ARTICLE II


ABANDONED OR INOPERATIVE VEHICLES ON PUBLIC OR PRIVATE PROPERTY


Sec. 14-016.00 Findings, declarations and authority

    The regulations and provisions of this Article shall not preclude, supercede or repeal any enforcement measures taken, or procedures and regulations adopted, in accordance with the authority granted under La.R.S. 32:473.1 and St. Tammany Parish Code of Ordinances, Chapter 13, Division I, Section 13-002.00. The regulations contained within the Sections of this Article shall be considered as additional and/or supplemental regulations to those contained in Chapter 13, Division I, Section 13-002.00 .

    (A) Findings and Declarations: In addition to and in accordance with the determination made and the authority granted to remove abandoned, inoperative, dismantled, or wrecked vehicles as public nuisances, the St. Tammany Parish Council makes the following findings and declarations:

    The prolonged presence of abandoned, inoperative, dismantled or wrecked vehicles on public and/or private property are found to present a significant and immediate threat to public health and safety as well as to the environment, necessitating their expedient removal from public and private property. These threats include posing a safety hazard to children who might use the abandoned, inoperative, dismantled or wrecked vehicles as playgrounds, rusting automobiles representing a health hazard to those who may come into contact with them, and the damage that such vehicles and debris are sure to cause to the underlying property through the leakage of hazardous fluids into the surrounding ground or water. The environmental and health hazards of these vehicles have been noted by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). DEQ, Hurricane Katrina Debris Management Plan (DEQ 2005). The hazards from automobiles include "gasoline and diesel fuel, refrigerants, lubricating oils, mercury ABS switches, mercury convenience switches, lead acid batteries, brake and transmission fluid, antifreeze, and tires."

    The accumulation of abandoned, inoperative, dismantled or wrecked vehicles on public and/or private property are also found to create a condition tending to reduce the value of property, to promote blight and deterioration, to invite plundering, to create fire hazards, to constitute an attractive nuisance creating a hazard to the health and safety of minors, to create a harborage for rodents and insects, and to be injurious to the health, safety and general welfare.

    Further, an abandoned, inoperative, dismantled or wrecked vehicle on public property, particularly on a street, shoulder, sidewalk, neutral ground or right of way constitutes a traffic hazard and imminent threat to public safety.


    Therefore, the presence of such abandoned, inoperative, dismantled or wrecked vehicles on public or private property, except as may be expressly hereinafter permitted, is declared to constitute a public nuisance which may be abated as such in accordance with the provisions of this Article.

    (B) Authority: This ordinance is adopted pursuant to the authority set forth in La.R.S. 33:4876, La.R.S. 33:1236, La.R.S. 33:471, et seq., and all other applicable authority authorizing the governing authority of any parish to enact ordinances regulating or prohibiting abandoned motor vehicles on public property, left unattended for more than three (3) days, and regulating or prohibiting the storing or abandoning of junk, wrecked or used automobiles or motor vehicles, or any part or parts thereof, on any vacant lot, or any portion of any occupied lot within the parish, to provide for the removal and disposition thereof, to charge the vehicle owner or the property owner therefor, and to otherwise provide with respect thereto, and to provide enforcement and procedures with respect to damaged and inoperable motor vehicles on occupied private property.

SEC.

14-017.00 Definitions


    As Used in this part:

    (a) Abandoned motor vehicle on public property means a motor vehicle that is inoperable and is left unattended on public property for more than three (3) days, or is inoperable and left unattended on the shoulder, neutral ground or sidewalk of any public street, road or right of way for more than three (3) days.

    (b) Abandoned junk, wrecked or used automobiles or motor vehicles on private property means a motor vehicle, situated upon any occupied or unoccupied private property, which is totally inoperable and is so damaged or dismantled as to be a total loss. The term “total loss” shall mean that the cost to repair a damaged or dismantled motor vehicle exceeds the value of such vehicle, as determined by any recognized national appraisal book. Lack of current and/or valid registration, inspection sticker, or license plate alone does not constitute abandoned, inoperative condition.

    (c) Antique vehicle means any motor vehicle twenty-five (25) years or older, which is operable and substantially in its original condition. These vehicles must be registered as antiques and display antique license plates.

    (d) Enforcing agency means the chief of police, sheriff, code enforcement office, or director of public works as well as their duly authorized agents.

    (e) Motor Vehicle or vehicle shall mean every device by which persons or things may be transported upon a public highway or bridge, except devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks, and includes a “motor vehicle”, which is commonly referred to as a car, any passenger vehicle, truck, tractor, tractor-trailer, truck-trailer, motor home, motorcycle, trailer or semi-trailer propelled or drawn by mechanical power. A trailer or semitrailer shall be a separate vehicle.

    (f) Owner of the motor vehicle means the last registered owner.


    (g) Owner of the premises means the owner of the land on which the vehicle is located, as shown on the last equalized assessment roll.    

    (h) Secured motor vehicle means any abandoned junk, wrecked or used automobiles or motor vehicles on private property, which is completely enclosed within a building, garage, or under a carport, or is otherwise covered and placed at the rear of a residence or other primary structure that is located on the property in such a manner that the vehicle is not otherwise visible from the street or other public or private property.

