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Yes. Signs of neglect in a neighborhood invite criminals who benefit from such neglect. A well-kept neighborhood, where nuisance laws are reasonably enforced, discourages the presence of criminals and their activities.
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The committee consists of five city residents, appointed by the mayor with the advice and consent of the city council; one supervisory-level member of AFPD; the City’s nuisance enforcement officer; and one member of the city council, assigned by the mayor.
You are more than welcome to attend and participate in meetings. If you wish to be appointed to the committee as a voting member, please advise a committee officer or the mayor that you wish to be considered, when a vacancy occurs.
There are many kinds of nuisances. Some are more serious than others; some require more urgent attention than others. The Municipal Code lists these, among others:
The City Municipal Code is available online at the City website, afcity.org. Nuisance laws are found in several parts of the code, but most are in Chapter 8.08, entitled “Nuisance Abatement.”
Monday through Thursday, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., call the American Fork Police Department at its non-emergency number, 801-763-3020, and tell them you want to report a nuisance. Any other time, call Utah County Dispatch at 801-794-3970 and tell them the same.
Please note that the City, including the committee, tends to prioritize the most serious nuisances, preferring to deal with them before addressing less serious nuisances.
Someone from AFPD will attempt to inspect the reported nuisance. If it is a legitimate nuisance under the law, the first step will be to secure voluntary compliance in removing the nuisance. A fix-it ticket may be issued, but there is no fine or other penalty at this stage, if the owner or tenant handles the situation in a timely and reasonable manner.
If a responsible party refuses to comply, he or she can be charged with a misdemeanor and summoned to appear in court.
The City makes every effort to abate nuisances voluntarily without legal action, and may turn to the Neighborhood Preservation Committee or other community resources for help. In fact, American Fork handles these matters – quite intentionally – with a lighter touch than most or all other Utah cities which have nuisance ordinances. Nearly all nuisances are resolved without fines or court action.
However, uncooperative, persistent, or repeat offenders may immediately be charged with a misdemeanor and issued a court summons.
In a word, no. Your property rights are real and very important, but so are the property rights of your neighbors. If conditions on your property diminish the value of neighboring properties or infringe on others’ reasonable use and enjoyment of their property, you are infringing on their property rights. If conditions on your property or pose a hazard – from fire to rodent infestation to dangerous situations which attract children – then other rights might be infringed as well.
There is no nuisance law against painting your home a color which your neighbors find repulsive, for example. Nuisance laws protect property rights and promote public safety; they do not exist to promote or enforce beauty.
Contact AFPD or the Neighborhood Preservation Committee chair. Also, the public is always welcome at committee meetings, which are publicly noticed and held at least quarterly.