# #

Chapter 50—Nuisance Abatement Procedure

50.01 Definition of Nuisance
50.02 Nuisances Enumerated
50.03 Other Conditions
50.04 Nuisances Prohibited
50.05 Nuisance Abatement
50.06 Abatement of Nuisance by Written Notice
50.07 Municipal Infraction Abatement Procedure


Whatever is injurious to health, indecent, or unreasonably offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property so as essentially to interfere unreasonably with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property is a nuisance.
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 657.1)


The following subsections include, but do not limit, the conditions which are deemed to be nuisances in the City:
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 657.2)

  1. Offensive Smells. Erecting, continuing or using any building or other place for the exercise of any trade, employment or manufacture, which, by occasioning noxious exhalations, unreasonably offensive smells, or other annoyances, becomes injurious and dangerous to the health, comfort or property of individuals or the public.
  2. Filth or Noisome Substance. Causing or suffering any offal, filth, or noisome substance to be collected or to remain in any place to the prejudice of others.
  3. Impeding Passage of Navigable River. Obstructing or impeding without legal authority the passage of any navigable river, harbor, or collection of water.
  4. Water Pollution. Corrupting or rendering unwholesome or impure the water of any river, stream, or pond, or unlawfully diverting the same from its natural course or state, to the injury or prejudice of others.
  5. Blocking Public and Private Ways. Obstructing or encumbering, by fences, buildings or otherwise, the public roads, private ways, streets, alleys, commons, landing places, or burying grounds.
  6. Billboards. Billboards, signboards and advertising signs, whether erected and constructed on public or private property, which so obstruct and impair the view of any portion or part of a public street, avenue, highway, boulevard or alley or of a railroad or street railway track as to render dangerous the use thereof. (See also Section 62.06)
  7. Storing of Flammable Junk. Depositing or storing of flammable junk, such as old rags, rope, cordage, rubber, bones and paper, by dealers in such articles within the fire limits of the City, unless in a building of fireproof construction. (See also Chapter 51)
  8. Air Pollution. Emission of dense smoke, noxious fumes, or fly ash.
  9. Weeds, Brush. Dense growth of all weeds, vines, brush, or other vegetation in the City so as to constitute a health, safety, or fire hazard. Unless a variance is allowed by resolution of the Council, weeds, brush, or other uncultivated plants (except trees) shall be cut, mowed and maintained so as not to exceed eight inches in height.
  10. Dutch Elm Disease. Trees infected with Dutch elm disease. (See also Chapter 151)
  11. Airport Air Space. Any object or structure hereafter erected within one thousand (1,000) feet of the limits of any municipal or regularly established airport or landing place, which may endanger or obstruct aerial navigation including take-off and landing, unless such object or structure constitutes a proper use or enjoyment of the land on which the same is located.
  12. Houses of Ill Fame. Houses of ill fame, kept for the purpose of prostitution and lewdness; gambling houses; places resorted to by persons participating in criminal gang activity prohibited by Chapter 723A of the Code of Iowa or places resorted to by persons using controlled substances, as defined in Section 124.101 of the Code of Iowa, in violation of law, or houses where drunkenness, quarreling, fighting or breaches of the peace are carried on or permitted to the disturbance of others.
  13. Go-Go Dancers. The employment or engagement (or allowing the employment or engagement) of a person or persons to dance for the benefit and/or enjoyment of customers on a business or in a business premises. The term “person or persons to dance for the benefit and/or enjoyment of customers” refers to individuals performing what is normally referred to as “go-go dancing.” However, specifically excluded from this definition are ballroom dancing, tap dancing, square dancing and ballet dancing. The term “person or persons to dance for the benefit and/or enjoyment of customers” includes all individuals engaging in “go-go dancing” for hire, and at the request of and with the knowledge of the owner, operator and/or licensee of premises on which alcoholic liquor, wine and/or beer is served for consumption, either on or off the premises.

The following chapters of this Code of Ordinances contain regulations prohibiting or restricting other conditions which are deemed to be nuisances:

  1. Junk and Junk Vehicles (See Chapter 51)
  2. Dangerous Buildings (See Chapter 145)
  3. Storage and Disposal of Solid Waste (See Chapter 105)
  4. Trees (See Chapter 151)

The creation or maintenance of a nuisance is prohibited, and a nuisance, public or private, may be abated in the manner provided for in this chapter or State law.
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 657.3)


Whenever any authorized municipal officer finds that a nuisance exists, such officer has the authority to determine on a case-by-case basis whether to utilize the nuisance abatement procedure described in Section 50.06 of this chapter or the municipal infraction procedure referred to in Section 50.07.
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12[3h])


Any nuisance, public or private, may be abated in the manner provided for in this section:
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12[3h])

  1. Contents of Notice to Property Owner. The notice to abate shall contain: †
    1. Description of Nuisance. A description of what constitutes the nuisance.
    2. Location of Nuisance. The location of the nuisance.
    3. Acts Necessary to Abate. A statement of the act or acts necessary to abate the nuisance.
    4. Reasonable Time. A reasonable time within which to complete the abatement.
    5. Assessment of City Costs. A statement that if the nuisance or condition is not abated as directed and no request for hearing is made within the time prescribed, the City will abate it and assess the costs against the property owner.
  2. Method of Service. The notice may be in the form of an ordinance or sent by certified mail to the property owner. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12[3h])
  3. Request for Hearing. Any person ordered to abate a nuisance may have a hearing with the Council as to whether a nuisance exists. A request for a hearing must be made in writing and delivered to the Clerk within the time stated in the notice, or it will be conclusively presumed that a nuisance exists and it must be abated as ordered. The hearing will be before the Council at a time and place fixed by the Council. The findings of the Council shall be conclusive and, if a nuisance is found to exist, it shall be ordered abated within a reasonable time under the circumstances.
  4. Abatement in Emergency. If it is determined that an emergency exists by reason of the continuing maintenance of the nuisance or condition, the City may perform any action which may be required under this chapter without prior notice. The City shall assess the costs as provided in subsection 6 of this section after notice to the property owner under the applicable provisions of subsection 1 and 2, and the hearing as provided in subsection 3. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12[3h])
  5. Abatement by City. If the person notified to abate a nuisance or condition neglects or fails to abate as directed, the City may perform the required action to abate, keeping an accurate account of the expense incurred. The itemized expense account shall be filed with the Clerk, who shall pay such expenses on behalf of the City. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12[3h])
  6. Collection of Costs. The Clerk shall send a statement of the total expense incurred by certified mail to the property owner who has failed to abide by the notice to abate, and if the amount shown by the statement has not been paid within one month, the Clerk shall certify the costs to the County Treasurer and such costs shall then be collected with, and in the same manner as, general property taxes. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12[3h])
  7. Installment Payment of Cost of Abatement. If the amount expended to abate the nuisance or condition exceeds one hundred dollars ($100.00), the City may permit the assessment to be paid in up to ten (10) annual installments, to be paid in the same manner and with the same interest rates provided for assessments against benefited property under State law. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.13)
  8. Failure to Abate. Any person causing or maintaining a nuisance who shall fail or refuse to abate or remove the same within the reasonable time required and specified in the notice to abate is in violation of this Code of Ordinances.

In lieu of the abatement procedures set forth in Section 50.06, the requirements of this chapter may be enforced under the procedures applicable to municipal infractions as set forth in Chapter 3 of this Code of Ordinances.