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, health nuisances and abandoned and unregistered vehicles.
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 and the Crete Municipal Code, the City may issue a written notice and order requiring each owner or occupant to abate a nuisance within the timeframe specified in the municipal code. However, officers may also issue warnings, prior to a written notice and 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 (Health and Sanitation) and Chapter 6 (Public Peace and Welfare) of the City Code. 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) Health Nuisances; (3) Abandoned vehicles; (4) Unregistered vehicles; (5) Worthless vegetation; Stagnant water and (7) Dilapidated structures.
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 and order may be made by personal service, residential service, or first-class or certified mail conspicuously marked as to its importance. Notice may also be given by conspicuously posting the notice on the property upon which the public nuisance exists.
If the owner or occupant does not request a hearing or fails to comply with the notice and order to abate and remove the nuisance within the time period specified, the City may have such work done. (16-230 RS Neb.)
Hearing - Before the termination of the specified abatement period, the owner or occupant of the property may request a hearing to appeal the notice and order to abate and remove a public nuisance by filing a written request with the City. Such hearing request shall be in the form and manner specified by the City (City Clerk's office).
- The hearing board shall consist of the mayor and two council members selected by the hearing officer from city council standing committees that oversee subjects reasonably related to the subject matter of the case.
- Hearings will be conducted as described in Chapter 2 Article 10 of the Crete Municipal Code.
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 - If the appeal fails or if the owner or occupant does not request a hearing and fails to comply with the notice and order to abate and remove a public nuisance, the City may have such work done. The costs and expenses of any such work shall be paid by the owner of the property upon which the nuisance exists. If the costs and expenses remain unpaid for more than two months after the work is done, the City may either:
- levy and assess the costs and expenses of the work upon the property so benefited as a special assessment or;
- recover the costs and expenses in a civil action.