    (i) Unoccupied property means vacant land and property upon which there is a residential or commercial structure that would constitute “blighted property,” a “derelict and dangerous structure,” or be considered “vacant or not lawfully occupied,” although “secured,” as those terms are defined in Ordinance C.S. No. 05-1104, adopted May 5, 2005, and set forth in St. Tammany Parish Code of Ordinances, Chapter 14, Article III. (Ord. 06-1325, adopted 07/06/2006)

Sec. 14-018.00 Prohibition

    (a) It shall constitute a public nuisance, in violation of this ordinance, for an abandoned motor vehicle to remain on public property for more than three (3) days. Such violation shall be a misdemeanor, punishable as set forth herein below.

    (b) It shall constitute a public nuisance, in violation of this ordinance, to have one or more abandoned junk, wrecked or used automobiles or motor vehicles on occupied or unoccupied private property, as that phrase is defined in §14:017.00(b), unless such vehicle is a secured motor vehicle, as that term is defined in §14:017.00(h), or is a motor vehicle that is considered to be an exception to this Article. Such violation shall be a misdemeanor, punishable as set forth herein below.

SEC.

14-019.00 Exceptions


This part shall not apply to:

    (a) A motor vehicle which is completely enclosed within a building, garage, or under a carport, or is otherwise covered and placed at the rear of a residence or other primary structure that is located on the property in such a manner that the vehicle is not otherwise visible from the street or other public or private property;

    (b) Any motor vehicle in an appropriate storage place or depository maintained at a location where such business is authorized under the comprehensive zoning ordinance and other regulatory ordinances of the city-parish;

    (c) Any motor vehicle in operable condition specifically adapted or constructed for racing or operation on privately owned drag strips or raceways;

    (d) Any antique vehicle retained by the owner for collection purposes, as defined herein, rather than for salvage or for transportation; and

    (e) Any motor vehicle stored as the property of a member of the armed forces the United States who is on active duty assignment. (Ord. 06-1325, adopted 07/06/2006)


Sec. 14-020.00 Notice and Procedure for removal

    (1) The following shall be contained within a notice that is posted on any abandoned motor vehicle on public property, and abandoned junk, wrecked or used automobiles or motor vehicles on private property:

    (a) Description of the motor vehicle: Make, Model, Type, License Number and VIN number, if determinable;

    (b) Location of vehicle, including municipal address where applicable;

    (c) Date and time of posting;

    (d) Name of enforcing officer, enforcing agency and telephone number;

    (e) A statement that the identified motor vehicle will be removed from its location because of one of the following conditions:

     -In the case of an abandoned motor vehicle on public property: Warning, this vehicle has been posted for being in violation of parish ordinance Section 14:018.00(a), an abandoned motor vehicle on public property, and must be removed, within seventy-two (72) hours following the date and time shown on this notice, or the vehicle will be removed and stored, at the owner's expense, and disposed of in accordance with law.

     -In the case of abandoned junk, wrecked or used automobiles or motor vehicles on unoccupied private property: Warning, this vehicle has been posted for being in violation of parish ordinance Section 14:018.00(b), an abandoned junk, wrecked or used automobile or motor vehicle on unoccupied private property, and must be removed, within fifteen (15) days following the date and time shown on this notice, or the vehicle will be removed and stored, at the owner's expense, and disposed of in accordance with law.

    (2) In the case of abandoned junk, wrecked or used automobiles or motor vehicles on private property that is occupied, in lieu of posting a notice on the vehicle as provided in part one (1) of this section, the enforcing agency shall provide written notice to the owner of the premises, by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, which shall provide the following:

    (a) Description of the motor vehicle: Make, Model, Type, License Number and VIN number, if determinable;

    (b) Location of vehicle, including municipal address where applicable;

    (c) Name of enforcing officer, enforcing agency and telephone number;
                        
    (d) A statement that the vehicle is in violation of parish ordinance Section 14:018.00(b), an abandoned junk, wrecked or used automobile or motor vehicle on occupied private property, and that the vehicle must be removed or secured, within fifteen (15) days of the date of this notice, or a request for administrative hearing must be requested, in writing, within fifteen (15) days following the date of this notice. The vehicle may be secured, and the

nuisance abated, by completely enclosing the vehicle within a building, garage, or under a carport, or by covering the vehicle and placing it at the rear of a residence or other primary structure that is located on the property in such a manner that the vehicle is not otherwise visible from the street or other public or private property. Warning, if the vehicle is not removed or secured, within fifteen (15) days of the date of this notice, or an administrative hearing requested, within fifteen (15) days of the date of this notice, and the Administrative Hearing Officer thereafter determines that you are in violation of the ordinance, the Administrative Hearing Officer may order the vehicle to be removed and stored, at the owner's expense, and disposed of in accordance with law.

Sec. 14-020.01 Notice presumed from refused certified mail

    For purposes of this Article, when the owner of the premises, or owner of the vehicle, has been served notice by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, as set forth in Section 14:020.00(2) or (3), and such registered or certified mail is refused, the owner is deemed to have received notice in accordance with the provisions of this Article, and the fifteen (15) day period commences to run on the date of refusal. (Ord. 06-1325, adopted 07/06/2006)

Sec. 14-021.00 Investigation and Enforcement

    An officer of the enforcing agency is authorized to enter private property, without the consent of the owner of the premises, for the purpose of investigating and/or posting any motor vehicle, when the enforcing officer reasonably believes that there is a violation of this ordinance.

