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CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 24

Meeting Date: May 27, 2003

Subject/Title: Approve a resolution authorizing Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District designated employees to issue administrative citations relative to public nuisances and to abate such nuisances in emergency situations: and adopt an ordinance expanding what is a public nuisance to include the development, attraction or harborage of mosquitoes and other vectors that may carry virus or other diseases

Submitted by: Dennis Beougher, City Attorney

RECOMMENDATION
Approve a resolution authorizing Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District (“District”) designated employees to issue administrative citations relative to public nuisances and to abate such nuisances in emergency situations: and adopt an ordinance expanding what is a public nuisance to include the development, attraction or harborage of mosquitoes and other vectors that may carry virus or other diseases.

BACKGROUND
Authorize District to Enforce

In light of concerns about the West Nile Virus, the District is requesting Contra Costa County and all 19 cites in the county to adopt a package of ordinances and resolutions allowing District employees to take enforcement action without having to work through city staff. Field employees of the Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District are trained to identify and abate situations supporting the development, attraction or harborage of mosquitoes and other vectors. It is advisable for each city to have in place an ordinance section with a definition of “public nuisance” that clearly encompasses such situations, and that provides that the creation, causing, committing or maintenance of a public nuisance is an ordinance violation. Given the District’s experience in fighting potentially disease-carrying mosquitoes and other vectors, it is asked that each city authorize District field employees to issue administrative citations for violations of city ordinances that forbid anyone to create, cause, commit or maintain a public nuisance. It is further requested that each city authorize District field employees to abate public nuisances supporting the development, attraction or harborage of mosquitoes or other vectors in circumstances constituting an immediate threat to public health or safety, upon the specific request of a city for such abatement. The recommended language is stated for you in the attached resolution consideration.

These actions will benefit the City as the City staff does not have the expertise to identify and address these public health issues. While the District staff has always been very cooperative, the proposed delegation of authority will permit faster and better results.

Expanded Definition of Public Nuisance

The emergence of the West Nile Virus, as well as the continuing presence of vectors such as rodents and skunks, has resulted in the advisability of ensuring effective enforcement powers to allow timely abatement of conditions that could result in the spread of the virus and other diseases. While the District has the authority to abate public nuisances, it is recommended that the cities adopt provisions that will assist the District in addressing any appearance of the virus and other diseases in the County.

The existing statutory definitions concerning “public nuisance” are broad and useful, but the State Legislature has adopted a new principal act for mosquito and vector control districts that contains definitions of “public nuisance” and “vector” that help advance the efforts of the District to counter such threats as the virus. The District understands that most, if not all cities have adopted a nuisance definition. It would assist the District, however, for the cities to re-examine their existing enactments to make certain that their ordinances include a definition of “public nuisance” that would clearly encompass situations supporting the development, attraction or harborage of mosquitoes and other vectors that may carry the virus or other diseases. Accordingly, the following language is proposed for your consideration.

Attachment: Resolution
Ordinance

RESOLUTION NO.

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BRENTWOOD:
DESIGNATING EMPLOYEES OF THE CONTRA COSTA MOSQUITO AND VECTOR CONTROL DISTIRCT AS HAVING AUTHORITY TO ISSUE ADMINISTRATIVE CITATIONS RELATIVE TO PUBLIC NUISANCES AND TO ABATE SUCH NUISANCES IN EMERGENCY SITUATIONS

WHEREAS, the City recognizes that the potential emergence of the West Nile Virus, as well as the continuing presence of vectors such as rodents and skunks, in the County of Contra Costa are matters of increasing public health concern; and

WHEREAS, the City is advised that mosquitoes have the ability to transmit the West Nile Virus to humans and to other species; and

WHEREAS, the City is advised that rodents, skunks and other vectors have the ability to transmit various diseases to humans and to other species; and

WHEREAS, the City has provided that it is a violation of Brentwood Municipal Code Chapter 8.00 for anyone to create, cause, commit, or maintain a public nuisance; and

WHEREAS, the field employees of the Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District (“District”) have training and experience in identifying those public nuisances supporting the development, attraction or harborage of mosquitoes and other vectors, and in abating such nuisances; and

WHEREAS, Brentwood Municipal Code Chapter 1.08 provides for the issuance of administrative citations for violations of City ordinances; and

WHEREAS, it would benefit the public health and safety if District field employees were authorized to issue administrative citations on behalf of the City to anyone that creates, causes, commits or maintains a public nuisance; and

WHEREAS, it would also benefit the public health and safety if District field employees were authorized to abate nuisances supporting the development, attraction or harborage of mosquitoes or other vectors in circumstances constituting an immediate threat to public health or safety.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT,

1. Field employees of the Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District (District) are hereby authorized in addition to City employees to issue administrative citations on behalf of the City pursuant to Brentwood Municipal Code Chapter 1.08 to address violations of Brentwood Municipal Code Chapter 8.00, as amended by Ordinance No. ____, relative to the creation, causing, committing or maintenance of a public nuisance related to the development, attraction or harborage of mosquitoes and other vectors that may carry the West Nile Virus or other diseases.

