Code of Ordinances

City of Denton, Texas

 

ARTICLE III. WEEDS AND GRASS AND UNSIGHTLY OR UNSANITARY MATTER*

 

DIVISION 1. GENERALLY

 

Sec. 20-71. Definitions.


The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

Brush means scrub vegetation or dense undergrowth.

Carrion means the dead putrefying flesh of any animal, fowl or fish.

Dump means to dispose, discharge, place, deposit, throw, leave, sweep, scatter, unload or toss.

Filth means any matter in a putrescent state.

Garbage means any kitchen refuse, foodstuffs or related materials, including all decayable waste.

Impure or unwholesome matter means any putrescible or nonputrescible condition, object or matter which tends, may or could cause injury, death or disease to human beings.

Junk means all worn-out, worthless or discarded material including, but not limited to, any of the following materials, or parts of such materials, or any combination thereof: new or used iron, steel or nonferrous metallic scrap, brass or waste materials; used and/or inoperative household appliances, household electrical or plumbing fixtures, floor coverings and/or window coverings not currently in use; used lumber, brick, cement block, wire, tubing and pipe, tubs, drums, barrels, and/or roofing material not currently in use; air conditioning and heating equipment not currently in use; used vehicle components and parts not currently in use; used furniture other than that designed for outdoor use or that which would normally be considered as antique furniture; used and/or inoperative residential lawn care equipment and machinery not currently in use; used pallets, windows or doors not currently in use; new or used sheet metal, structural steel and/or chain not currently in use; used and/or inoperable vending machines, radios and/or televisions not currently in use, and any other type of used and/or inoperable machinery or equipment not currently in use.

Matter means that of which any physical object is composed.

Nuisance means any condition, object, material or matter that is dangerous or detrimental to human life or health; or that renders the ground, the water, the air or food a hazard or likely to cause injury to human life or health; or that is offensive to the senses; or that threatens to become detrimental to the public health; and shall include, but not be limited to, any abandoned wells, shafts or basements, abandoned refrigerators, sinks, privies, filth, carrion, rubbish, junk, trash, debris or refuse, impure or unwholesome matter of any kind, and objectionable, unsightly unsanitary matter of whatever nature.

Objectionable, unsightly or unsanitary matter means any matter, condition or object which is objectionable, unsightly or unsanitary to a person of ordinary sensitivities.

Owner means any person or entity shown as the property owner on the latest property tax assessment rolls or any person having or claiming to have any legal or equitable interest in the property, including any agent who is responsible for managing, leasing or operating the property and including any tenant.

Property means all privately owned occupied or unoccupied property, including vacant land, and/or a building designed or used for residential, commercial, business, industrial or religious purposes. The term "property" shall also include a yard, ground, wall, driveway, fence, porch, steps or other structure appurtenant to the property.

Putrescible means the decomposition of organic matter with the formation of foul-smelling, incompletely oxidized products.

Refuse means a heterogeneous accumulation of worn-out, used, broken, rejected or worthless materials including, but not limited to, garbage, rubbish, paper or litter, and other decayable or nondecayable matter.

Rubbish means junk, trash, debris, rubble, stone, useless fragments of building materials, and other miscellaneous, useless waste or rejected matter.

Trash and debris means all manner of refuse including, but not limited to mounds of dirt, piles of leaves, grass and weed clippings, paper trash, useless fragments of building material, rubble, furniture other than furniture designed for outside use, useless household items and appliances, items of salvage, such as scrap metal and wood, old barrels, old tires, objects that hold water for an extended time, tree and brush trimmings, and other miscellaneous wastes or rejected matter.

Vegetative growth means any grass, weeds, shrubs, trees, brush, bushes or vines.

Weeds means any vegetation that, because of its height, is objectionable, unsightly or unsanitary, excluding: shrubs, bushes and trees, cultivated flowers and cultivated crops.