    Following the posting of any motor vehicle and/or service of written notice, an officer of the enforcing agency is authorized to enter private property, without the consent of the owner of the premises, for the purpose of removing any motor vehicle that is determined to be in violation of this ordinance and authorized to be removed.

    The removal, storage and disposition of any motor vehicle, which is found to be in violation of this ordinance and subject to removal by the enforcing agency, shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of this Article.

    The Parish may employ its own personnel, equipment and facilities for the removal and/or the storage of any vehicle determined to be in violation of this ordinance or may employ such persons, equipment and facilities for the purpose of removing, storing and disposing of any such vehicles.

Sec. 14-022.00 Penalty for failing or refusing to comply

    The failure or refusal to comply with the provisions of this Article shall constitute a misdemeanor, and the violator shall be subject to the issuance of a misdemeanor summons. The penalty shall be a fine up to five hundred dollars ($500.00) or thirty (30) days imprisonment, or both such fine and imprisonment for each violation.

    In the case of one or more abandoned junk, wrecked or used automobiles or motor vehicles on occupied or unoccupied private property, each vehicle found to be in violation of this ordinance shall constitute a separate offense. Each day that the nuisance remains, following expiration of the time to remove or secure the vehicle, or to apply for an

administrative hearing, shall constitute a separate offense and a civil penalty of Fifty ($50.00) Dollars per day shall be imposed.

    In all cases where a vehicle has been determined to be in violation of this Article, and the vehicle is removed and stored by the enforcing agency as authorized, the owner shall be responsible for all costs and charges associated with the removal, storage and disposition of such vehicle. If a vehicle is removed and stored by the enforcing agency, and the vehicle is subsequently claimed by the owner or representative, the owner or representative, upon claiming the vehicle, shall be responsible for the payment of all costs and charges associated with the removal, storage and disposition of a said vehicle. The costs and charges associated with the removal and storage of a vehicle shall not exceed the amount of two hundred ($200.00) dollars, for removal, and thirty ($30.00) dollars per day storage.

    In lieu of, or in addition to, the issuance of a misdemeanor summons, the failure or refusal to comply with the provisions of this chapter is enforceable by imposition of civil penalties, through the Bureau of Administrative Adjudication, and/or by civil action in District Court.

Sec. 14-023.00 Notice of Removal, Storage, Disposition and Associated Costs

    Whenever any motor vehicle is found to be in violation of this ordinance, and the requirements to remove the motor vehicle have been satisfied, the vehicle may be removed from public or private property, in accordance with the following:

     The motor vehicle shall be removed to, and stored at, a parish designated storage area, pending notice in accordance with the following:

    (1) Notice: Within seventy-two(72) hours of removal, the owner of the vehicle, or the owner of the private property from which the vehicle was removed, shall be provided with notice of the removal and the intended disposition of the vehicle in the following manner:

    (a)    By registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the last registered owner of the vehicle, or to the owner of the private property as shown on the last equalized assessment roll.

    (b)     The notice shall inform the owner of the specific location where the vehicle is being stored and shall provide a telephone number that the owner may call for more information and assistance.

    (c)    The notice shall include a copy of any posting notice that was placed on the vehicle.

    (d)    The notice shall inform the owner of the vehicle that unless the vehicle is claimed in person, by the owner or representative of the owner (the insurer, lien holder, mortgage holder, or agent with written authority of the owner), within three (3) months of the mailing of the notice, the vehicle shall be considered abandoned and, therefore, public property to be disposed of in accordance with the provisions set forth in subparagraph three (3) below.

    (e)    The notice shall inform the owner of the costs and charges that must be paid upon claiming the vehicle.



    (f)    For purposes of this Article, when the owner of the premises, or owner of the vehicle, has been sent notice by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, and such certified mail is refused, the owner is deemed to have received notice in accordance with this provision, as of the date of the refusal.

    (2) Disposition Following Second Notice: At the expiration of the three (3) month period in which to claim the vehicle that was removed and stored, any vehicle that has not been claimed by the owner, within three (3) months of the notice of removal and intended disposition, shall be deemed to be an abandoned vehicle and the enforcing agency may thereafter dispose of the vehicle in the following manner:

    (a) In the case of any vehicle that was removed from public or private property and stored, as set forth herein above, and the owner has not claimed the vehicle within the three (3) month period allowed following notice of the removal and the intended disposition, the owner shall be sent a second notice, by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, which shall be sent to the owner at his last known address. The notice shall inform the owner that the vehicle shall be sold to the highest bidder, unless said owner, on or before the date of sale, claims the vehicle and pays the costs and charges imposed, which amount shall be set forth in the notice. The costs and charges shall not exceed the amount of two hundred ($200.00), for towing/removal, and thirty ($30.00) dollars per day storage. In
    any case where the owner or his representative does not claim the vehicle and pay the costs and charges, within the time allowed, the enforcing agency may proceed to dispose of the vehicle in accordance with the provisions hereof.

