3-2-1 – Definitions

3-2-2 – Nuisances Prohibited

3-2-3 – Other Conditions Regulated

3-2-4 – Notice to Abate Nuisance or Condition

3-2-5 – Contents of Notice to Abate

3-2-6 – Method of Service

3-2-7 – Request for Hearing and Appeal

3-2-8 – Abatement in Emergency

3-2-9 – Abatement by Municipality

3-2-10 – Collection of Cost of Abatement

3-2-11 – Installment Payment of Cost of Abatement

3-2-12 – Condemnation of Nuisance


For use in this Ordinance, the following terms are defined:

  1. The term “nuisance” means whatever is injurious to health, indecent, or unreasonably
    offensive to the senses or an obstacle to the free use of property, so as essentially
    to unreasonably interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property. The
    following are declared to be nuisances: (Code of Iowa, Sec. 657.1)

    1. The erecting, continuing, or using any building or other place for the exercise of any trade, employment, or manufacture, which by occasioning noxious exhalations, unreasonably offensive smells, or other annoyances, becomes injurious and dangerous to the health, comfort, or property of individuals or the public. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 657.2(1))
    2. The causing or suffering any offal, filth, or noisome substance to accumulate or to remain in any place to the prejudice of others. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 657.2(2))
    3. The obstructing or impeding without legal authority the passage of any navigable river, harbor, or collection of water. (Code of Iowa,
      Sec. 657.2(3))
    4. The polluting or rendering unwholesome or impure the water of any river, stream, or pond, or unlawfully diverting the same its natural course or state, to the injury or prejudice of others. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 657.2(4))
    5. The obstructing or encumbering by fences, buildings, or otherwise the public roads, private ways, streets, alleys, commons, landing places, or burying grounds. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 657.2(5))
    6. Houses of ill fame, kept for the purpose of prostitution and lewdness, gambling houses, or houses resorted to for the use of illegal drugs and illegal controlled substances, or houses where drunkenness, quarreling, fighting or breaches of the peace are carried on or permitted to the disturbance of others. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 657.2(6))
    7. Billboards, signboards, and advertising signs, whether erected and constructed on public or private property, which so obstruct and impair the view of any portion or part of a public street, avenue, highway, boulevard or alley or of a railroad or street railway track as to render dangerous the use thereof, especially near intersecting streets. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 657.2(7))
    8. Cotton-bearing cottonwood trees and all other cotton-bearing poplar trees in the City.
    9. Any object or structure hereafter erected within 1,000 feet of the limits of any municipal or regularly established airport or landing place, which may endanger or obstruct aerial navigation, including take-off and landing. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 657.2(8))
    10. The depositing or storing of inflammable junk, such as old rags, rope, cordage, rubber, bones, and paper, by any person, including a dealer in such articles, unless it be in a building of fire resistant construction. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 657.2(9))
    11. The emission of dense smoke, noxious fumes, or fly ash. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 657.2(10))
    12. Dense growth of all weeds, grasses, vines, brush, or other vegetation in the City so as to constitute a health, safety, or fire hazard including any City owned property between the abutting property line and the street right-of-way. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 657.2(11))
    13. Trees infected with Dutch elm disease. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 657.2(12))
    14. Effluent from septic tank or drain field running or ponding on the ground in the open.
    15. Any article or substance placed upon a street, alley, sidewalk, public ground, or in any ditch, waterway, or gutter so as to obstruct he drainage. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 716.1)
    16. Accumulations of rubbish or trash tending to harbor vermin, rodents, and rank growth of weeds or other vegetation and plants, which is conducive to hazard. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 657.2)
  2. The term “property owner” means the contract purchaser if there is one of record,
    otherwise the record holder of legal title. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.1)


The creation or maintenance of a nuisance is prohibited, and a nuisance, public
or private, may be abated in the manner provided in this chapter. (Code of Iowa,
Sec. 657.3)


The following actions are required and may also be abated in the manner provided
in this Ordinance:

  1. The removal of diseased trees or dead wood, but not diseased trees and dead wood
    outside the lot and property lines and inside the curb lines upon the public street.
    (Code of Iowa, Sec. 364. 12(3)(b))
  2. The removal, repair, or dismantling of dangerous buildings or structures. (Code
    of Iowa, Sec. 364.12(3)(c))
  3. The numbering of buildings. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 364. 12(3)(d))
  4. The connection to public drainage systems from abutting property when necessary
    for public health or safety. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12(3)(e))
  5. The connection to public sewer systems from abutting property, and the installation
    of sanitary toilet facilities and removal of other toilet facilities on such property.
    (Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12(3)(f))
  6. The cutting or destruction of weeds or other growth which constitutes a health,
    safety, or fire hazard. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12(3)(g))
  7. The removal of rodents and animals that are a threat to public safety.
  8. The maintenance , by the property owner, of all property outside the lot and property lines and inside the curb lines upon public streets, including maintaining a fifteen(15) foot clearance above the street from trees extending over the streets, except as provided in Section 3-2-3(1).


Whenever the Mayor or other authorized municipal officer finds that a nuisance or
other condition exists which is listed in Section 3, the Mayor or officer shall
cause to be served upon the property owner as shown by the records of the County
Auditor a written notice to abate the nuisance within a reasonable time after notice.
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 364. 12(3)(h))


The notice to abate shall contain: (Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12(3)(h))

  1. A description of what constitutes the nuisance or other condition.
  2. The location of the nuisance or condition.
  3. A statement of the act or acts necessary to abate the nuisance or condition.
  4. A reasonable time within which to complete the abatement.
  5. A statement that if the nuisance or condition is not abated as directed and no request
    for hearing is made within the time prescribed, the City will abate it and assess
    the costs against such person.


The notice may be served by certified mail or personal service to the property owner
as shown by the records of the County Auditor. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.l2(3)(h))


Any person ordered to abate a nuisance or condition may have a hearing with the
officer ordering the abatement as to whether a nuisance or prohibited condition
exists. A request for a hearing must be made in writing and delivered to the officer
ordering the abatement within the time stated in the notice, or it will be conclusively
presumed that a nuisance or prohibited condition exists and it must be abated as

At the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing officer shall render a written decision
as to whether a nuisance or prohibited condition exists. If the officer finds that
a nuisance or prohibited condition exists, the officer must order it abated within
an additional time which must be reasonable under the circumstances. An appeal from
this decision may be had by immediately filing a written notice with the hearing
officer. This appeal shall be heard before the City Council at a time and place
fixed by the Council. The findings of the Council shall be conclusive and, if a
nuisance or prohibited condition is found to exist, it shall be ordered abated within
a time reasonable under the circumstances.


If it is determined that an emergency exists by reason of the continuing maintenance
of the nuisance or condition, the City may perform any action that may be required
under this chapter without prior notice, and assess the costs as provided herein,
after notice to the property owner under the applicable provision of Sections 3-2-4
and 3-2-5 and hearing as provided in Section 3-2-7. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.l2(3)(h))


If the person notified to abate a nuisance or condition neglects or fails to abate
as directed, the City may perform the required action to abate, keeping an accurate
account of the expense incurred. The itemized expense account shall be filed with
the City Clerk, who shall pay such expenses on behalf of the municipality. (Code
of Iowa, Sec. 364.12(3)(h))


The Clerk shall mail a statement of the total expense incurred to the property owner
who has failed to abide by the notice to abate, and if the amount shown by the statement
has not been paid within one month, the City Clerk shall certify the costs to the
County Auditor and they shall then be collected with, and in the same manner, as
general property taxes. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12(3)(h))


If the amount expended to abate the nuisance or condition exceeds $100, the City
may permit the assessment to be paid in up to ten annual installments, to be paid
in the same manner and at the same rate of interest charged delinquent real estate
taxes by the County Treasurer. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.13)


The City may condemn a residential building found to be a public nuisance and take
title to the property for the public purpose of disposing of the property under
Section 364.7 by conveying the property to a private individual for rehabilitation
or for demolition and construction of housing. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12A)

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