(Ord. No. 2004-353, 3, 11-2-04)

 

Sec. 20-72. Weeds and brush over twelve inches high.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person owning, claiming, occupying or having supervision or control of any real property, occupied or unoccupied, within the corporate limits of the city, to permit weeds, brush, grass or any objectionable or unsightly matter to grow to a greater height than twelve (12) inches. All vegetation, not regularly cultivated, and which exceeds twelve (12) inches in height, shall be presumed to be objectionable and unsightly matter.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any owner or occupant of any property within the city to suffer or permit tree limbs, brush or unsightly vegetation to grow within one foot of the public street or alley adjacent to that private property.

(c) It shall be unlawful for any owner or occupant of any property within the city to suffer or permit limbs, brush and other vegetation existing above a public street or alley to hang lower than fifteen (15) vertical feet (measured at the curbline) above the alley or public street pavement or seven (7) feet above the sidewalk and other rights-of-way.

(d) With respect to lots, tracts or parcels of land of five or more acres and under single ownership, the provisions of this section shall not apply to any area greater than one hundred (100) feet from any open public street or thoroughfare, as measured from the right-of-way line of such street or thoroughfare, and greater than one hundred (100) feet from any adjacent property under different ownership and on which any building is located or on which any improvement exists, as measured from the property line.

(e) Property designated as and/or required by an ordinance to be maintained in its natural state shall be exempt from the provisions of this section.

(f) Property included as part of a conservation easement shall be exempt from these provisions.

(g) Property that is part of a designated floodplain shall be exempt from these provisions.

(Ord. No. 2004-353, 3, 11-2-04; Ord. No. 2007-193, 8, 9-18-07)

Secs. 20-73--20-90. Reserved.

 

DIVISION 2. WEEDS, GRASS AND OTHER VEGETATION

 

Sec. 20-91. Duties of owner/occupant.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person owning, claiming, occupying or having supervision or control of any real property, as described in section 20-72, to fail to cut and remove all such weeds, brush, vegetative growth, and other objectionable or unsightly matter as often as may be necessary to comply with section 20-72.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any person owning, claiming, occupying or having supervision or control of any real property, occupied, or unoccupied, within the city, to fail to keep the area adjacent to his or her property line, including the front or side parkway and rear, between the property line or sidewalk and curb and the rear or side parkway between the property line and alley pavement or traveled way, or if there is no curb, then within ten feet outside such property line, free and clear of the matter referred to in subsection (a) of this section. Provided, however, that where the alleyway is not open to traffic, that the parkway in such cases shall be deemed to be between the property line and the centerline of the alley. Specifically, sidewalks must have an unobstructed vertical clearance of eight feet and must be unobstructed within the width of the sidewalk. Road access shall be unobstructed as outlined in the fire code, as amended.

(c) It shall be unlawful for any person owning, claiming occupying or having supervision or control of any such real property, as described in this section, to fail to maintain all rights-of-way adjacent or next to their real property in compliance with this section. All vegetative growth not regularly cultivated crops allowed to grow within the right-of-way of any public street or easement shall also be kept mowed in compliance with this section.

(Ord. No. 2004-353, 3, 11-2-04)

 

Sec. 20-92. Defenses and responsibilities.

It shall be a defense to prosecution under article III that the vegetation is any of the following:

(1) Agricultural crops, except grass and hay, unless subsection (2) stated below applies;

(2) Hay that is grown for the specific purpose of cultivation and is a part of a predominantly homogeneous plant population may be grown to any height provided it is maintained in compliance with section 20-91(b) and is located no closer than twenty feet to an adjacent property under different ownership and on which any building or improvement exists;

(3) Cultivated trees;

(4) Cultivated shrubs;

(5) Flowers or other decorative ornamental plants under cultivation; or

(6) Wildflowers, but only until such time as seeds have matured following the final blooming of the majority of the plants.

(Ord. No. 2004-353, 3, 11-2-04)

Secs. 20-93--20-110. Reserved.

 

DIVISION 3. UNSIGHTLY OR UNSANITARY MATTER

 

Sec. 20-111. Dumping, stagnant water, trash, and other unsightly or unsanitary matter declared a nuisance.

