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City Exploring Abatement Laws to Address Neighborhood Nuisance

Neighborhood-300x260A few months ago I asked staff to explore ways to address recurring nuisances that we often see in the neighborhood.

Accordingly, staff invited Ms. Michelle D. Lyons, representing the Prince George’s County Nuisance Abatement Board to next week’s Council Worksession. She will describe the Board’s function and respond to any questions Mayor and City Council might have.

The Nuisance Abatement Board was created under Section 14-173 of the County Code to hear complaints which allege that any premises constitute a public or neighborhood nuisance. A Neighborhood nuisance means any premises on or in which, on two or more separate occasions within a one-year period before the start of a proceeding under this subtitle, an owner, tenant or occupant of the premises:

  • acts in a disorderly manner that disturbs the public peace; or
  • engages in acts, creates or maintains conditions that allows others to act in a disorderly manner that disturbs the public peace or
  • engages in activities that are prohibited in residential neighborhoods and zones, including any event, gathering, party, or picnic that involves: admission fees; cover charges; door charges; entry fees; ticket sales; food or beverage sales; adult entertainment charges, fees or sales; personal profit to the homeowner or organizer of an event; or is open to the general public.

Any State, County, or municipal law enforcement agency authorized to issue citations or corrective orders may file a petition to begin proceedings before the Board if a premises is used in violation of County, State, or Federal laws governing controlled dangerous substances, prostitution, human trafficking, criminal gangs, the storage or concealment of illegal weapons, stolen property, contraband or other evidence of criminal activity at the premises, or as a public or neighborhood nuisance.

Once a petition is filed and accepted, the Board gives notice and schedules a hearing to determine whether a public nuisance exists. Upon a determination that a public nuisance exists, the Board will render a decision to immediately cease the activity and may impose a monetary fine. The fine for the first violation is $500.00 and $1,000.00 for the second violation. The Police Department may issue a criminal violation in lieu of a civil citation.

The seven members of the Board include representatives of the Prince George’s County Fire Department, Police Department and Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement as well as four (4) citizens appointed by the County Executive. Additional support is provided by an Associate County Attorney from the Prince George’s County Office of Law
The County lists the Administrator of Boards and Commissions as the primary contact for further information or questions regarding the Nuisance Abatement Board at 301-636-2020.

You can find more about the nuisance abatement law here

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