A print-and-post copy of contact numbers for complaints about county ordinance violations, including nuisance complaints, is provided.
After a number of citizens contacted ConnectLocal this past weekend, and took to Facebook, with concerns and complaints about excessive odors in the area of RaceTrack Road, County Administrator Phyllis Ayers stressed that there are contact numbers available to address ordinance violation complaints, even after normal business hours and on weekends.
If you have an ordinance violation complaint within the unincorporated area of Stephens County, contact one of the following officials to make a formal complaint.
Chief Marshal – Tony Addison - 706-244-3524
Marshal - Lance Brawner - 706-491-3801
Administrator – Phyllis Ayers - 706-491-0883
Office of the Commissioners - 706-886-9491
Office of the Sheriff - 706-886-2525
Dispatch - Non-emergency - 706-779-3911
Outside of working hours, call dispatch by dialing the non-emergency number - 706-779-3911.
For all emergencies dial 911
FYI: STEPHENS COUNTY NUISANCE ORDINANCE
ARTICLE III. - NUISANCES
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Editor's note— An ordinance adopted Oct. 9, 2012, amended art. III in its entirety to read as herein set out. Former art. III, §§ 34-71—34-79 pertained to similar subject matter and derived from an ordinance adopted Nov. 5, 2002, §§ I—IX.
Cross reference— Nuisance of animals, § 10-55; telecommunications facilities as nuisances, § 74-122.
Sec. 34-71. - Purpose.
The purpose of this article is to define specific types of nuisances in order to protect residents from annoyance and health hazards of certain aggravating circumstances; delineate residents' responsibilities and prohibited acts in the community. It is important for a county to appear clean, well kept, and generally clear of public nuisances, eyesores, and unhealthy conditions. The appearance of a county weighs heavily in the decisions of prospective residents and businesses in locating to a particular area. A clean, safe, and well-kept county can stabilize or increase property values, provide a healthy environment, and make citizens proud of the area in which they live. Accordingly, a county needs a set of regulations to keep the area clean, remove unsightly conditions, and prevent unhealthy and unsafe conditions from occurring. It is therefore the purpose and intent of this chapter to encourage a clean, healthy, and satisfying environment, one free of nuisances, eyesores, and unhealthy, unsafe, or devaluating conditions. To this end, the chapter seeks to regulate and protect the health, safety, and welfare of the inhabitants of the county, as well as the values and aesthetics of properties within the county.
(Ord. of 10-9-2012)
Sec. 34-72. - Definitions.
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
Applicable code means:
(1) Any optional housing or abatement standard provided by state law as adopted by ordinance or operation of law, or other property maintenance standards as adopted by ordinance or operation of law, or general nuisance law, relative to the safe use of real property;
(2) Any fire or life safety code applicable under state law or adopted by ordinance or resolution of the county; and
(3) Any building codes adopted by the county provided that such building or minimum standard codes for real property improvements shall be deemed to mean those building or minimum standard codes in existence at the time such real property improvements were constructed, unless otherwise provided by law.
Close means causing a dwelling, building, or structure to be vacated and secured against unauthorized entry.
Drug crime means an act which is a violation of the Georgia Controlled Substance Act, O.C.G.A. § 16-13-20 et seq.
Dwellings, buildings, or structures means any building or structure or part thereof used and occupied for human habitation or commercial, industrial, or business uses, or intended to be so used, and includes any outhouses, improvements, and appurtenances belonging thereto or usually enjoyed therewith and also includes any building or structure of any design. The terms "dwellings, buildings, or structures" shall not mean or include any farm, any building or structure located on a farm, or any agricultural facility or other buildings or structure used for the production, growing, raising, harvesting, storage, or processing of crops, livestock, or poultry or other farm products.
Governing authority means the board of commissioners of Stephens County.
