Posted by: Patricia Salkin | November 30, 2007

Violation of Ordinances Prohibiting Accumulation of Junk and Locating of Mobile Homes Outside of Trailer Park Upheld

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals upheld an order requiring the removal of more than fifty unlicensed vehicles and three mobile homes, two of which had no sewer or water hook-ups and had windows boarded up, and one with rusted car parts and miscellaneous junk.  One of the mobile homes appeared inhabited however, since there were a well-worn path to it, a power cord from the outside providing electricity to appliances, a refrigerator stocked with food, a working fan and heater, and clothing on the bed. Applicable Town ordinances prohibit properties from being used as junkyards or salvage yards without a permit; the accumulation of unlicensed junk vehicles; and locating mobile homes outside of an authorized trailer park, except by permit.  

The Court found that the ordinances did not violate the defendant’s constitutional rights as the police power includes the “authority to craft regulations designed to suppress what is offensive, disorderly, or unsanitary and to promote general prosperity by, for example, preserving property values.”  The Court noted the testimony of the Town Chairman who said that an accumulation of tires and vehicles parts could foster vermin and other infestation, that the dilapidated mobile homes and that many of the junk automobiles were visible from the road, and found that the ordinances are rationally related to the achieving the legitimate stated governmental purpose of protecting and fostering, “the health, safety and well being of persons in the Town for the protection of their property rights and to beautify the landscape and otherwise promote the public interest.”   

Town of Mosel v. Hodgell, 2007 WL 2848125 (Wis. App. 10/3/2007).  The case can also be accessed at: www.wicourts.gov/ca/opinion/DisplayDocument.pdf?content=pdf&seqNo=30485


Responses

  1. This situation would also constitute a “public nuisance”, authorizing the action.


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