CITY OF ISANTI
ORDINANCE NO. 576
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE CITY CODE ADDING CHAPTER 65,
THE CITY COUNCIL OF ISANTI DOES ORDAIN:
65-2 Alternative methods of
65-3 General Provisions
65-4 Authority to issue order to correct
letters and administrative citations
65-5 Administrative citations
65-6 Administrative hearing 65-7 Recovery of civil penalties
The City Council determines that there is a need for alternative methods of enforcing the City Code. While criminal fines and penalties have been the most frequent enforcement mechanism, there are certain negative consequences for both the City and the accused. The delay inherent in that system does not ensure prompt resolution. Citizens resent being labeled as criminals for violations of administrative regulations. The higher burden of proof and the potential of incarceration do not appear appropriate for most administrative violations. The criminal process does not always regard City Code violations as being important. Accordingly, the City Council finds the use of administrative citations and the imposition of civil penalties a legitimate and necessary alternative method of enforcement. This method of enforcement is in addition to any other legal remedy that may be pursued for City Code violations.
65-2. Alternative methods of enforcement.
A. The administrative hearing process provided for within this Article shall be in addition to any other legal or equitable remedy available to the City for City Code violations.
B. The City may initiate a civil enforcement action to obtain code compliance before, during or after an administrative enforcement proceeding.
C. If the final adjudication in the administrative penalty procedure is a finding of no violation, then the City may not prosecute a criminal violation in district court based on the same set of facts. This does not preclude the City from pursuing an administrative penalty or a criminal conviction for a violation of the same provision of the City Code based on a different set of facts. A different date of violation shall constitute a different set of facts and a separate offense.
65-3. General provisions.
A. A violation of a provision of the City Code or a violation of the terms and conditions of a City approval, including permits and licenses, required and granted under this Code is an administrative offense that may be subject to an administrative citation and civil penalties. Each day a violation exists constitutes a separate offense.
B. An offense may be subject to a civil penalty not exceeding one thousand ($1,000) dollars per separate offense.
C. The City Council will adopt by Resolution a schedule of penalties for offenses initiated by administrative citations. The City Council is not bound by the schedule when a matter is appealed to it for administrative review.
D. The City Council may adopt a schedule of fees to be paid to administrative hearing officers for their services.
65-4. Authority to issue order to correct letters and administrative citations.
The following City employees and agents are authorized to issue compliance letters and administrative citations for violation of the City Code and other associated Ordinances:
A. Licensed peace officers of the Isanti Police Department;
B. Code Enforcement/Zoning Technician;
C. Community Development Director;
D. City Planner;
E. Animal Control Officer; or
F. Building Official.
65-5. Administrative citations.
A. A person authorized to enforce provisions of the City Code may issue an administrative citation upon belief that a code violation has occurred. The citation must be issued in person or by first class mail to the person responsible for the violation. The citation must state the date, time, and nature of the offense, the identity of the person issuing the citation, the amount of the scheduled fine, and the manner for paying the fine or appealing the citation. The administrative citation shall be deemed served upon deposit in the US mail to the address of the violator, certificate of said service by the official issuing the citation. If the City seeks to impose more than one fine for a continuing violation, a separate citation shall be issued for each violation date.
B. The person responsible for the violation must either pay the scheduled fine or request a hearing within ten (10) calendar days after issuance of the citation. Payment of the fine constitutes admission of the violation. A late payment fee of ten (10%) percent of the scheduled fine amount will be imposed. The fines may be rescinded if compliance is achieved by the compliance date provided.
C. A hearing request must be made in writing and executed by the property owner or person with an ownership interest in the property. It must minimally state the name and mailing address of that person, the persons relationship to the property involved, and a brief statement why the citation is in error and a hearing is being requested.
D. A property owner may request an extension to come into compliance, which may be granted or denied by the City. If an extension to come into compliance is requested and granted, and the property owner does not come into compliance by the extension date, the administrative fine imposed with the citation for the violation shall not be rescinded. Additionally, a request for an extension to the compliance deadline shall constitute an admission to the violation, and a waiver of a right to request a hearing under subpart C above.
