Proposed new law to further regulate public and private nuisances
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Sen. Magalei Logovi’i is the sponsor of a proposed law which regulates public and private nuisance, and if enacted, provides a new section to the local statute, which currently covers only public and private peace disturbance — a misdemeanor crime that has been on the rise with many new cases filed in District Court every week.
According to the bill’s preamble, the territory’s population is rapidly increasing and with the increase, come issues generally associated with — “limited space, increased noise, increased garbage and increased smells.”
“American Samoa citizenry should be mandated to follow specific laws and regulations to control occurrences of peace disturbance from amplifying loud music, noises, etc. causing distraction and invasion of privacy and community welfare of their surroundings,” the preamble states.
The bill defines “public nuisance” as anything that:
• is injurious to heath, or is indecent, or offensive to the senses or an obstruction of the free use of property; and
• interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property by an entire community or neighborhood or by any considerable number of persons, or unlawfully obstructs the free passage or use, in the customary manner, of any river, bay, stream, lagoon, basin, or any public park, square, street, or highway or any use of a traditional village grounds.
According to the bill, a person who “maintains or commits” public nuisance is guilty of a class B misdemeanor.
Of interest in the bill, is that every person who maintains, permits or allows a public nuisance to exist upon his or her property or premises, and every person occupying or leasing the property or premises of another, who permits or allows a public nuisance to exist is also guilty of a class B misdemeanor.
For private nuisance, it’s defined in the bill as an interference with a landowner’s right or those in rightful possession of land, to enjoy and use his land. Violators of this provision are guilty of class B misdemeanor.