WEED ABATEMENT PROGRAM
The deadline for weed/refuse abatement compliance is June 1
On June 1, the City's contractor begins the abatement process for parcels that are not in compliance. The contractor's fees, as well as applicable City and County fees/fines are assessed on the County's tax roll.
It’s that time of the year again, and residents of Atascadero are encouraged to get an early start on weed abatement. The Atascadero Department of Fire and Emergency Services mission, through its hazard reduction program, is to eliminate vegetative growth and/or refuse which may constitute a fire or life and safety hazard.
Initial field inspections begin the first week of April to identify parcels that have hazardous vegetative growth and/or refuse. Following the inspections, letters are mailed to the property owners that have hazardous weeds and/or refuse on their property, requesting them to remove the hazards.
Property owners have until June 1st to complete the required abatement of the noxious weeds and/or refuse. If the abatement is not done by June 1st, the city’s weed abatement contractor will be authorized to clear the hazardous weeds and/or refuse for the residents.
If the City contractor must clear the weeds and/or refuse, the individual property owner’s tax assessment will include the contractor’s cost of abatement as well as a 150% administrative fee.
“The weather in April and May varies greatly from year to year and rain can be common after property owners have cut their parcels,” said Fire Chief Kurt Stone. “However, it is critically important to the overall safety of our community that property owners maintain their weeds/seasonal grass to 4” in length, year round so we can prevent small fires from becoming large,” said Stone.
Per the City of Atascadero Municipal Code, Title 6 Health and Sanitation, Chapter 13 Removal of Vegetative Growth and/or Refuse, Section 6-1.08 Notice to Destroy or Remove Vegetative Growth and/or Refuse and Ordinance No. 371, the following guidelines are to be adhered to:
a) Located within 100 feet of any building or structure, or to the property line, whichever is nearer; b) Located within 50 feet from the edge of any improved roadway; c) Located within 50 feet from each property line; d) Located within 10 feet on each side of driveways.
Exemptions shall apply to any land beyond 50 feet from improved streets, as declared by the City, State or Federal Government, which has been acquired or is managed, for one or more of the following purposes: a) Animal pastures and agricultural fields growing hay or grains. The interior portion of fenced pastures where the quantity of livestock significantly reduces the vegetative growth, therefore bringing the parcel into compliance. Agricultural fields must be cut at harvest time. Uncut hay and grain is subject to abatement.
b) Habitat for endangered or threatened species or any species that is a candidate for listing as an endangered or threatened species by the State of California or Federal Government.
c) Land kept in a predominantly natural state as habitat for wildlife, plant, or animal communities.
d) Open space lands that are environmentally sensitive parklands.
e) Other lands having scenic values.
Abatement requirements shall remain in effect in waterways where flood preparation measures and emergency flood control mitigation is necessary.
1) This exemption applies whether the land or water are held in fee title or any lesser interest. This exemption applies to any public agency, and private entity that has dedicated the land or water areas to one or more of those purposes or uses, or any combination of public agencies and private entities making that decision.
2) This section shall not be construed to prohibit the use of properly authorized prescribed burning to improve the biological function of land or to assist in the restoration of desired vegetation.
3) In the event that any lands adjacent to land or water areas, as described above, are improved such that they are subject to this chapter, the obligation to comply with Section 6-13.04 shall be with the person owning, leasing, controlling, operating, or maintaining the occupied dwelling or occupied structure on the improved lands. All maintenance, activities, and other fire prevention measures required by Section 6-13.04 shall be required only for the improved land, and water areas as described above.
Questions regarding weed abatement may be directed to 805-470-3300 or by writing to: City of Atascadero, Fire Department, Fire Marshal, 6005 Lewis Ave., Atascadero, CA 93422.
