of the owner of the structure or the owner of the property on which the structure is located, and assess the repair, removal, or demolition expenses on the property on which the structure was located.

(b) The governing body shall provide by code for:

  1. The assessment of repair, removal, or demolition expenses incurred under Subsection (a)(2);
  2. A method of giving notice of the assessment; and
  3. A method of recovering the expenses.

(c) The governing body may punish by a fine, confinement in jail, or both a person who does not comply with an order issued under Subsection (a)(1).

 

Section 10.4111. Additional Authority to Secure Substandard Buildings.

(a) The City Council through the Planning and Zoning Board of Adjustment recommendation may secure a building if the board of adjustment determines that the building:

  1. Violates the minimum standards of this article and the city building code as adopted; and
  2. Is unoccupied or is occupied only by persons who do not have right of possession to the building.

(b) Before the eleventh (11th) day after the building is secured, the city shall give notice to the owner by:

  1. Personally serving the owner with written notice;
  2. Depositing the notice in the United States Mail addressed to the owner at the owner’s post office address;
  3. Publishing the notice at least twice within a ten (10) day period in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the building is located if personal service cannot be obtained and the owner’s post office address is unknown; or
  4. Posting the notice on or near the front door of the building if personal service cannot be obtained and the owner’s post office address is unknown.

(c) The notice must contain:

  1. An identification and address of the building and the property on which it is located;
  2. A description of the violation of the city building code or the minimum standards established by this article that is present at the building;
  3. A statement that the city will secure or has secured as the case may be, the building; and
  4. An explanation of the owner’s entitlement to request a hearing about any matter relating to the city’s securing of the building.

(d) The board of adjustment shall conduct a hearing at which the owner may testify or present witnesses or written information about any matter relating to the securing of the building if, within thirty (30) days after the date the building is secured, the owner files with the city secretary directed to the board of adjustment a written request for the hearing. The board of adjustment shall conduct a hearing within twenty (20) days after the date the request is filed.

(e) The board of adjustment will have the same authority to assess expenses under this section as it has under V.T.C.A., Local Government Code, Section 214.001 and Section 10.4107 above. A lien is created under this section in the same manner that a lien is created under V.T.C.A., Local Government Code, Section 214.001 et seq. 10.4107and above and is subject to the same conditions as a lien created under the provisions of the Local Government Code and this article.

(f) The authority granted by this section is in addition to that granted by V.T.C.A., Local Government Code, Section 214.001 and Section 10.4107 above.

 

Section 10.4112. Posting of Warnings on Unsafe Buildings.

(a) In the event the City Council makes a determination after the public hearings required herein that the building is deemed to be an unsafe building, the building official shall cause to be posted at each entrance to such building a notice to read as follows:

 

DANGEROUS.

DO NOT ENTER. UNSAFE TO OCCUPY

BUILDING OFFICIAL OF THE

CITY OF WHITE DEER, TEXAS

(b) Such notice shall remain posted until required repairs, demolition, or removal is completed and such premises have been rendered safe. Such notice shall not be removed without written permission of the building official, and no person shall enter the building except for making inspections or required repairs or to demolish such building.

 

Section 10.4113. Seizure And Sale Of Property To Recover Expenses.

(a) The City of White Deer, Texas may foreclose a lien on property under this subchapter:

  1. In a proceeding relating to the property brought under Subchapter E, Chapter 33, Tax Code; or
  2. In a judicial proceeding, if:

(b) A building or other structure on the property has been demolished;

(c) A lien for the cost of the demolition of the building or other structure on the property has been created and that cost has not been paid more than 180 days after the date the lien was filed; and

(d) Ad valorem taxes are delinquent on all or part of the property.

 

Section 10.4114. Resort to the Courts.

Nothing in this article shall be construed as abridging the right of the City of White Deer, Texas to resort to the courts of this state for the enforcement of this article, or of the rights of any owner or interested party to resort to the courts of this state in an attempt to enjoin the enforcement of this article. (Ordinance 14-96 April 24, 2006)