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Thread: 'Grass Cops' Watch for Overgrown Lawns

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    'Grass Cops' Watch for Overgrown Lawns

    Headline and Article from the AP Wire:
    http://www.newsday.com/news/nationwo...orld-headlines

    TOWSON, Md. -- Armed with a tape measure, Sophia Jennings keeps her eyes open for overgrown weeds and the owners of the yards that have them.

    Jennings, a Baltimore County code enforcement officer, checks on residents who are not in compliance with rules about overgrown lawns.

    In most area jurisdictions, letting grass grow more than a foot high, or 8 inches in Baltimore city, is against the law.

    In some jurisdictions, the grass "cops" come in the form of code enforcement officers. In others, public works officials or environmental health workers are assigned to the task.

    "We actually have a grass ruler," said Tommie Houck, chief of zoning enforcement for Harford County.

    The number of complaints varies by county and so does the process that follows the complaint, although each county uses some form of notification process and time for landowners to comply with the law.

    While most eventually do, for those who don't, officials in Baltimore and several counties said they step in and do the landscaping themselves, sending out government crews or contractors to slice through weeds and grass that have grown several feet high.

    The cost of the cut, which can run into the hundreds of dollars, is passed on to the property owner through a bill or a lien attached to the property, officials said."
    Does STAN or anybody else do any of these ?
    Oddball
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  2. #2

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    We keep gettuing calls from an irate citizen about overgrown "weeds" In my Stan role, I've tried to find the offending property-to no avail.

    Of course, in california, overgrown weeds can be a bigger problem than in wetter climates.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Oh, this brings back memories from my old ghetto neighborhood when I was a kid. There was this ugly yellow house across from us, and it had this gigantic (and i mean gigantic) pine tree in front of it. We used to get baseballs stuck up in there all the time.

    Anyways, it was vacant for a time, and the grass grew like over a foot, there was a snake rumored to be living there.

    The city would have to come out and cut it all the time...it was crazy. I think when my family moved out of the hood, the house still wasn't occupied.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
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  4. #4
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Stan tells me that he enforces the 8" grass regulation "selectively". By 'selective' I can only assume that means he tickets anyone who doesn't somehow compensate him for looking the other way....
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  5. #5
    We get high grass/weed complaints in our office on a regular basis, which is kinda weird because a chunck of the county is still rural/agricultural. They are normally around the fringes of the incorporated areas.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    There's a vacant house next door to me. I cut the grass in the front yard when I cut mine. The backyard is a concrete pad.
    I am recognizing that the voice inside my head
    is urging me to be myself but never follow someone else
    Because opinions are like voices we all have a different kind". --Q-Tip

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    Our Code Enforcement Officer is a grass cop and tree trimming cop. We notified 600 property owners to trim their trees to a height of 13' above the streets. And "yes" he has a grass ruler, which he only whips out when someone gets technical with the height. It keeps the town looking nice. Every once in awhile, I have to settle a dispute.
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

  8. #8
         
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    Our City pays $1000's of dollars on weed cutting. We hire a company to come out and cut grass that has recieved notification and then put a lien on the property. Something that struck me as funny (considering we don't have a "grass measuring tape") is the council changed the violation from 6 inches to 8 inches....
    But yes, we do have a ton of weed violations each summer, code enforcement department spends countless hours sending notification.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally posted by the north omaha star
    There's a vacant house next door to me. I cut the grass in the front yard when I cut mine.
    Same here, except it's across the street. Fortunately, it has just been purchased and the new young owners are rehabbing away -- and cutting the grass, too. Phew.

    Our "rank weed ordinance" is suspect, but we go on pretty much like everybody above.
    Je suis Charlie

  10. #10
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    I have never heard of a suburban community not having a tall grass/weeds ordinance. You just gotta have one. C'mon man, don't you want to adopt one too? Everyone else is. What are you - chicken? Buck buck buck buck........
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  11. #11
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Hey, that's why you have a green variance sign in your front window...
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  12. #12
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    I requirement varies between seasons. From Oct thru May it is six inches. June thru September it jumps to a foot. The main reason is water conservation as the taller grass is more sturdy and won't require as much water. We also find that it helps keep the dust down during extended dry spells. Most people keep it around 8" during the summer. We have special provisions in the ordinance in case we start seeing snake nests and such develop.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Floridays's avatar
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    Big news article recently about one of the larger cities in our area...they sent out the "weed/violation" patrol in its neighborhoods...very "proactive" code enforcement...guess who the biggest violator was? You guessed it...the City. Great publicity, huh?

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Boru's avatar
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    This is busybody rubbish. I cant believe that it is against the law to leave you lawn grow long in whatever parts of the country you are living in. Fair enough to those of you who feel the need to cut the lawn of vacant houses, but to send the Council out to do it and then charge the owner? What about property rights? There is a difference between a shabby unkempt lawn and an outright derelict house.

    Theorietically speaking, if I owned a house in the areas you are talking about, and I didnt bother to cut my lawn, would the Grass Nazis come out with their measuring tapes and tin-pot dictator attitudes and force me to cut it?

    Do their measuring tapes detect bear traps?

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    We only take action if it is a fire hazard, typically, if it is green, we let it be. I can't believe people don't have anything better to do than call the City because their neighbor hasn't mowed their lawn in three weeks. Plus, most weed ordinances that I am familiar with are pretty vague. If they don't define what a weed is, who determines what it is? What if it is a type of grass that is supposed to be taller than 6 inches (Red Rye Grass ,prarie grass, etc.), it certainly isn't a weed, because if the owner planted it, they desired to have it. The definition of a weed is an undesirable plant growing in an undesireable location.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    Stan tells me that he enforces the 8" grass regulation "selectively". By 'selective' I can only assume that means he tickets anyone who doesn't somehow compensate him for looking the other way....
    Stan will slap them with a notice to mow so fast, that it will make your head spin as fast as a lawn mower blade. If they don't he will have a contracted company go out and mow it, and charge the property owner $.01 per square foot, plus a $200 'You made me fax a notice' administrative fee!
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally posted by Floridays
    Big news article recently about one of the larger cities in our area...they sent out the "weed/violation" patrol in its neighborhoods...very "proactive" code enforcement...guess who the biggest violator was? You guessed it...the City. Great publicity, huh?
    The City of Oakland, CA has recently threatened to sue CALTRANS (the State highway agency) for poor maintenance of their freeway rights-of-way, including weeds and junk. The threatened suit was fostered when CALTRANS got all huffy about a bunch of kids who had cleaned up an abandoned, junk-filled lot under the freeway and turned it into a skate park.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    There was a case of this a few years ago here... Some old lady let her weed grow too high and the neighbors noticed and called the cops... Oh wait... that was another kind of weed....

  19. #19
    Cyburbian ICT/316's avatar
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    The "Grass Cop" in Park City (Wichita suburb) was pretty bad, too. He stocked, tortured and murdered 10 people. Dennis Rader took Code Enforcement to another level.

    Bill

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  20. #20
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Must be a quiet night on the police scanner in northern Colorado. That is, of course, where a certain Z-Man has been trying to grow grass forever and a day. He waters every night and still no police sirens.

    Bear
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