Atascadero Municipal Code Title 6 - Health & Sanitation Chapter 13 - Removal of Vegetative Growth and/or Refuse
6-13.01 Generally6-13.02 Definitions6-13.03 Vegetative growth and/or refuse are public nuisances6-13.04 Clearance of vegetative growth6-13.05 Exemption to Section 6-13.046-13.06 Drainage6-13.07 Superseding of Uniform Fire Code(UFC)6-13.08 Notice to destroy or remove vegetative growth and/or refuse6-13.09 Form of notice6-13.10 Hearing of objections6-13.11 Order to abate nuisance6-13.12 Destruction and removal of vegetative growth and/or refuse by City6-13.13 Account and report of cost of abatement6-13.14 Notice of report and hearing6-13.15 Hearing of report: Modification: Confirmation of report6-13.16 Report to Assessor and Tax Collector: Filing copy of report with County Auditor6-13.17 Collection of assessment: Penalties and procedures for foreclosure
Exhibit AExhibit B
Whenever the Fire Chief or his authorized representative shall find vegetative growth, as described in Section 6-13.04, and/or refuse upon any property, lands, or lots in the City, which in his opinion is or may become a fire hazard or a health and safety hazard, he shall have cause to give to the owner of said property a notice to remove such vegetative growth and/or refuse which may constitute a hazard in the manner hereinafter provided in this part. (Ord. 337 § 1 (part), 1998)
The following words, when used in this part, shall be defined as follows unless otherwise indicated:
6-13.03 Vegetative growth and/or refuse are public nuisances
The City Council may declare, by resolution in accordance with Sections 39561—39700 of the Government Code, that vegetative growth, as described in Section 6-13.04 of this chapter, and/or refuse, which are, or may become, a hazard upon or in front of private property to the center line of adjoining streets in the City, are public nuisances.
Also, it is unlawful for any property owner in the City to cause or permit any vegetative growth, as described in Section 6-13.04 of this chapter, and/or refuse to remain on any real property in the City or on portions of streets adjoining such real property to the centerline of such streets. It shall be the duty of every such person to destroy such vegetative growth and remove or destroy such refuse. The City Council may also declare vegetative growth, as seasonal and recurring nuisances. (Ord. 337 § 1 (part), 1998)
6-13.04 Clearance of vegetative growth
Any person owning property in the City shall:
6-13.05 Exemption to Section 6-13.04
An exemption from Section 6-13.04 of this chapter shall apply to any land beyond fifty (50) feet from improved streets, as declared by the City, State or Federal Government, which has been acquired or is managed, for one or more of the following purposes:
Abatement requirements shall remain in effect in waterways where flood preparation measures and emergency flood control mitigation is necessary.
With the permission of the permitting agencies with jurisdiction over the area in question, any drainage shall be cleaned and maintained in a manner that does not restrict the natural or engineered flow of water. (Ord. 337 § 1 (part), 1998)
6-13.07 Superseding of Uniform Fire Code(UFC)
This chapter supersedes the Uniform Fire Code, Appendix II-A, Sections 16 and 17. (Ord. 337 § 1 (part), 1998)
6-13.08 Notice to destroy or remove vegetative growth and/or refuse
In the event the person or persons owning, occupying, renting, managing, or controlling any real property in the City shall fail to remove therefrom and from the portions of streets adjoining such property all vegetative growth, as described in Section 6-13.04, and/or refuse in accordance with the provisions of this part, it shall be the duty of the Fire Chief or his authorized representatives to notify such person(s) to remove the same.
The City Council may direct the City Clerk, in accordance with Section 39567.1 of the Government Code, to mail written notice of the proposed abatement to all persons owning property described in the resolution. The City Clerk shall cause such written notice to be mailed to each person to whom such described property is assessed in the last equalized assessment roll available on the date the resolution was adopted by the City Council. The address of the owner(s) shown on the assessment roll shall be conclusively deemed to be the proper address for the purpose of mailing such notice. Such notice shall be mailed at least fourteen (14) days prior to the time fixed for hearing objections by the City Council. (Ord. 337 § 1 (part), 1998)
6-13.09 Form of notice
The notice shall be substantially in the following form:
NOTICE TO DESTROY VEGETATIVE GROWTH AND/OR REMOVE REFUSE
Notice is hereby given on the________________day of_______________, 20yy, the City Council passed a resolution declaring that (insert the appropriate hazard: noxious weeds, vegetative growth, refuse, etc.) constitute a (insert the appropriate term: fire hazard, or health and safety hazard) which must be abated by the (insert the appropriate phrase: cutting of said noxious weeds, or removal of said health and safety hazard). If the owner does not abate the hazard it will be abated by the City and the cost of the removal assessed upon the County property tax bill, and will constitute a lien upon such land until paid. Reference is hereby made to the resolution for further particulars and Ordinance No. 337. A copy of said resolution is on file in the office of the City Clerk.