    (b)Before the sale of any such vehicles, the enforcing agency shall have them appraised by a competent appraiser and shall publish a notice of the proposed sale of said vehicle or vehicles in the official journal of the parish not less than three times within a ten-day period prior to the date of said sale. The published notice shall contain a complete list of the vehicles to be sold, the date and place of said sale, and notification that said vehicles will be sold either individually or in globo to the highest bidder therefor, all in the discretion of the parish authority.

    (c) All funds received from the sale of a motor vehicle under the provisions hereof shall be set aside and placed in a separate account established therefor by the parish. If, within one year following the date of the sale, the owner or lien holders of any of said vehicles shall present sufficient proof of his ownership or lien, the said owner or lien holder shall be entitled to the amount received for his individual vehicle less the costs and expenses of the sale, as well as all charges and costs due and owing for removal and storage of said vehicle. Any funds not claimed within one year following the date of sale shall be deposited to the general fund of the parish.
(Ord. 06-1325, adopted 07/06/2006)

SEC.

14-024.00 Right to enter upon private property


The enforcing agency or its duly authorized agents shall be authorized to enter upon private property or public property to investigate a vehicle, or parts thereof, alleged to be a nuisance pursuant to this chapter.

        SEC.

14-025.00 Notice to owner or occupant to abate public nuisance on occupied or unoccupied premises

.

(a)     Whenever any public nuisance, as provided for herein, exists on occupied or unoccupied premises within the parish in violation of Section 14-021.00, the enforcing agency shall order the owner of the vehicle, or the owner or the occupant of the premises whereon such public nuisance exists, to abate or remove the same. Such order shall:

    1.     Be in writing;
    2.     Specify the public nuisance and its location;
    3.     Specify the corrective measures required and the enforcement measures that may be taken;
    4.     Provide for compliance within fifteen (15) days from the service thereof; and
    5.     Provide for an opportunity for a pre-enforcement hearing before the Parish Director of Planning by written request received by the enforcing agency within ten (10) days of receipt of notice.
    
(b)     The order shall be served upon the owner or occupant of the premises by serving him personally or by sending the order by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the address of the premises or of the owner if different from the premises, and the address shown by the Louisiana Department of Motor Vehicles for the vehicle in question.

(c)     Within the fifteen-day period after service of notice, the owner or occupant of the premises or the owner of the vehicle shall abate the nuisance by (1) removing the nuisance from the premises, or (2) enclosing the vehicle as provided in Section 14- 023.00(a).

(d)     It shall be the responsibility of the owner or occupant of the property or owner of the vehicle to notify the enforcing agency as soon as the vehicle has been removed or enclosed. Upon notification, the enforcing agency will set up an appointment in order to verify that compliance has taken place.

(e)     If owner or occupant of the premises or the owner of the vehicle fails to abate the nuisance within the fifteen-day period of notification and fails to timely request a hearing, the enforcing agency may issue a misdemeanor summons to the owner or occupant of the premises or may seek to have the vehicle removed from the premises by means of injunctive relief and imposition of civil penalties.

SEC.

14-026.00 Notice presumed from refused certified mail


For purposes of this chapter, when the owner of the premises or owner of the vehicle has been served notice by certified mail as set forth in Section 14-025.00, and such certified mail is refused, the owner is deemed to have received notice in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, and the fifteen-day period commences to run on the date of refusal.

SEC.

14-027.00 Failure or refusal to comply


The failure or refusal to comply with the provisions of this chapter shall constitute a misdemeanor, and the violator shall be subject to the issuance of a misdemeanor summons. The penalty shall be a fine up to five hundred dollars ($500.00) or six (6) months imprisonment or both for each violation.


In lieu of the issuance of a misdemeanor summons, or in addition thereto, the failure or refusal to comply with the provisions of this chapter may be enforced by imposition of civil penalties and injunctive relief. Each day that the nuisance remains, following expiration of the time to apply for a hearing as set forth in Section 14-025.00(a)(5), shall constitute a separate offense and a civil penalty of fifty dollars ($50.00) per day shall be imposed.

SEC.

14-028.00 Removal from occupied premises when owner's whereabouts are unknown or notice is returned unclaimed


When there is an abandoned, inoperative, junked or wrecked vehicle on premises that are unoccupied and the identity or whereabouts of the owner of the premises is unknown or unascertainable after a diligent search has been made, or if notice sent to the last record owner of the property by certified mail has been returned as unclaimed, then the enforcing agency shall place an advertisement in the official journal of St. Tammany Parish for the whereabouts of the owner on two (2) occasions within a period of thirty (30) days. If no response is forthcoming after the thirty-day period, then the enforcing agency may take possession of the vehicle and remove it from the premises in accordance with the provisions of LSA R.S. 32:471 et seq. The enforcing agency may thereafter dispose of the vehicle in the same manner as provided in LSA R.S. 32:471 et seq.

SEC.

