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A new process has been approved by the Park Hills City Council that changes the way the city handles tall grass and weed ordinance violations.

With spring here now, it's time to start mowing lawns again and keeping them regularly maintained. This new ordinance focuses on keeping lawns in the city under control.    

The ordinance was presented to the council by Community Development Director Robert Sullivan.

The new policy states that residents must maintain their lawns and not let them grow above 7 inches in height. This has been the rule for some time now but the process for dealing with such violations is what has been changed.

Effective immediately, if a resident's grass grows taller than 7 inches, they will be given notice in the form of a sign on their door. The next day, a copy of the notice will also be hand-delivered or mailed to the occupant or tenant of the property if there is one. The notice will inform the property’s occupant of a hearing with the community development director and that they have five days to take care of the violation.

Whenever any weeds, grass, or brush does grow to 7 inches or higher, the community development director will hold a hearing or meeting with the property’s occupant to determine whether or not the weeds, grass, or brush is, in fact, a nuisance and needs to be taken care of.

Sullivan said the hearing is sort of an informal meeting where they will basically discuss with the tenants or property owners what needs to be done on the property.

These hearings will be held on a date at least 10 days after the date of the first notice.

After conducting a scheduled hearing, the director may enter a written order declaring the weeds, grass, or brush to be a nuisance and directing them to be trimmed or removed from the property within five days from the date of the order. If an occupant of the residence fails to comply with the order or doesn't show up to the hearing, they will be required to appear in court where further action could be taken.

These rules apply to the property’s legal occupant and/or owner. The rules also apply to renters of houses, duplexes, and apartments according to the ordinance.

Residents must maintain areas around their property also. They shall likewise cut and remove all weeds, grass, and brush growing in any areas between their property lines and the centerline of all improved or unimproved streets or allies including, but not limited to, drainage ditches, curbs, easements or other public right-of-way areas.

Multiple ordinance offenders, with subsequent violations, are addressed in the new ordinance also.

If a single property is in violation of the ordinance more than once during the same growing season, the director of community development may, without further notification, have the weeds, grass, or brush removed and the cost of the removal is recouped, by the city, in the form of a lien against the property.

The whole point of this change is to prevent recurrences of violations and having to constantly give notices.

Now, if you don’t mow your lawn, you’ll get a notice. The next time you're in violation, however, the city will show up and mow it for you without notice, Sullivan explained.

"This might get people's attention a little more ... We're trying to close the [time] gaps. With the old way we were doing it, time frames were so far apart that by the time the city would have to mow an [unmaintained yard], it could be 3 feet tall in some cases," he said. 

"Our goal is not to get out with a tape measure ... our goal is just to keep lawns from getting to a point where they create other problems that come along with excessive grass and weed growth and in general, make the town look deteriorated," said Sullivan.        

This ordinance was passed unanimously by the council during the April council meeting. Councilman Steve Weinhold was absent from the meeting.

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Bobby Radford is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3628, or at bradford@dailyjournalonline.com.

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