Interested parties means:
(1) Persons in possession of the property and premises;
(2) Persons having of record in the county in which the dwelling, building, or structure is located any vested right, title, or interest in or lien upon such dwelling, building, or structure or the lot, tract, or parcel of real property upon which the structure is situated or upon which the public health hazard or general nuisance exists based upon a 50-year title examination conducted in accordance with the title standards of the State Bar of Georgia;
(3) Persons having paid an occupational tax to the county board of commissioners for a location or office at the subject building or structure; or
(4) Persons having filed a property tax return with the county board of commissioners as to the subject property, building, or structure.
Junk means something of poor quality, little meaning, little worth or little significance.
Junked motor vehicle means any abandoned, nonfunctioning, dilapidated, or discarded motor vehicle and includes any parts thereof not currently in use on an operable vehicle with a current tag and vehicle tag registration, including, but not limited to, any motors or component parts, doors, hoods, trunk lids, windshields, tires, wheels, seats, and any and all other similar automobile parts.
Nuisance means anything that causes hurt, inconvenience, or damage to another and the fact that the act done may otherwise be lawful shall not keep it from being a nuisance. That which annoys or disturbs one in possession of his property, rendering the ordinary use or occupation thereof uncomfortable; that which endangers life or health, gives offenses to the senses or obstructs reasonable and comfortable use of property; the unreasonable, unwarrantable or unlawful use by a person of his own property, whether person or real, or that individual's own improper, indecent, or unlawful personal conduct which results in an obstruction or injury to the right of another or the public. The inconvenience complained of shall not be fanciful, or such as would affect only one of fastidious taste, but it shall be such as would affect an ordinary, reasonable man. Nuisances include, but are not limited to, any act or omission to act to perform a duty or the permitting of a condition or thing to exist, which act, omission, condition or thing:
(1) Injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health of safety of others;
(2) Offends decency;
(3) Unlawfully interferes with, obstructs or tends to obstruct or renders dangerous for passage any public or private street, highway, sidewalk, stream, ditch, or drainage;
(4) Is offensive to the senses;
(5) In any way renders others persons insecure in life or the use of property; or
(6) Essentially interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of life and property, or tends to depreciate the value of the property of others.
Nuisance per se means an act, occupation, or structure which is a nuisance at all times and under any circumstances, regardless of location or surroundings, or such nuisance as declared to be a nuisance per se herein.
Owner means the holder of the title in fee simple and every mortgage of record.
Plainly audible as applied to noise nuisances means any loud unnecessary or unusual noise that disturbs the peace or quiet of any neighborhood or which causes discomfort or annoyance to any reasonable person of normal sensitiveness residing in the area which includes the business area as well as public streets and sidewalks in the county.
Private nuisance means one limited in its injurious effects to one or a few individuals.
Property means any lot, tract, or parcel of real estate whether improved or unimproved.
Public authority means any official appointed by the county, or his designee, to enforce state and county law and rules relating to health, fire, or building regulations or to other activities concerning dwellings, buildings, or structures in the county.
Public nuisance means one which damages all persons who come within the sphere of its operation, though it may vary in its effects on individuals.
Public officer means the officers who are authorized by O.C.G.A. § 41-2-1 et seq. to exercise the powers prescribed by this article or any agent of such officer.
Repair means altering or improving a dwelling, building, or structure so as to bring the structure into compliance with the applicable codes in the jurisdiction where the property is located and the cleaning or removal of debris, trash, and other materials present and accumulated which create a health or safety hazard in or about any dwelling, building, or structure.
Resident means any person residing in the jurisdiction where the property is located on or after the date on which the alleged nuisance arose.
Rubbish means useless waste or rejected, worthless and nonsensical material.
Sexual crimes means lewdness, prostitution, sodomy, the solicitation of sodomy, or masturbation for hire.
(Ord. of 10-9-2012)
Cross reference— Definitions generally, § 1-2.
Sec. 34-73. - Specific nuisances.
The following are specifically declared to be nuisances whether on occupied lands, public or private property, are hereby declared to be and constitute a public nuisance and shall be abated; although this section shall not be construed to be limiting and with regard to its enumeration of public nuisances.
(1) Toilets, other sanitary facilities, plumbing or sewers not in compliance with the rules and regulations of the county board of health or the state department of human resources.
