For some, Lincoln County’s newly adopted property maintenance amendment is an infringement on the rights of property owners, but to others, it’s simply a matter of being a good neighbor – either way, violations won’t be something the county’s planning and zoning office will search out, but if complaints are received, the office will most assuredly respond.
Commissioners adopted the three-page amendment to the county’s 2015 Zoning Resolution last month, reversing their previous action and making way for the county’s first regulations regarding the presence of litter and inoperable vehicles in rural Lincoln County.
Litter is defined as “all waste materials, including, but not limited to, overgrown lots containing weeds and grass in excess of 12 inches in height, rubbish, garbage, waste materials, plastic, paper, cans, glass and items not customarily stored within a yard.”
The only exception is vegetative growth or items used for agricultural purposes; however, accumulated items that are not being repurposed, such as non-usable tires, non-salvageable equipment, or discarded waste are not exempt.
“It shall be unlawful for any person owning, leasing, occupying or having control of property to permit or suffer an accumulation of litter,” reads the amendment, which goes on to note that persons having control of the property will be notified, either by personal contact, by mail, or by posting a notice at the property.
“Property shall be brought into compliance within a reasonable time frame, agreed upon by both parties,” the provision continues, adding that if the violation continues, up to two certified, return receipt notifications will be sent. “Failure to comply within the stated period(s) is deemed a Class C misdemeanor and punishable by of fine of not less than $25 or more than $50 for each day the violation remains.”
The next step would be a summons delivered by law enforcement and citing a time and date to appear in General Sessions court. The citied party shall be responsible for any costs associated with the summons, including court costs, in addition to fines levied by the court.
An inoperable vehicle is defined as “passenger motor vehicles that are unlicensed or in a state of disassembly, disrepair or in the process of being stripped or dismantled and is parked or stored outside.”
“It shall be unlawful to place or store a vehicle outside that is inoperable,” states the amendment.
An exception would be a vehicle located within a carport or garage, or securely tarped, or located behind fencing and not visible from any street or surrounding property, or when the vehicle is converted and used entirely for recreational purposes. The area around the stored vehicle shall be maintained and kept free of weeds and litter, it continues, adding that if tarped, the tarp must remain in good condition. Also, there shall be no more than three properly stored vehicles at any given time, unless stored within a garage or carport.
Another exception allows for vehicles located at a legal commercial business engaged in automotive repair, storage, salvage or the like, or vehicles used for agricultural purposes.
Again, it will be the duty of the designated official with planning and zoning to notify the responsible owner of any lands containing any inoperable vehicles found to be in violation. Those notices may also be delivered by personal contact, by mail or by a notice being posted on the property.
A time frame agreed upon by both parties will be given for the property to be brought into compliance, and if that deadline is not met, up to two certified, return receipt notifications will be sent. “Failure to comply within the stated period(s) is deemed a Class C misdemeanor and punishable by of fine of not less than $25 or more than $50 for each day the violation remains.”
As in the litter provision, the next step would be a summons delivered by law enforcement and citing a time and date to appear in General Sessions court. The cited party shall be responsible for any costs associated with the summons, including court costs, in addition to fines levied by the court.