It is unlawful and declared a nuisance for any person owning, claiming, occupying or having supervision or control of any real property, occupied or unoccupied, within the corporate limits of the city, to permit or allow any, refuse, rubbish, trash, debris, filth, carrion, junk, garbage, impure or unwholesome matter of any kind or other objectionable or unsightly matter of whatever kind to remain upon any such real property or within any public easement on or across such real property or upon any adjacent public street or alley right-of-way between the property line of such real property and where the paved surface of the street or alley begins or that is visible from another's property.

(Ord. No. 2004-353, 3, 11-2-04)

 

Sec. 20-112. Sidewalks, grounds and buildings to be kept clear.

It shall be unlawful for any person owning, claiming, occupying or having supervision or control of any real property, occupied or unoccupied, within the corporate limits of the city:

(1) To fail to keep the sidewalks in front of their property free and clear of all refuse, rubbish, trash, debris, filth, carrion, junk, garbage, impure or unwholesome matter of any kind or other objectionable or unsightly matter; or

(2) To fail to cleanse and disinfect any of their houses, of buildings or establishments or to fail to clean any of their lots, yards or grounds of refuse, rubbish, trash, debris, filth, carrion, junk, garbage, impure or unwholesome matter of any kind or other objectionable or unsightly matter of any kind, or other impure or unwholesome matter of any kind.

(Ord. No. 2004-353, 3, 11-2-04)

 

Sec. 20-113. Dumping.


It shall be unlawful and declared a nuisance for any person to dump, or permit to be dumped upon any sidewalk, alley, street, into or adjacent to water, or any other public or private property, any unwholesome water, refuse, rubbish, trash, debris, filth, carrion, junk, garbage, impure or unwholesome matter of any kind or other objectionable or unsightly matter of whatever kind.

(Ord. No. 2004-353, 3, 11-2-04)

 

Sec. 20-114. Outside storage.

It shall be unlawful for any person to allow, permit, conduct or maintain any outside storage, outside of an enclosed structure or fully concealed behind an opaque screening fence, on any portion of a lot or tract. The door of the enclosed structure must be manufactured for use with the structure.

(a) Prohibited outside storage for this section shall include, but not be limited to, the following items stored in a manner other than in an enclosed building or behind an opaque screening fence:

(1) Building materials to be used on site;

(2) Supplies, materials or other matter associated with a home occupation;

(3) Supplies, materials or other matter associated with a nonresidential activity;

(4) Chemicals;

(5) Furniture not designed for outdoor use;

(6) Appliances not designed for outdoor use;

(7) Appliances designed for outdoor use but not currently installed;

(8) Tools, mobile and/or mechanical equipment not connected with a residential use;

(9) Lawn maintenance equipment;

(10) Motor vehicle parts and/or accessories including but not limited to engines, transmissions, electrical parts, suspension parts, vehicle body parts, batteries, tires, wheels, hubcaps and other motor vehicle parts;

(11) Other items or personal property which are not customarily used or stored outside or which are not made of a material that is resistant to damage or deterioration from exposure to the outside environment;

(12) Barrels, boxes and buckets; or

(13) Trash, garbage or other refuse.

(b) Children's play equipment may not be maintained in the front yard between the front building line and the curb or the street.

(c) Smokers, barbeque grills or any other type of outdoor cooking equipment may not be maintained in the front yard between the front building line and the curb or the street.

(d) No screening or storage requirements apply to (b) and (c) provided the items are maintained behind the front building line.

(Ord. No. 2007-193, 12, 9-18-07)

Secs. 20-115--20-130. Reserved.

 

DIVISION 4. ABATEMENT PROCEDURE FOR WEEDS, GRASS, UNSIGHTLY AND UNSANITARY MATTER

 

Sec. 20-131. Failure of owner to comply with article provisions; issuance of notice.

If any person owning, claiming, occupying or having supervision or control of any real property, occupied or unoccupied, within the corporate limits of the city, fails to comply with the provisions of this article, it shall be the duty of the city manager or his duly appointed representative to give a minimum of seven days' written notice to such person violating the terms of this article.