(2) Conditions conducive to the excessive breeding of flies, mosquitoes, or other insects in relation to surrounding conditions as determined by the public authority.
(3) Pollution of the air by gases, vapors, fumes, mists, dust, or smoke in quantities sufficient to be disagreeable, discomforting, or detrimental to health or well-being in relation to the conditions of the surrounding area, as determined by the public authority.
(4) All disagreeable or obnoxious odors or stenches, as well as the conditions, substances, or other causes which give rise to the emission or generation of such odors and stenches including, but not limited to, smoke and fires.
(5) Accumulation of rubbish, trash, garbage, refuse, junk, construction debris and other abandoned materials, metals, lumber, or other such items or any foul, decaying or putrescent material kept in such quantities or used in such a manner or place as to be or become offensive, objectionable, a breeding place for rodents or detrimental to health or well-being.
(6) The carcasses of animals or fowl not disposed of within a reasonable time after death.
(7) Keeping of horses, mules, asses, cows, sheep, goats, hogs, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, pigeons or similar animals or fowl except under the following conditions:
a. Any housing or enclosures used by such animals or fowl shall be well drained, free from accumulations of animal excrement and objectionable odors, and otherwise clean and sanitary. Animal excrement shall be disposed of in a manner approved by the health department.
b. All such animals or fowl, except dogs in areas where confinement of dogs under the rabies control regulations does not apply, shall be kept in adequate enclosures or tethered.
c. Diseased animals or fowl, which might infect healthy animals or cause a menace to the public health shall be isolated or destroyed, as the public authority deems necessary.
d. In the case of bona fide licensed pet shops, veterinary hospitals, stockyards poultry houses, and similar commercial establishments, the public authority may modify these requirements where undue hardship would result from their strict enforcement.
e. No living animal shall be abandoned on any property in the county.
f. Such animals or fowl (except those raised in a commercial poultry house for profit or for distribution to a brokerage house) shall be kept at minimum distances from any occupied building (except that of the dwelling unit owner) and shall be provided with average minimum floor or ground area in the enclosure or housing in which it is kept as required and in strict compliance with all state and federal laws governing said distances and average minimum floor or ground areas. It shall be the responsibility of the keeper of such animals or fowl to comply with all state and federal legal requirements governing the above reference minimum distances and average minimum floor or ground areas.
(8) Garbage, trash, solid waste, belongings or any other items originating from the property of a landlord and being left on the street for more than 24 hours following an eviction.
(9) Circumstances where the owner or occupant of a building, structure or property utilizes the premises of such property for the open storage of any junked motor vehicle, ice box, refrigerator, stove, glass, building material, building rubbish or similar items. In that regard, it shall be considered a nuisance if such owner or occupant does not keep the premises of such property clean and does not remove from the premises all such abandoned items as listed in this subsection including, but not limited to, weeds, hedges, dead trees, trash, garbage, etc., upon notice from the public officer.
(10) Any neglected property as defined in this subsection shall also be considered a nuisance and such neglected property means a parcel or parcels of land which have been developed and have been neglected by the owners by not keeping it cut to prevent overgrowth or by allowing the property to be used as a dumping ground for foreign materials. Neglected property shall also be defined to include abandoned home places and/or buildings which have fallen into disrepair and constitute a nuisance.
(11) Dwellings, buildings, or structures which are unfit for human habitation or for commercial, industrial, or business uses due to dilapidation and not in compliance with applicable codes; which have defects increasing the hazards of fire, accidents, or other calamities; which lack adequate ventilation, light, or sanitary facilities; or where other conditions exist rendering such dwellings, buildings, or structures unsafe or unsanitary, or dangerous to the health, safety, welfare, or otherwise inimical to the welfare of the residents of the county, or vacant, dilapidate dwellings, buildings, or structures in which unlawful sexual and drug crimes are being committed.
(12) All noises that may annoy or inhibit others in their enjoyment of the use of their property.
(13) Any method of human excretion disposal that does not conform to the provisions of local ordinances, or state or federal law.