2. Upon the specific, prior request of the City in a circumstance constituting an immediate threat to public health or safety, field employees of the District are hereby authorized to abate public nuisances supporting the development, attraction or harborage of mosquitoes or other vectors.

3. To the extent the City is able to recover the expense of nuisance abatement from the persons creating, causing, committing, or maintaining a nuisance abated by District field employees at the request of the City, the City shall reimburse the District a portion or all of the District’s abatement costs.

PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED by the City Council of the City of Brentwood at a regular meeting held on the 27th day of May, 2003 by the following vote:

ORDINANCE NO.
AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BRENTWOOD AMENDING BRENTWOOD MUNICIPAL CODE SECTION 8.00.010 AND 8.00.040
WHEREAS, the emergence of the West Nile Virus, as well as the continuing presence of vectors such as rodents and skunks, has resulted in the advisability of ensuring effective enforcement powers to allow timely abatement of conditions that could result in the spread of the virus and other diseases; and

WHEREAS, the District has the authority to abate public nuisances, it is recommended that the cities adopt provisions that will assist the District in addressing any appearance of the virus and other diseases in the County; and

WHEREAS, the existing statutory definitions concerning “public nuisance” are broad and useful, but the State Legislature has adopted a new principal act for mosquito and vector control districts that contains definitions of “public nuisance” and “vector” that help advance the efforts of the District to counter such threats as the virus; and

WHEREAS, it would assist the District, however, for the cities to re-examine their existing enactments to make certain that their ordinances include a definition of “public nuisance” that would clearly encompass situations supporting the development, attraction or harborage of mosquitoes and other vectors that may carry the virus or other diseases.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Brentwood, as follows:

Section 1. The foregoing recitals are true and correct, and this City Council so finds and determines.
Section 2. Section 8.00.010 shall be amended to read as follows:
8.00.010 Nuisance defined.
(a) It shall be a violation of this ordinance for anyone to create, cause, commit, or maintain a public nuisance, which is hereby defined as any one or more of the following:
(1) anything that is injurious to health, or is indecent, or offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property by an entire community or neighborhood, or by any considerable number of persons, or that unlawfully obstructs the free passage or use, in the customary manner, of any navigable lake, or river, bay, stream, canal, or basin, or any public park, square, street, or highway;

(2) any act which declared to be a nuisance by the provisions of Title 1 of Part 3 of the Civil Code of the State of California, or by any other provisions of the laws of the State of California, or of this code.

(3) any violation of this code and any condition of property which renders any property within the City of Brentwood dangerous or harmful to property or persons who may occupy or go upon the property.

(4) any artificial alteration of property, excluding water, from its natural condition, resulting in it supporting the development, attraction, or harborage of vectors, with the presence of vectors in their developmental stages on property being prima facie evidence that the property is a public nuisance;

(5) any water that is a breeding place for vectors, with the presence of vectors in their developmental stages in the water being prima facie evidence that the water is a public nuisance; or

(6) any activity that supports the development, attraction, or harborage of vectors, or that facilitates the introduction or spread of vectors.

(b) For the purposes of the foregoing, "vector" means any animal capable of transmitting the causative agent of human disease or capable of producing human discomfort or injury, including, but not limited to, mosquitoes, flies, mites, ticks, other arthropods, and rodents and other vertebrates.
Section 3. Section 8.00.040 is amended as follows:
“8.00.040 Summary abatement of nuisance.
Notwithstanding and in addition to any other remedy available under this Ordinance or other federal, state or local law or regulation, if a public nuisance as defined in this Ordinance exists and constitutes an immediate threat to public health or safety, the City may summarily and without notice or hearing abate such nuisance at the expense of the persons creating, causing, committing, or maintaining the nuisance. The expense of abatement of the nuisance shall be a lien against the property on which it is maintained and a personal obligation against the property owner, in accordance with Section 38773.1 or 38773.5 of the California Government Code and Section 8.00.034 of the Municipal Code.

In such event, the provisions of Sections 8.00.020 to 8.00.34 shall not apply, but the City may nevertheless proceed to make the cost of such abatement a special assessment against the property as provided in this section and 8.00.034, and the expense of the abatement of such nuisance shall constitute a personal obligation of the owner.”

PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED by the City Council of the City of Brentwood at a regular meeting on the 27th day of May, 2003, by the following vote:

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