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Q & A: City Ordinances


What is the city ordinance concerning grass and weeds?

Buchanan has adopted the International Property Maintenance Code as part of the city ordinances. The portion of this code that deals with exterior property areas specifies that: “All premises and exterior property shall be maintained free from weeds or plant growth in excess of 8 inches. All noxious weeds shall be prohibited. Weeds shall be defined as all grasses, annual plants and vegetation, other than trees or shrubs provided; however, this term shall not include cultivated flowers and gardens. (IPMC #302.4)


What is a junk vehicle?

By city ordinance the definition of a junk vehicle means any vehicle, capable of being registered with the department of state, which is not both registered and roadworthy.


What is the city ordinance concerning junk vehicles?

The owner or person in control of any private premises shall at all times keep junk vehicles, on the private premises or on any public places immediately adjacent to the private premises, from being visible to the public. A junk vehicle shall be deemed not to be visible to the public only if fully enclosed within a garage, barn or pole barn. Covering the vehicle with a tarp or other cover does not meet the requirements of this code. (Sec. 38-77)


What is litter?

Litter is garbage, refuse and rubbish such as decaying and non-decaying solid wastes consisting of both combustible and noncombustible wastes including but not limited to items such as wood, glass, crockery, yard clippings, cardboard, paper, leaves, junk, solid market and industrial wastes, dead animals, cans, etc.


What is the city ordinance concerning litter on private property?

The owner or person in control of any private premises shall at all times maintain the premises free of litter. (Sec. 38-53)


What is the city ordinance concerning rummage or garage sales?

All rummage, garage, basement, barn, porch, carport, yard, or other like sales on private property shall be subject to the following requirements and restrictions. (Sec. 74-26)

  • A permit shall first be obtained from city hall and displayed on site during the time of sale.
  • No sale shall be held for more than three consecutive days.
  • Signs shall not exceed four square feet in area, and shall be located only on private property with the permission of the property owner. No sign shall be located on the right-of-way of any public street, utility pole, and/or traffic sign.
  • Signs shall only be displayed on the days of the sale. All signs must be removed by 6:00 p.m. each night of the sale.
  • All sales shall be conducted in a covered carport, garage, building, driveway, or can be held in the front yard.
  • Not more than two permits shall be issued to the same person or for the same location in any 12-month period, except nonprofit organizations which can provide off-street parking may receive four permits during a 12-month period.
  • The permit fee shall be $2.50.


What is the city ordinance concerning open burning?

Open burning is prohibited except by special permit and in approved incinerators.

No person shall dispose of any leaves, rubbish, trash, wood, garbage, food containers, or other combustible material whatever in any street, alley, private place, or public place by burning within the city except by special permit from the city and except in an approved incinerator. No incinerator shall be installed within or on any premises without a permit and approval of the city. (Sec. 42-32)


The ordinance is not intended to prohibit burning for the following purposes: the preparation of food; outdoor camp fires in designated areas and parks; outdoor fireplace structures or containers, which structures or containers are designed and constructed and/or manufactured for the sole purpose of functioning as an outdoor fireplace, burning wood or charcoal fuel, and not designed and constructed and/or manufactured for primary purpose of disposal, by burning, of leaves, rubbish, trash, wood, garbage, food containers or other combustible material.


What are the restrictions on commercial vehicle parking?

On City Streets:

There shall be no standing, stopping, or parking on any City Street, except for pick up and/or delivery of goods or service. (Traffic control order #185)

On Private Property:

No person shall park any commercial vehicle or commercial equipment on private property in a residentially or commercially zoned district other than in an enclosed building. (Zoning ordinance15.085)

Exceptions to the private property ordinance:

  • May be parked on commercially-zoned property if that vehicle is owned, leased or contracted for the use of a commercial enterprise located on that property.
  • May be parked on commercially or residentially zoned property for the purpose of:
  • Picking up or delivering persons or materials, but only for the period of time necessary for completing the pickup or delivery.
  • To perform a service to that property, but only for the period of time necessary for completing the service.


What is the city ordinance on posting of bills?

No person shall paint, print, write, paste, stencil, staple, nail or in any manner whatsoever post any bill, sign, poster, notice, advertisement or any communication upon any pole, tree, wall, fence, building, or other structure standing on public property nor shall any person so do to private property without consent of the owner. (Sec. 58-87)