(Ord. No. 2004-353, 3, 11-2-04)

 

Sec. 20-132. Service of notice.

Notice of the violation may be delivered to the owner or occupant in person, by notice left at the location, or mailed to the owner's address as recorded in the appraisal district records of the appraisal district in which the property is located, and delivered by United States Mail.
If the property is vacant, then the notice will be mailed to the owner's address as recorded in the appraisal district records of the appraisal district in which the property is located and delivered by United States Mail. The property will be reinspected no sooner than after seven (7) days of the date on the notice. If the property is not in compliance at this time, citation may be issued.

(Ord. No. 2004-353, 3, 11-2-04; Ord. No. 2007-193, 9, 9-18-07)

 

Sec. 20-133. Contents of notice.

In a notice provided under this article the city may inform the owner by regular mail and by 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 action permitted and assess expenses as provided by section 20-134.

(Ord. No. 2004-353, 3, 11-2-04)

 

Sec. 20-134. City may correct violation.

(a) Procedure. If at least seven (7) days has expired after notice has been given in accordance with section 20-132 and the owner has failed to correct the violation, the city may enter upon the property and do the work, or pay for the work to be done, as necessary to correct the violation. If the owner commits another violation of the same kind or nature on or before the first anniversary of the date of a notice of a violation as required in section 20-131 and the city has not received written notification by the ownerof an ownership change, the city without further notice may correct the violation at the owner's expense and assess the expenses against the property as provided by section 20-134.

(b) Owner assessed costs. A statement of the costs incurred by the city in correcting a violation shall be mailed to the property owner. The costs shall include an administrative fee established by the city council and on file in the office of the city secretary. The payment shall be due within thirty (30) days of the date of mailing.

(c) Lien to secure costs. If the statement is not timely paid, the city may file a statement with the county clerk of the costs incurred, including administrative costs. Upon filing the statement, the city shall have a privileged lien on the land upon which the costs were incurred, second only to tax liens and liens for street improvements. The amount of the lien shall include ten (10) percent on the delinquent amount from the date payment was made by the city. The statement of expenses or a certified copy of the statement is primafacie proof of the expenses incurred by the city. To collect the costs, suit may be instituted and recovery and foreclosure had in the name of the city.

(d) Appeal of costs imposed. Within fifteen (15) days of the date the statement of costs is mailed to the owner of the premises, the owner may appeal the reasonableness of the charges billed for abating the condition to the city council by filing a written statement with the city council, stating why the charges are unreasonable. The appeal shall be submitted to the city council for review within a reasonable time after filing. If the city council finds the charges unreasonable, it shall assess the costs as it deems reasonable. The administrative charge shall not be appealable.

(Ord. No. 2004-353, 3, 11-2-04)

Sec. 20-135. Additional authority to abate dangerous weeds.

(a) The city may go upon property and do or cause to be done the work necessary to obtain compliance with section 20-72 without notice when:

(1) Weeds have grown higher than forty-eight (48) inches; and

(2) Are an immediate danger to the health, life, or safety of any person.

(b) No later than the tenth day after the date the city causes the work to be done under this section, the city shall give notice to the property owner in the manner required by section 20-132.

(c) The notice shall contain:

(1) An identification, which is not required to be a legal description, of the property;

(2) A description of the violations of the article that occurred on the property;

(3) A statement that the city abated the weeds;

(4) An itemized statement of the charges incurred by the city in doing or in having such work done as necessary to bring the real property into compliance with section 20-72; and

(5) An explanation of the property owner's right to request an administrative hearing about the city's abatement of the weeds.

(d) Appeal of costs imposed. Within fifteen (15) days of the date the statement of costs is mailed to the owner of the premises, the owner may appeal the reasonableness of the charges billed for abating the condition to the city council by filing a written statement with the city council, stating why the charges are unreasonable. The appeal shall be submitted to the city council for review within a reasonable time after filing. If the city council finds the charges unreasonable, it shall assess the costs as itdeems reasonable. The administrative charge shall not be appealable.