14-029.00 Removal of vehicles from private property


Private property owners, whether commercial or residential, have the power, as authorized by general law, to cause vehicles to be removed from their property illegally situated thereon. In any case where an owner requests any law enforcement agency having jurisdiction, to cause to be removed from his property a vehicle said by the property owner to be illegally situated on his property and has filed with such law enforcement agency an acceptable indemnification agreement, such law enforcement agency shall be authorized and empowered to cause the vehicle to be removed by wrecker service in accordance with established policies and procedures for obtaining of wrecker services by law enforcement agencies in the parish.
(Ord. No. 03-0793, adopted 11/06/2003)

ARTICLE III

        BLIGHTED PROPERTY, DERELICT AND DANGEROUS BUILDINGS AND OTHER DANGEROUS STRUCTURES PROHIBITED
    
Sec. 14-030.00 Findings and declarations

    In addition to and in accordance with the determination made and the authority granted by La. R.S. 33:4754, to secure and remove any building or other structure which, by reason of its nature or condition, endangers the public welfare or safety, La. R.S. 33:1236(49), relating to the repair and condemnation of buildings, dwellings, and other structures that have become derelict and present a danger to the health and welfare of residents of the parish, and La.R.S. 14:107.3, relating to criminal blighting of property, which means those commercial or residential premises, including lots, which have been declared vacant, uninhabitable, and hazardous by the administrative hearing officer, any such building or other structure which, by reason of its nature or condition, endangers the public welfare or safety, any such buildings, dwellings and other structures that have become derelict and present a danger to the health and welfare of residents of the parish, and any commercial or

residential premises, including lots, which have been declared vacant, uninhabitable, and hazardous by the administrative hearing officer are hereby declared to constitute a public nuisance, which is expressly prohibited and which may be abated as such in accordance with the provisions of this part.

    For purposes of this ordinance, any property defined as “blighted property,” “derelict and dangerous,” “otherwise dangerous to human life” or “vacant or not lawfully occupied” shall constitute a public nuisance. Any property that is determined to be a public nuisance, following due notice and a hearing conducted in accordance with the provisions set forth herein, shall be ordered by the hearing officer to be secured and repaired, or the violation corrected, or, depending upon the circumstances, shall declare the property condemned and order it to be demolished and removed. Additionally, the hearing officer shall have all such other authority as set forth herein after.

Sec. 14-030.01 Standards and Definitions

A. Blighted Property. For the purposes of, and in order to meet the provisions of, R.S. 14:107.3:

    (1) "Blighted property" means those commercial or residential premises, including lots, which have been declared vacant, uninhabitable, and hazardous by an administrative hearing officer. Such premises may include premises which, because of their physical condition, are considered hazardous to persons or property, have been declared or certified blighted, and have been declared to be a public nuisance by an administrative hearing officer.

    (2) "Housing violations" means only those conditions in privately owned structures which are determined to constitute a threat or danger to the public health, safety, and welfare or to the environment.
    (3) "Public nuisance,” for purposes of blighted property, means any garage, shed, barn, house, building, or structure, that by reason of the condition in which it is permitted to remain, may endanger the health, life, limb, or property of any person, or cause any hurt, harm, damages, injury, or loss to any person in any one or more of the following conditions:
    (a) The property is dilapidated, decayed, unsafe, or unsanitary, is detrimental to health, morals, safety, public welfare, and the well-being of the community, endangers life or property, or is conducive to ill health, delinquency, and crime.
    (b) The property is a fire hazard.

    (c) The conditions present on the property and its surrounding grounds are not reasonably or adequately maintained, thereby causing deterioration and creating a blighting influence or condition on nearby properties and thereby depreciating the value, use, and enjoyment to such an extent that it is harmful to the public health, welfare, morals, safety, and the economic stability of the area, community, or neighborhood in which such public nuisance is located.
B. Derelict and Dangerous. R.S. 33:1236 (49)(a)(I)


    (1) The phrase "derelict and present a danger to the health and welfare,” as used herein, shall include, but not be limited to, buildings or structures which have any of the following characteristics:

    (a) Those which are structurally unsafe, as follows:

        (i).    Those which have interior walls or other vertical structural members that list, lean or buckle to such an extent that a plumb line passing through the center of gravity falls outside the middle third of its base.

        (ii).    Those which, exclusive of the foundation, show thirty-three (33) percent or more of damage or deterioration of the supporting member or members or fifty (50) percent of damage or deterioration of the non supporting, enclosing or outside walls or covering.

        (iii).    Those which have improperly distributed loads upon the floors or roofs or in which the same are overloaded, or which have insufficient strength to be reasonably safe for the purpose used.

        (iv).    As a result of deterioration, inadequate maintenance, damage by fire, wind or other causes so to have become dangerous to life, safety, morals or the general health and welfare of the occupants or people of the parish.

    (b)    Those which are unhealthful, as follows:

        (i).    Those which are so dilapidated, decayed or unsanitary or which so utterly fail to provide the amenities essential to decent living that they are unfit for human habitation, or are likely to cause sickness or disease, so as to work injury to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of those occupying such building.

        (ii).    Reserved

    (c)    Those which constitute a fire hazard, as follows:

        (i).    Those buildings containing electrical wiring and appliances in dangerous and defective conditions likely to cause fire. Electrical wiring and appliances installed or in use which are not in compliance with the provisions of any ordinance of the parish regarding such wiring or appliances and the installation thereof shall be deemed dangerous and defective.