(14) Riding off-road vehicles on public roads or upon property of another without permission of the property owner.
(15) Household garbage only will be accepted at the convenience center sites.
(16) A ten-bag limit per day and bag size limited to 30 gallons at each convenience center site. A fine of $25.00 per bag will be issued over ten bags.
(17) No dumping of any household garbage or debris outside of gate of any convenience centers or landfill. A fine of $25.00 will be issued per bag. In addition to the fine set forth herein, any violation may also be subject to other penalties as provided in the Code of Stephens County, Georgia.
(Ord. of 10-9-2012; Ord. of 4-12-2016)
Sec. 34-74. - Prohibited.
It shall be unlawful for any person, business, or interested parties, owner or lessee, tenant, or other, having possession, ownership or control of private property to cause, permit, maintain or allow the creation of a nuisance within the unincorporated areas of the county. Any violation of this article, or violation of any other provisions of this Code the result of which is the creation or maintenance of a public or private nuisance, shall subject the violator to penalties as provided in section 1[1-9] and, additionally, the remedies provided in this article for abatement shall apply.
No person shall create, maintain, support, aid or continue a nuisance, such as:
(1) Television sets, phonographs, radio receiving sets, musical instruments or any similar device for the production or reproduction of sound which is plainly audible in such a manner as to disturb the peace, quiet, and comfort of neighboring residents or any reasonable person of normal sensitiveness residing in the area.
(2) Animals or fowl, otherwise permitted to be kept, which, by any sound, cry, or behavior, shall cause annoyance or discomfort to a reasonable person of normal sensitiveness in any residential neighborhood.
(3) General noises which are blatantly foreign and are plainly audible to the normal order of a community which shall cause the disturbance of peace, quiet and comfort of residents or any reasonable person of normal sensitiveness in the area.
(4) Standards to be considered in determining whether subsection (1), (2) or (3) of this section has been violated shall include, but will not be limited by the following:
a. The volume of the noise;
b. The intensity of the noise;
c. Whether the nature of the noise is usual or unusual;
d. Whether the origin of the noise is natural or unnatural;
e. The proximity of the noise to residential sleeping facilities;
f. The density of the inhabitation of the area within which the noise emanates;
g. The time of the day or night the noise occurs;
h. The duration of the noise;
i. Whether the noise is recurrent, intermittent or constant; and
j. Whether the noise is produced by a commercial or noncommercial activity.
(5) Leaving garbage, trash, solid waste, belongings or any other items originating from the property of a landlord on the street for more than 24 hours following an eviction.
(6) Circumstances where the owner or occupant of a building, structure or property utilizes the premises of such property for the open storage of any junked motor vehicle, ice box, refrigerator, stove, glass, building material, building rubbish or similar items. In that regard, it shall be considered a nuisance if such owner or occupant does not keep the premises of such property clean and does not remove from the premises all such abandoned items as listed in this subsection including, but not limited to, weeds, hedges, dead trees, trash, garbage, etc., upon notice from the public authority.
(7) Any neglected property as defined in this subsection shall also be considered a nuisance and such neglected property means a parcel or parcels of land which have been developed and have been neglected by the owners by not keeping it cut to prevent overgrowth or by allowing the property to be used as a dumping ground for foreign materials. Neglected property shall also be defined to include abandoned home places and/or buildings which have fallen into disrepair and constitute a nuisance.
(8) Noxious or hazardous products used in a manufacturing or industrial activity that produces caustic or corrosive acids, chlorine or other noxious gasses, explosives, fertilizer or glue, or products involving hair or fur as products or by-products of the manufacturing process.
(9) Noxious or hazardous processes in a manufacturing or industrial use that involves hazardous waste treatment of disposal, land or water based disposal of hazardous or toxic wastes, pertroleum refining, processing of sauerkraut, vinegar or yeast, processing or refining of human or animal waste, rendering or refining fats and oils, tanning or finishing of leather or other hides, except taxidermy, and wood preservation.
(Ord. of 10-9-2012)
Sec. 34-75. - Disposition of garbage, trash, property by landlords, or unfit buildings or structures.