(e) The city may assess expenses and create liens under this section as it assesses expenses and creates liens as provided in this article.

(Ord. No. 2004-353, 3, 11-2-04)


ARTICLE II. RESIDENTIAL COLLECTION SERVICE


Sec. 24-41. Residential solid waste services required.

(a) Any owner, occupant, tenant or lessee of any residential premises in the city shall have their municipal solid waste regularly removed by the city.

(b) The charges for such service shall be included on a regularly scheduled bill.

(Ord. No. 2005-256, 1, 9-20-05)


Sec. 24-42. Charges for residential service.

(a) As used in this section, the term "individual family unit" shall mean each side of a duplex, each living unit per subdivided lot, each apartment in an apartment house, up to and including three (3) units and any unit or living space in which a single family resides.

(b) The charge for collecting municipal solid waste from each individual family unit shall be in an amount established and as from time-to-time amended by ordinance as adopted by the city council; the ordinance and amendments thereto to be kept on file with the city secretary and to be available for public inspection during regular business hours.

(c) Multiple-dwelling units having either water or electricity billed through a single meter will be billed a single solid waste charge along with the single water or electric charge, regardless of the occupancy of such multiple-dwelling unit.

(d) Multiple-dwelling units classified as fraternities, sororities, boardinghouses and dormitories shall be charged as a commercial or institutional service. Any multiple-dwelling unit which requires more than the minimum service described in this chapter is subject to having the charges increased by the director of solid waste based upon the additional required service.

(e) Mobility or visually impaired customers may receive special collection services. Containers may be placed in locations designated by the city. The resident receiving this special service must be mobility or visually impaired and no member of the household is physically able to place the containers at the curb. Such special services shall require approval by the director of solid waste or designee. The monthly rate for these special collection services will be the same rate as is charged those customers withno impairments.

(f) All residential dwelling units shall containerize their waste for collection.

(Ord. No. 2005-256, 1, 9-20-05)


Sec. 24-43. Residential collection service.

(a) All single family residents within the city shall place their residential refuse and recyclables at the curb as specified by the director of solid waste or designee.

(b) Residential refuse and recyclables shall be placed at the curb no earlier than 6:00 p.m. on the day prior to the scheduled collection day. To ensure collection, residential refuse and recyclables should be placed at the curb by 7:00 a.m. on the day of collection.

(c) Customers whose refuse or recyclables were not collected because; they were not placed at the proper location, they contained unacceptable materials, or they were not placed out for collection by the required time, shall not be collected until the next regularly scheduled collection service.

(d) Containers, receptacles and any unaccepted waste or recyclables, shall be removed from the curb or other designated collection point by the customer no later than 8:00 a.m. on the day following the scheduled collection day. Upon removal from the curb, containers or receptacles shall be stored in as inconspicuous a location as possible, such as:

(1) In a garage;

(2) In an outdoor storage building;

(3) On the side of a structure on the property; or

(4) At the back of a structure on the property.
At no point shall a container, receptacle or unaccepted waste or recyclables be stored or remain in public view in the front yard, on the front porch, or in front of the main structure on the property.

(e) All refuse and recyclable containers shall securely contain all contents, and shall be capable of being handled without spillage. Refuse and recyclables determined by the city to not be properly contained shall not be collected.

(Ord. No. 2005-256, 1, 9-20-05; Ord. No. 2007-193, 14, 9-18-07)


Sec. 24-44. Residential containerized collection service.

(a) Carts shall be placed at or near the curb line, a minimum of four (4) feet from any mailbox, vehicle, obstacle, or other container. The cart shall be placed in the street with its wheels against the curb. The director of solid waste or designee may make reasonable exceptions to the foregoing location requirements, as needed, upon request of the customer, to meet unique circumstances.

(b) Only authorized refuse and recycling container(s) (carts) provided by the city will be serviced. No other containers, boxes, or bags placed at the collection site will be collected, unless special refuse collection services have been requested.

(Ord. No. 2005-256, 1, 9-20-05)