All property owners having any objections to the proposed removal of the hazard are hereby notified to attend a meeting of the City Council of the City of Atascadero to be held__________, when their objections will be heard and given due consideration.
Dated this______________day of_____________,20yy.
_______________ Fire Chief City of Atascadero
(Ord. 337 § 1 (part), 1998)
6-13.10 Hearing of objections
At the time stated in the notices, the Council shall hear and consider all objections to the proposed removal of vegetative growth and/or refuse.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the Council shall allow or overrule any objections. At that time, the City acquires jurisdiction to proceed and perform the work of abatement. The decision of the Council is final. (Ord. 337 § 1 (part), 1998)
6-13.11 Order to abate nuisance
If objections have not been made or after the Council has disposed of those made, it shall order the Fire Chief to abate the nuisance(s). (Ord. 337 § 1 (part), 1998)
6-13.12 Destruction and removal of vegetative growth and/or refuse by City
In the event the person or persons owning, occupying, renting, managing, or controlling real property in the City shall fail to remove or destroy vegetative growth and/or refuse, in accordance with provisions of this ordinance within ten (10) calendar days after the hearing of objections an order to abate nuisance, it shall be the duty of the Fire Chief and his deputies, assistants, employees, contacting agent, or other representatives to destroy or remove such vegetative growth and/or refuse. They are expressly authorized to enter upon private property for such purpose. It is unlawful for any person to interfere, hinder, or refuse to allow them to enter upon private property for the purpose(s) to destroy or remove vegetative growth and/or refuse, in accordance with the provisions of this part. Any person owning, occupying, renting, managing, leasing, or controlling real property in the City shall have the right to destroy or remove vegetative growth and/or refuse, or have the same destroyed or removed at his own expense, at any time prior to the arrival of the Fire Chief or his authorized representatives for such purpose(s). (Ord. 337 § 1 (part), 1998)
6-13.13 Account and report of cost of abatement
The Fire Chief or his authorized representatives shall keep an account of the cost of abatement for each separate lot or parcel of land. He shall submit such itemized written report, showing such cost, to the Council for confirmation. Such report shall refer to each separate lot or parcel of land by description sufficiently reasonable to identify the same, together with the expense proposed to be assessed against it, which shall include charges sufficient to pay for the administrative costs of the program. (Ord. 337 § 1 (part), 1998)
6-13.14 Notice of report and hearing
The City Clerk shall make available a copy of such report and assessment list at his/her office together with the notice of the filing thereof and of the time and place when and where it will be submitted to the Council for hearing and confirmation. The copy shall be available for at least five (5) calendar days prior to the submission of the Council. (Ord. 337 § 1 (part), 1998)
6-13.15 Hearing of report: Modification: Confirmation of report
At the time and place fixed for receiving and considering the report, the Council shall hear the same, together with any protests or objections of the property owners liable to be assessed for the abatement. Upon the conclusion of such hearing, the Council shall then confirm the report by motion and the amount thereof shall constitute a lien on the property assessed until paid. The confirmation of the assessment by the Council shall be final and conclusive. (Ord. 337 § 1 (part), 1998)
6-13.16 Report to Assessor and Tax Collector: Filing copy of report with County Auditor
A certified copy of the report shall be filed with the County Auditor on or before August 10th of each year for entry of such assessment of the County tax roll. In the event the report cannot be prepared in time for the County Auditor to enter the assessment on the next immediate tax roll, the certified copy may be filed with the County Auditor anytime before August 10th of the succeeding year. (Ord. 337 § 1 (part), 1998)
6-13.17 Collection of assessment: Penalties and procedures for foreclosure
The amount of the assessment shall be collected at the time and in the manner of ordinary municipal taxes. If delinquent, the amount is subject to the same penalties and procedure of foreclosure and sale provided for ordinary municipal taxes. (Ord. 337 § 1 (part), 1998)
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