(a) Any property, trash, belongings or other items left on the street for more than 24 hours following an eviction shall be subject to collection for a fee. The landlord or property owner shall be responsible for the payment of the collection fees which shall be set by the county administrator.
(b) Once the public authority reports that a violation of subsection (a) of this section has occurred, the public authority will notify, by certified mail, the landlord and/or have the property posted if, in fact, there is no applicable address for such landlord. The notice shall contain a provision that the landlord and/or property owner shall have seven days from the date of the notice to remove the property, trash, belongings or other items left on the street. If the items are not removed at the end of the seven-day period, then the county shall have the right to remove the items and a fi. fa. shall be issued against the landlord and/or property owner for the costs involved.
(c) The costs of removal shall be determined by the county administrator and the county public works department based upon the amount of items removed as well as the time involved in the removal of such items.
(d) The county has the right to exercise its enforcement power to repair, close, or demolish the aforesaid dwellings, buildings, or structures in subsection 34-73(9) in accordance with O.C.G.A. § 41-2-9.
(Ord. of 10-9-2012)
Sec. 34-76. - Enforcement.
Upon information being made known that any violation of this article is occurring, a citation shall be issued pursuant to the provisions of O.C.G.A. § 15-10-63 by any member of the sheriff's department, county marshal or by any other agent of the county who is authorized to enact or enforce ordinances on behalf of the county, requiring the violator to appear before the judge of the magistrate court on a day and time certain, then and there to stand trial for violation of this article.
The public officer and public authority shall be authorized:
(1) To investigate the dwelling conditions in the county in order to determine a dwelling, building, or structure therein are unfit for human habitation or are unfit for current commercial, industrial, or business use or are vacant, dilapidated, and being used in connection with the commission of drug crimes or sexual crimes upon personal observation or report of a law enforcement agency and evidence of drug crimes or sexual crimes being committed;
(2) To administer oaths and affirmations, to examine witnesses, and to receive evidence;
(3) To enter upon premises for the purpose of making examinations; provided, however, that such entries shall be made in the manner as to cause the least possible inconvenience to the persons in possession;
(4) To delegate any of his functions and powers as is permitted by this article or otherwise specifically authorized by the governing authority.
Whenever a nuisance in violation of this chapter is found to exist within the jurisdiction of the county, the magistrate court or state court shall issue a written order and notice to abate to the owner, agent in control of, or tenant in possession of the property upon which such nuisance exists or upon the person causing or maintaining the nuisance, to abate the nuisance.
(Ord. of 10-9-2012)
Sec. 34-77. - Penalty.
(a) Any person violating the terms of this article or rules and regulations promulgated pursuant thereto, may be punished as provided in section 34-78. Separate offenses shall be deemed to be committed on each day during on or which a violation occurs or continues.
(b) In addition to all other provisions of this article, any violation of this article is hereby deemed to be a continuing nuisance and may be abated by an application for injunction in the superior court or other court of competent jurisdiction.
(Ord. of 10-9-2012)
Sec. 34-78. - State rules and regulations.
(a) Adopted. The rules and regulations of the state department of human resources entitled and published as chapter 290-5-14 are hereby adopted as written in revised form of September 10, 1986 and amended.
(b) Enforcement. Prosecutions for violations of this section shall be upon citation as provided in O.C.G.A. §§ 15-10-62 and 15-10-63. The county health department sanitarian is hereby authorized to issue citations for the enforcement of the provisions of this section.
(c) Penalty. Any person violating any provision of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and punished by a fine not exceeding $1,000.00 or six months imprisonment, or both, provided that the judge shall probate not less than 120 days of any sentence imposed, and if such violation is continued, each day's violation shall be a separate offense. Violations of this section may also be handled by the seeking of civil remedies.
(Ord. of 10-9-2012)
Sec. 34-79. - Conflict with other laws.
Nothing in this article shall be interpreted or applied so as to create any power or duty in conflict with the preemptive effect of any federal or state law.
(Ord. of 10-9-2012)
Secs. 34-80—34-89. - Reserved.