Section 1065:00. Definitions.
Subd. 1. Unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the words, combinations of words, terms and phrases, as used in Section 1065:00 et seq., shall have the meanings set forth in the subdivisions of this section which follow.
Subd. 2. "Weeds" as used in this ordinance shall be construed to mean and include all noxious weeds as defined in Minnesota Statutes Sections 18.77 and 21.72 and all such useless and troublesome plants as are commonly known as weeds to the general public.
Subd. 3. "Person" as used in this ordinance shall mean and include one (1) or more persons of either sex, natural persons, corporations, partnerships, associations, societies, and all other entities of any kind capable of being sued.
Subd. 4. "City" as used in this ordinance is the City of Owatonna, Minnesota.
Subd. 5. "Natural Wooded Lot" means an area where the land, trees, and vegetation appear not to have been graded, landscaped, mowed, or otherwise disturbed by human or mechanical means at any time. The Weed Inspector shall use reasonable judgment in determining what constitutes this type of lot based on the present appearance of the area and research as to the history of the area if such is available.
Section 1065:05. No owner, lessee or occupant, nor agent, servant, representative, or employee of any such owner, lessee, or occupant having control of any lot or land or any part thereof within the corporate limits of this municipality shall permit or maintain on any such lot or land, or on or along any sidewalk adjacent to the same, or along any street adjacent to the said property between the property line and the curb, or on or along any alley adjacent to the said property between the property line and the middle of the alley, any growth of grasses, rank vegetation, or weeds whether defined as noxious weeds or not to a height greater than as follows:
(a) Upon any occupied lot including any boulevard area as defined in Section 660:000, Subd.7, no greater than 8 inches;
(b) Upon any other lot or land no greater than 18 inches.
The following areas and types of vegetation are exempted from this provision if managed in a manner so as not to become infested with weeds or to create a stagnant, foul-smelling condition:
(a) Native wetland vegetation found in wetlands, as defined by the State of Minnesota Wetlands Conservation Act, or in floodplains, drainage ponds, or ditches which store and convey stormwater;
(b) Native vegetation found in natural areas which are part of public open space, parks, and nature centers;
(c) Areas of any occupied lot or parcel of land having wetland-type vegetation because of neighborhood drainage patterns, where the drainage pattern is evident on contour maps and from field observation, and the vegetation is confined to a single lot, separated from adjacent lots, and managed so as not to be a nuisance.
(d) An area where the land and vegetation appear not to have been graded, landscaped, mowed, or otherwise disturbed by human or mechanical means at any time. The Weed Inspector shall use reasonable judgment in determining what constitutes this type of area based on the present appearance of the area and research as to the history of the area, if such information is available.
(e) An area of at least five (5) acres used by an educational institution or public agency for prairie land restoration, if the prior vegetation is eliminated and the prairie vegetation is planted through transplanting or seed. The area shall be cut at least once per year to a height of no more than eighteen (18) inches if weeds cover more than 25 percent of the area. If such mowing is necessary and the area is likely to be seen by the public, a sign shall be posted advising that a meadow or prairie is being established. The size of the sign shall be one (1) square foot and it shall be no higher than three (3) feet.
(f) Natural Wooded lots.
(g) Native Plant Landscape Areas provided that:
1. They are set back not less than twenty feet from the front lot line. For the purposes of this ordinance, corner lots shall be deemed to have two front yards;
2. They are set back not less than five feet from the side and/or rear lot lines to provide a transition zone. No set back is required on the side or rear lot lines if (1) there is a fully opaque fence at least five feet in height installed between the native plants and the side or rear lot lines or (2) the native plants abut a neighboring Native Plant Landscape Area;
3. The Native Plant Landscape Area is cut at least once annually between April 15 and July 15 to a height no greater than ten (10) inches;
4. Turfgrass is eliminated and the native plants, trees and shrubs are planted through transplanting or seed by human or mechanical means. Soil erosion should be controlled while the ground is bare of plant growth that is sufficient to inhibit erosion and is the sole responsibility of the owner or occupant;
5. Written authorization from the City Administrator or his/her designee is obtained for work within conservation or scenic easement areas, including planting, mowing or cutting.
No such person shall cause, permit, or allow poison ivy, ragweed, or other poisonous plants or plants detrimental to health, to grow on any such lot or any such land in such manner that any part of said weeds or plants shall extend upon, overhang or border any public place, or in such manner that said weeds or plants are allowed to seed or to emit pollen or other poisonous particles into the atmosphere in a manner such that said particles are carried through the air into any public places.
Section 1065:10. Duties of Owners, Lessees and Occupants. It shall be the duty of the owner, lessee, or occupant of any lot or land to cut and remove, or to cause to be cut and removed, all such weeds, grass, or other rank, poisonous or harmful vegetation as often as may be necessary to comply with the provisions of Section 1065:05. Provided, that this section shall not apply to lands under cultivation or to lands where hay is harvested; although neither may the owners, lessees, or occupants of such lands flagrantly violate the provisions of this ordinance. Upon service of notice of a violation of this ordinance, as hereinafter provided for, on the owner of land, lessee or occupant or agent, servant, representative, or employee of such owner, lessee, or occupant to whom this ordinance is inapplicable, because the lands are under cultivation or are lands where hay is harvested, it shall be the responsibility of said owner to inform the City Weed Inspector before the expiration date of the served notice that the land is being used for harvest. Thereafter, the owner, lessee, or occupant or any agent, servant, representative, or employee of any such owner, lessee, or occupant having control of any such land shall be deemed to be in compliance with this ordinance.
Section 1065:15. Cutting by the Weed Inspector. If the provisions of the foregoing sections in this ordinance are not complied with, the City Weed Inspector shall serve written notice of such fact upon the owner, lessee, occupant, or any agent or person having the care or control of such lot or land. If the person upon whom the notice is served fails, neglects, or refuses to cut and remove or to cause to be cut and removed, such weeds, grass, or other vegetation within the time specified in the notice, after receipt of such notice, or if no person can be found in this municipality who either is or claims to be the owner of such lot or land, or who either represents or claims to represent such owner, the Weed Inspector may cause such weeds, grass, or other vegetation on such lot or land to be cut and removed.
The actual cost of cutting and removal, together with a $75.00 administrative fee and such other additional costs incurred in connection therewith, shall be certified by the Weed Inspector to the Council prior to the first day of October in each year. The amount so charged against said premises, lots, or parcels of land shall be a lien upon the property on which said weeds, grass, and vegetation were located, and shall be added to, and become, and form part of the taxes next to be assessed and levied upon such lot or land, and the Council shall, by appropriate resolution, assess the costs above mentioned against said premises, and certify the same to the County Auditor of Steele County, Minnesota. The same shall be collected and enforced in the same manner as the collection of real estate taxes.
Section 1065:20. Violation and Penalty. Any person who shall neglect to cut and remove weeds, grass, or other vegetation as directed in this ordinance, or who shall fail, neglect or refuse to comply with the provisions of any notice herein provided, or who shall violate any of the provisions of Section 1065, or who shall resist or obstruct the Weed Inspector, or his employees, in the cutting and removal of weeds, grass, and other vegetation shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a petty offense as provided in Section 1100:00, Subd. 2, of this Code, and each day on which such violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.