The people of Crete desire a safe and orderly community. The City government encourages residents and land owners to maintain their property in such a manner. When a property appears to be unsafe and/or disorderly, encouragement by the City first takes the form of corrective notices to those responsible. The City seeks the cooperation of responsible residents, landowners, etc. to abate and remove nuisances; however, should cooperation not occur or actions to abate and remove the nuisance not achieve a satisfactory end, Nuisance Control Officers may issue an order requiring compliance. (Return to Crete Police Department Main Page)
Nuisances may take many forms and these are managed by different City departments under the oversight of the city administrator. The Building Inspector manages nuisances related to dilapidated structures. The Parks and Recreation director and Street Supervisor manage nuisances related to stagnant water and worthless vegetation. The Police Department manages general nuisances, abandoned and unregistered vehicles, and litter.
The vast majority of all identified nuisances are abated in relatively short periods of time with the cooperation of those responsible. Even so, cooperation is not guaranteed; therefore, State law permits local governments to establish and enforce regulations which require those responsible to abate nuisances.
Order to abate nuisance - Pursuant to Nebraska State Statute, the City may issue an order requiring those responsible to abate a nuisance within five (5) days. However, officers may also issue warnings, prior to a five (5) day order.
Code Enforcement Officer - The Department’s Code Enforcement Officer(s) holds primary responsibility for nuisance property investigations, among many other duties. Police officers also perform these investigations as other responsibilities and priorities permit.
The City has established nuisance regulations which are detailed in Chapter 4 Article 3 of the City Code and referenced in this article. A synopsis of the most pertinent regulations is located below:
Keep lot or piece of ground free of nuisances - Owners, occupants, lessees, mortgagees or person in possession, charge or control of any lot or piece of ground must keep such lot or piece of ground free of nuisances including (1) General nuisances; (2) Abandoned vehicles; (3) Litter; (4) Stagnant water; (5) Unregistered vehicles; (6) Worthless vegetation and (7) Dilapidated structures. (§4-302, §4-304, §4-305, §4-307, §4-308)
Order to abate nuisance - Any nuisance control officer may issue a written order to abate and remove a nuisance to each owner, occupant, lessee, mortgagee or person in possession, charge or control of the lot or piece of ground upon which a nuisance is found. Such notice may be made by personal service or certified mail conspicuously marked as to its importance. If notice by personal service or certified mail is unsuccessful, notice shall be given by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the City or by conspicuously posting the notice on the lot or ground upon which the nuisance is to be abated and removed.
If the owner or occupant of the lot or piece of ground does not request a hearing with the City or fails to comply with the order to abate and remove the nuisance, within five (5) days, the City may have such work done with the costs and expenses of any such work to be paid by the owner. (16-230 RS Neb.)(§4-310)
Hearing - Within five (5) days after receipt of a notice to abate and remove a nuisance… each owner, occupant, lessee, mortgagee or person in possession, charge or control of the lot or piece of ground may request a hearing with the City to appeal the decision to abate or remove a nuisance. This request for a hearing must be filed, in writing, with the office of the City Clerk.
- The mayor forms the Hearing Board comprised of no less than three (3) members of the governing Body to include: Himself/Herself and at least two (2) members of the Public Safety Committee. The city attorney presents the City evidence describing the nuisance and the appellant (or representative) presents evidence to the contrary.
- The Hearing Board shall immediately deliberate, in open session, to: (a) Find the conditions upon the lot or piece of ground to be a nuisance, as described by the City, and in violation of City Ordinance; or (b) Find the conditions upon the lot or piece of ground to be a nuisance, as described by the City, excluding specific items found not to constitute a nuisance, and in violation of City Ordinance; or (c) Find the conditions upon the lot or piece of ground not to be a nuisance, as described by the City, and therefore not in violation of City Ordinance.
- If the Hearing Board finds the conditions upon the lot or piece of ground to be a nuisance and in violation of City Ordinance, in part or whole, the city administrator may direct: (a) The Parks and Recreation Department to abate and remove nuisances consisting only of worthless vegetation, with any and all associated costs incurred by the City for such abatement, removal and disposal to be paid by the violator, as billed by the City; or (b) The city attorney to seek an order from the Court permitting the City to abate and remove or cause the abatement and removal of said nuisance to include the collection and disposal of all materials which constitute said nuisance. (§4-311)
Emergency or imminent threat - When a nuisance presents or may present an imminent threat to the life, health, or safety of any person or persons, as determined by the city administrator, the city administrator shall direct the city attorney to petition the Court for an order directing the City to immediately abate and remove or cause the immediate abatement and removal of said nuisance to include the collection and disposal of all materials which constitute said nuisance, with any and all associated costs incurred by the City for such abatement, removal and disposal to be paid by the violator, as billed by the City.
Recovery of costs - The Public Works Department will submit a bill to the owner and/or occupant of the lot or piece of ground for the costs of abating and removing the nuisance. (§4-315) If the costs billed by the City, are unpaid for two months after such work is done, the city attorney shall:
- 1) Levy and assess the costs and expenses of the work upon the lot or piece of ground so benefited as a special assessment; or
- 2) Recover in a civil action the costs and expenses of the work upon the lot or piece of ground and the adjoining streets and alleys. (§4-313.04)