65-6. Administrative hearing.
A. The hearing officer shall be a neutral third party appointed by the City Council. The hearing officer is authorized to hear and determine any controversy relating to administrative offenses of the City Code.
B. The hearing officer shall conduct an informal hearing to determine if a violation has occurred. The hearing officer shall have authority to dismiss the violation or reduce or waive the penalty. If the violation is sustained by the hearing officer, the violator shall pay the penalty imposed within ten (10) days of the date of the decision and come into compliance by the specified date given at the hearing.
C. Notice of the hearing must be serviced in person or by mail on the person responsible for the violation at least ten (10) calendar days in advance, unless a shorter time is accepted by all parties. At the hearing, the parties will have the opportunity to present testimony and question any witnesses, but strict rules of evidence will not apply. The hearing officer must tape record the hearing and receive testimony and exhibits. The officer must receive and give weight to evidence, including hearsay evidence, which possesses probative value commonly accepted by reasonable and prudent people in the conduct of affairs.
D. The hearing officer has the authority to determine that a violation occurred, to dismiss a citation, to impose or modify (increase or decrease) the scheduled fine, and to modify, stay, or waive a scheduled fine either unconditionally or upon compliance with appropriate conditions. When imposing a penalty for a violation, the hearing officer may consider any or all of the following factors:
1. The duration of the violation;
2. The frequency or reoccurrence of the violation;
3. The history of the violation;
4. The seriousness of the violation;
5. The violators conduct after issuance of the notice of hearing;
6. The good faith effort by the violator to comply;
7. The economic impact of the penalty on the violator;
8. The impact of the violation upon the community; and
9. Any other factors appropriate to a just result.
E. The hearing officers decision and supporting reasons must be provided in writing to both parties within ten (10) days of the hearing. Any fines or penalties imposed must be paid no later than ten (10) days of the date of the Hearing Officers order.
F. The failure to attend the hearing constitutes a waiver of the violators rights to an administrative hearing and an admission of the violation. A hearing officer may waive this result upon good cause shown. Examples of good cause are: death or incapacitating illness of the accused; a court order requiring the accused to appear for another hearing at the same time; and lack of proper service of the citation or notice of the hearing. Good cause does not include: forgetfulness and intentional delay.
65-7. Recovery of civil penalties.
A. If a civil penalty is not paid within the time specified, it constitutes:
1. A personal obligation of the violator;
2. An obligation of a business or person(s) that is conducting an activity licensed by the City if the violation relates to the maintenance of the property or to an activity, use or delivery of services associated with the business or activity; and,
3. A lien upon the real property upon which the violation occurred if the violation relates to the maintenance of the property or to an activity, use or delivery of City services associated with the property.
B. A lien may be assessed against the property and collected in the same manner as taxes. The lien may include the administrative and legal costs incurred by the City in connection with collecting the unpaid administrative penalty. Prior to assessing the lien against the property, the City must attempt to obtain voluntary payment of the administrative penalty and provide the property owner listed on the tax record with notice and an opportunity to be heard.
C. A personal obligation may be collected by any appropriate legal means.
D. A late payment fee of ten (10%) percent of the fine will be assessed for each thirty (30) day period, or part thereof, that the fine remains unpaid after the due date.
E. During the time that a civil penalty remains unpaid, no City approval will be granted for a license, permit, or other City approval sought after by the violator or for the property.
F. Failure to pay a fine is grounds for suspending, revoking, denying, or not renewing a license or permit associated with the violation.
G. The City reserves the authority to use the abatement process as outlined within Chapter 216 Nuisances, in lieu of or in addition to the process outlined within this Chapter.
This ordinance shall take effect upon its publication and on the date of April 16, 2014.
Adopted by the City Council this 1st day of April, 2014.
Mayor, George A. Wimmer
ATTEST: Donald C. Lorsung
City Administrator/City Clerk
Published in the
Isanti County News
April 16, 2014
CITY OF ISANTI