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Chapter 11. Public Nuisances

Sec. 11-07. Dutch elm disease.

(1) Public nuisance declared. The council, having determined that the health of the elm trees within the city is threatened by a fatal disease known as Dutch elm disease, hereby declares Dutch elm disease to be a public nuisance to include without limitation:

  1. Any living or standing elm tree or part thereof infected with Dutch elm disease fungus or which harbors any of the elm bark beetles Scolytus multistriatus (Eichh) or Hylurgopinus rufipes (Marsh).
  2. Any dead elm tree or part thereof, including logs, branches, firewood, stumps or other elm material from which the bark has not been removed and burned or sprayed with an effective elm bark beetle destroying insecticide.
  3. Elm bark beetles Scolytus multistriatus (Eichh) or Hylurgopinus rufipes (Marsh).

(2) Authority. The director of public works and employees of the department of public works shall have the powers and perform the duties imposed by this section and by 27.09Wis. Stats.

(3) Inspections. Inspections shall be conducted in accordance with the following:

  1. Upon report or complaint of the existence of Dutch elm infection, the department of public works shall inspect all premises and places within the city where such infection is reported to exist to determine whether any public nuisance exists thereon. The department shall also inspect any elm tree reported or suspected to be infected with Dutch elm disease or any elm bark bearing material reported or suspected to be infested with elm bark beetles.
  2. Whenever necessary to determine the existence of Dutch elm disease or elm bark beetles in any tree, the director of public works or employees of the department of public works shall remove or cut specimens from the tree in such manner as to avoid permanent injury thereto and forward them to the state department of agriculture for analysis to determine the presence of such nuisances.
  3. The director of public works and employees of the department of public works may enter upon private premises at reasonable times for the purpose of carrying out any of the provisions of this section.

(4) Abatement of Dutch elm disease. Dutch elm disease shall be abated as follows:

  1. The director of public works shall order, direct, supervise and control the abatement of public nuisances by spraying, removing, burning or other means which he determines to be necessary to prevent as fully as possible the spread of Dutch elm disease fungus or the insect pests or vectors known to carry such disease fungus.
  2. Whenever the director of public works or employees of the department of public works determines that a public nuisance exists on public property in the city, he shall immediately abate or cause the abatement of such nuisance in such manner as to destroy or prevent as fully as possible the spread of Dutch elm disease or the insect pests or vectors known to carry such disease fungus.
  3. When the director of public works determines with reasonable certainty that a public nuisance exists upon private premises, he shall immediately serve personally or by registered mail upon the owner of such property, if he can be found or upon the occupant thereof, a written notice of the existence of such nuisance, directing that the nuisance be abated within ten days after service of such notice. Such notice shall describe the nuisance and recommend the procedure for its abatement and shall state that, unless the owner abates the nuisance as specified in the notice, the director will cause the abatement thereof at the expense of the property served. If the owner or occupant cannot be found, such notice shall be given by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the city.

(5) Spraying. Spraying shall be in accordance with the following:

  1. Whenever the director of public works or employees of the department of public works determines that any elm tree or part thereof is infected with Dutch elm disease fungus or is in a weakened condition and harbors elm bark beetles, he may cause all elm trees within a 1,000-foot radius thereof to be sprayed with an effective elm bark beetle destroying concentrate.
  2. To facilitate the work and minimize the inconvenience to the public of any spraying operation conducted under this section, the director of public works shall cause to begiven advance public notice of such operation by newspaper, radio, television public service announcements or other effective means and shall cause the posting of appropriate warning notices in the areas and along the streets where trees are to be sprayed at least 24 hours in advance of spraying. When any residue or concentrate from municipal spraying operations can be expected to be deposited on public streets, the director shall also notify the chief of police, who shall make and enforce such temporary parking and traffic regulations on such streets as conditions require. Temporary no parking notices shall be posted in each affected block of any street at least 24 hours in advance of spraying operations.
  3. If appropriate warning notices and temporary no parking notices have been given and posted in accordance with subsection (5)(b) of this section, the city shall not allow any claim for damages to any vehicle caused by such spraying operations.
  4. When trees on private property are to be sprayed, the director of public works shall notify the owner of such property and proceed in accordance with subsection (4)(c) of this section.

(6) Special assessments for tree care and abatement. Special assessments for tree care and abatement shall be made as follows:

  1. The cost of abatement of a public nuisance or spraying elm trees or elm wood at the direction of the director of public works, if the nuisance tree or wood is located in a public park or on other public grounds, shall be borne by the city.
  2. The cost of abating a public nuisance or spraying elm trees or elm wood located on private premises or in the public right-of-way, when done at the direction and under the supervision of the director of public works, shall be assessed to the property on which such nuisance tree or wood is located or which abuts on the public right-of-way in which such nuisance tree or wood is located, as follows:
    1. The city clerk shall keep account of the cost of such work or spraying and the amount chargeable to each lot or parcel and shall report such work charges, the description of lands to which they are chargeable and the names and addresses of the owners of such lands to the director of public works on or before October 15 of each year.
    2. The city clerk shall mail notice of the amount of such final assessment to each owner of property assessed at his last known address, stating that, unless paid within 30 days of the date of the notice, such assessment shall bear interest at the rate of eight percent per annum and will be entered on the tax roll as a delinquent tax against the property; and all proceedings in relation to the collection, return and sale of property for delinquent real estate taxes shall apply to such assessment.
    3. The city hereby declares that, in making assessments under this section, it is acting under its police power. No damages shall be awarded to any owner for the destruction of any diseased or infested elm tree or elm wood or part thereof.

(7) Prohibited acts. No person shall:

  1. Transport any bark-bearing elm wood, elm bark or elm material on public streets or highways or other public premises without first securing the written permission of the director of public works.
  2. Interfere with or prevent any act of the director or employees of the department of public works while they are engaged in the performance of duties imposed by this section.
  3. Refuse to permit the director or employees of the department of public works to enter upon his premises at reasonable times to exercise the duties imposed by this section.
  4. Permit any public nuisance to remain on any premises owned or controlled by him when ordered by the director of public works to abate such nuisance.

(Code 1982, 10.07)

Cross References