        (ii).    Those buildings containing gas plumbing or appliances in dangerous or defective condition likely to cause fire. Gas plumbing or appliances installed or in use which are not in compliance with the provisions of any ordinances of this parish regulating such plumbing and appliances and the installation thereof shall be deemed dangerous and defective.

        (iii).    Those buildings which contain combustible or explosive matter or accumulation of rubbish, trash or unnecessary accumulation of waste

paper, boxes, shavings or any highly flammable materials especially liable to fire, therein, or in close proximity thereto.

        (iv).    Those buildings containing numerous openings in the walls or other unstopped spaces throughout, attributable to vandalism or general disrepair, which increased the risk of conflagration in the area.

        (v).    Those buildings which are vacant and have windows, doors or other openings which remain unsecured permitting entry by unauthorized persons.

        (vi).    Those buildings which contain other fire hazards in violation of the National Fire Prevention Act, the state fire marshal act, the building code, and provisions of the Code or other ordinances of this parish if the violation is of such a nature that the building constitutes a danger to its occupants and/or others.

    (d)    Those which are otherwise dangerous to human life:

        (i).    Those, regardless of their structural condition, which have during times that they were not actually occupied by their owners, lessees or other invitees, been left unsecured from unauthorized entry to the extent that they may be entered and utilized by vagrants or other uninvited persons as a place of harborage or may be entered and utilized by children as a play area.

        (ii).    Those which have part thereof which are so attached that they may fall and injure members of the public or property.

        (iii).    Those which are not provided with adequate egress.

        (iv).    Those buildings existing in violation of any provisions of this Code, the building code, the fire code, or other ordinances of this parish if the violation is of such a nature that the building constitutes a danger to its occupants and/or others.

    C. Vacant or Not Lawfully Occupied: “Vacant or not lawfully occupied” building or other structure shall include but not be limited to any premises which is not actually occupied by its owner, lessee, or other invitee, and has been left unsecured or inadequately secured from unauthorized entry to the extent that the premises may be entered and utilized by vagrants or other invited persons as a place of harborage or any premises which by reason of dilapidation, deterioration, state of disrepair, or other such status is otherwise detrimental to or endangers public safety, health or welfare. The property does not have to have been declared blighted.

    D. Secured: For the purposes of this Section, the term "secured" shall mean the closing of the building or structure by means of placing or attaching boards or other materials over doors, windows, and other means of entrance in order to prohibit persons from entering the building or structure and in order to maintain it in its present condition without further damage to such building or structure or danger to the public welfare and safety.


    (1) A building that is boarded up, fenced or otherwise secured in any manner may, nevertheless, be deemed to be a dangerous building under the foregoing criteria if:

    (a).    The building constitutes a danger to the public even though secured from entry; or

    (b).    It is found that the means utilized to secure the building are not adequate to prevent unauthorized entry of the building.

Sec. 14-030.02. Hearing; notice and placarding of building or structure

    Hearings before the administrative hearing officer shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions set forth in Chapter 1, Article 1, Sec. 1-012.12 Hearing Practice and Procedures.

    (a)    If a building or structure has, upon inspection, been found to be in violation of the provisions set forth herein above, the building shall be posted with a violation notice in accordance with Ch. 1, Art. 1 § 1-012.12(b) and written notice of the hearing shall be made in accordance with the provisions Ch. 1, Art. 1 § 1-012.12 of this Code.

    (b)    After completion of the presentation of testimony by all parties appearing at the scheduled hearing, the hearing officer shall make written findings of fact as to whether or not the building or structure constitutes “blighted property,” “derelict and dangerous,” “otherwise dangerous” or vacant or not lawfully occupied” according to the definitions and standards set forth in Sec. 14-021.01 herein above.

    If the hearing officer finds that the building or structure is in violation of the standards and definitions set forth in Sec. 14-021.01 herein above, the hearing officer shall issue an order directing the owner, occupant and all other persons having an interest in said building as shown by the mortgage and conveyance records of the parish where the land is located:

    (1)    That the building shall be vacated if same is occupied and the hearing officer finds that the building is in such condition as to make it dangerous to the health, safety or welfare of its occupants;

    (2)    That the building shall be either repaired or demolished and removed (at the owner's option), if it can reasonably be brought into compliance by repair;

    (3)    That the building be demolished and removed if it cannot reasonably be repaired; and

    (4)    If the building is unoccupied and the condition of the building is such that it may be brought into compliance by securing it from unauthorized entry, then the order may provide that it be secured and be kept secured and may include or adopt written specifications that must be complied with in securing the building and the order may provide that the building be demolished and removed if it is not secured in compliance therewith.


    If the hearing officer finds that the building or structure is in violation of the standards and definitions set forth in Sec. 14-021.01 herein above, the hearing officer shall order that the parish place a notice or notices in a conspicuous place on such building; such notice to read as follows:

    This building has been found to be a dangerous building. Occupancy of this building is prohibited by law as such occupancy is dangerous to the health, safety and welfare of its occupants. This notice is posted (here the notice shall set forth the date and hour such notice is posted). All persons must vacate this building not later than forty-eight (48) hours after the time of posting and shall not re-enter the same until the parish finds that the building has been repaired so as to be in compliance with the ordinances of the Parish of St. Tammany with the requisite permits and inspections. This notice shall remain on this building until it is repaired or demolished.

    If the hearing officer finds that the building is in such condition that repairs are allowed, the hearing officer shall order that the parish post a notice or notices in conspicuous place on such building, such notice(s) to read as follows:

    This building has been found to be a dangerous building by the Parish of St. Tammany. No person shall enter this building except persons authorized by the owner who enter solely for the purpose of correcting the hazardous conditions therein with the requisite permits and inspections of St. Tammany Parish. This notice shall remain on this building until it is repaired or demolished.

    The persons having an interest in the property shall be given a reasonable period of time in which to comply with the hearing officer's order, such period not to exceed thirty (30) days, unless, in the judgment and discretion of the hearing officer, it is determined that a greater period of time is necessary. The order shall state the date by which the action ordered must be completed, and state that the Parish agency or department having enforcement responsibility shall cause the building to be vacated, repaired and/or demolished if the persons having an interest in the property do not comply with the order. The order of the hearing officer shall be served on all persons having an interest in the property as provided in Ch. 1, Art. 1 § 1-012.12(i) of this Code.

    A copy of the order of the hearing officer shall also be filed in the mortgage and conveyance records of the parish in which the land lies.

    ( c)     If the persons having an interest in the property fail to comply with the order of the hearing officer within the time specified in the order for compliance, the Parish agency or department having enforcement responsibility shall cause such building to be vacated, repaired and/or demolished pursuant to the order of the hearing officer.

    (d)    In any instance in which an order had been issued that a building be brought into compliance by securing the building and the owner complies with the order by securing the building, the hearing officer's case file shall, nevertheless, remain active for a period of three (3) years from the date of signature of the order. The Parish agency or department having enforcement responsibility may request that the hearing officer reconvene the hearing if he receives evidence that the building has not remained secured and is in contravention of this Article. Upon notice to the owner, lien holders, occupants and other persons

having an interest in the property, the hearing officer shall reconvene the hearing. If the hearing officer finds that the building remains a dangerous building notwithstanding the owner's efforts to secure it, he may issue a revised order that the building be demolished.

Sec. 14-031.00 Emergencies

A.    In cases where it reasonably appears that there is immediate danger to the health, life or safety of any person unless the building is immediately repaired, vacated, demolished or secured, the Parish agency or department having enforcement responsibility shall report such facts to the director of the department of inspection and code enforcement. If the director finds that there is in fact an immediate danger to the health, life or safety of any person unless the building is immediately repaired, vacated, demolished or secured, he shall cause the immediate repair, vacation, demolition or securing of such building, without any requirement for notice to the owner or interested parties in advance.

B.    Whenever the director causes a building to be repaired, vacated, demolished or secured pursuant to this section, he shall cause a notice, as described in Ch. 1, Art. 1 § 1- 012.12(b), to be posted on the building.

    Further, whenever the director causes a building to be repaired, vacated, demolished or secured pursuant to this section, he shall also cause notice to be given to the owners and lien holders of the building, all persons having possession of any portion thereof, and all other persons who may have an interest in the building that a hearing will be held concerning the orders issued in connection therewith. The notice shall set forth the specific conditions which render the building an immediate danger, within the standards set forth herein above, the date, time and place of such hearing, that all persons having an interest in the building may appear in person and/or be represented by an attorney, and may present testimony and may cross-examine all witnesses. The notice shall comply with the provisions set out in Ch. 1, Art. 1 § 1-012.12 of this Code, however, the hearing shall be held as soon as it is reasonably possible, but in no case later than ten (10) days after the director of the Parish agency or department having enforcement responsibility has caused the building to be repaired, vacated, demolished or secured, unless all persons having either an ownership interest or a possessory interest in the building request a continuance of the hearing. At such a hearing, the burden shall be upon the parish to show that there was an immediate danger to health, life or safety necessitating immediate action, and whether the building constitutes a dangerous building within the provisions of this article at the time of the hearing. After completion of the presentation of the testimony by all parties appearing, the hearing officer shall make written findings of fact as to whether or not the building was an immediate danger to health, life or safety necessitating the action taken by the director of the department of inspection and code enforcement, and whether the building was a dangerous building within the provisions of this article. If the hearing officer finds that there was an immediate danger to public health, life or safety that required the action that was taken, all administrative expenses and any cost of repair or demolition shall be calculated and assessed to the owners of the building, and shall constitute a lien and privilege on the land on which the building stands or stood, which shall bear legal interest at the rate provided by law. If the hearing officer finds that the building, at the time of the hearing, constitutes a dangerous building within the provisions of this article, he shall issue an order for its abatement as set out in Sec. 14- 021.02 above. The provisions of Sec. 14-021.02, above, and Ch. 1, Art. 1 § 1-012.12 shall be applicable to any such order.


Sec. 14-031.01 Caused By Or Related To The Effects Of Natural Disasters

A.     When removal of debris and demolition of structures from private properties is necessitated by the effects of a natural disaster or other related causes, the Parish will adopt and incorporate, in full, a Plan for Demolition and Removal set out by Parish Council Resolution and/or by Emergency Executive Order of the Parish President, which will govern the demolition and removal of said structures and debris.

B.    With respect to the provisions of this Section, any and all requirements to assess or levy fees, costs, liens and the like may be waived by the Office of the Parish President.
    
C.    With respect to the provisions of this Section, any and all requirements for notice may be waived by the Office of the Parish President.

D.     Where there exists any conflict between an adopted Plan under this Section and the provisions of Article III, the Plan shall control.

E.     Where there exists any conflict between an adopted Plan and an Emergency Executive Order, the Executive Order shall control. (Ord. No. 06-1271, adopted 03/02/2006)

Sec. 14-032.00 Civil Penalty

    For any violation of the provisions of this Article, a civil penalty of not less than $100.00 per day and no more than $500.00 per day shall be imposed by order of the Hearing Officer. Each day that the violation exists shall constitute a separate violation. In addition to the imposition of the aforesaid penalty, the Hearing Officer shall order the violator to pay all costs and fees incurred by the parish for securing, demolition or removal, or both, of such structures, and for maintenance of property in a sanitary condition.

Sec. 14-032.01 Liens

    Liens for removal and securing dangerous structures; maintenance of property; interest; assistance of national guard.

    A. (1) Upon failure of the property owner to pay any fine levied by the hearing officer, or any costs incurred by the parish for securing, or demolition or removal, or both, of such structures, and for maintenance of property in a sanitary condition, the hearing officer or finance director of the parish may file a certified copy of the order levying a fine or fines or a copy of an invoice reflecting the amount of such costs and fees with the recorder of mortgages, and the same, when so filed and recorded, shall operate as a lien and privilege in favor of the parish against the property.

    (2) Any fine, costs and interest on costs incurred by the parish shall be paid prior to cancellation of the lien. The rate of interest shall not exceed the rate of legal interest, as provided in Civil Code Article 2924 , and shall be computed from the date of recordation of the lien until paid or enforced.
    (3) The lien obtained by the parish shall not only include the costs provided for in Subsection A of this Section but shall include all attorneys' fees and all costs incurred in the locating of the owner, notification of the owner, and the enforcement and collection of the amount secured by the lien.



    (4) In accordance with R.S. 33:4754, the parish's privilege and lien shall prime all other liens or privileges against the property filed after the notice to the owner is filed with the recorder of mortgages pursuant to this Section, regardless of the date on which the parish's lien and privilege is perfected, except that parish's lien and privilege will not prime other tax liens against the property.

    B. (1)(a) After the parish has levied such fine or fines or incurred such costs as constitute the lien and privilege on the property, the director of finance or equivalent officer may add said amounts to the next ad valorem tax bill of the owner, and said amount shall be subject to the same interest and penalties as delinquent ad valorem taxes.
    
    (2) If within six months after the filing of the lien provided for in this Section, the property owner fails to pay such lien and any interest thereon, the director of finance or equivalent officer of the parish may offer for sale and subsequently sell or otherwise convey such property. The procedure for notice, advertisement, and sale of the property shall be governed by the law applicable to the sale of real property for delinquent municipal or parish taxes except that the property owner's right of redemption shall be limited to six months from the time the property is sold. Redemption by the original owner shall require reimbursement of any expenses incurred by the purchaser in the purchase and renovation of the property in addition to payment of liens placed on the property pursuant to this Section, interest thereon, and any amounts required by law applicable to the redemption of property sold for delinquent taxes.

    (3) Alternatively, the privilege and lien may be enforced in the district court pursuant to the Code of Civil Procedure, and may be enforced either against the subject property or against the owner personally by ordinary process and subsequent seizure and sale or garnishment of other movable or immovable property of the owner pursuant to the Code of Civil Procedure.
    
    (4) The amount of any parish lien operating against the property and any interest accruing thereon may be canceled in whole or in part by the governing authority of the parish in order to facilitate the sale or disposition of the property for the unpaid lien.

    (5) The provisions of this Section shall not apply to any building or appurtenances on agricultural land when such land is used for agricultural purposes.

    C. (1) The governing authority of the parish may request and the adjutant general may assign subject to the approval of the governor, national guard personnel and equipment to assist in the removal and demolition of condemned buildings, structures, or public nuisances. The provisions of this Subsection shall be applicable when the budget for the demolition and removal of condemned structures has been expended by the governing authority of the parish. However, the request must be accompanied by documentation that all procedural protections and substantive restraints have been adhered to by the parish.     (2) In the event all procedural protections and substantive restraints have been adhered to by the parish, the parish and its personnel and the national guard and its personnel shall not be liable to the owner of the building, structure, or public nuisance for any damages sustained resulting from the demolition of the building, structure, or public nuisance.
Sec. 14-033.00 Appeals
                


    A. Any person or persons jointly or severally aggrieved by any decision of the St. Tammany Parish Hearing Officer shall have a right to appeal the decision in accordance with the provisions set forth in Chapter 1, Article 1, Section 1-012.18.
(Ord. No. 05-1104, adopted 05/05/05)