Weeds & Grass Compliance Process

Notifying the City of a Nuisance Violation

Routine inspections result in the majority of warning letters being issued to property owners. Inspections are also performed due to citizen complaints. After receiving a citizen’s complaint, by (phone, Email, or see click fix), a property nuisance abatement inspector views the problem area to determine if there is a violation.

Property Violation Determination

The City inspector will determine if the property is in violation. If the weeds and grass are beyond the 10 inches mark, it is a violation. Photographs are taken of the violation.

Definition of Weeds

Weeds by ordinance are defined as all grasses, annual plants, and vegetation (other than trees or shrubs provided) beyond the 10 inches mark. However, this term doesn't include cultivated flowers and gardens, including native planting used for aesthetic or wildlife promotion, to attract and aid wildlife, to offset and control any soil loss problems either occurring or predicted, to promote stormwater infiltration into the soil, or promote transpiration of stormwater by plants.  These excepted areas must remain weed free to qualify for exemption.

If the City inspector determines that a violation has been found, two types of warning letters are issued:

  • Courtesy notices are mailed to any property owner whose property is currently in violation, but did not have three or more mowing violations in the previous year. This letter allows seven days from the date of the notice to mow all high weeds on the property.  If vegetation is brought into compliance within seven days of the notice, no fine is imposed.  If the property owner fails to abate the nuisance within seven (7) days of the courtesy notice, the City shall be empowered to abate the nuisance. The Building Official and the Public Works Director, or their respective designees, shall direct the abatement by either City staff or a contractor. The costs incurred by the City to abate the nuisance shall be charged to the property owner on their municipal utility bill, in the form of a lien on the property, or in any other manner consistent with the Code of Ordinances. Further, the City Attorney is authorized and directed to initiate litigation in court to recover costs incurred. The cost of abatement will be accompanied by a fine of one hundred dollars ($ 100) or ten percent (10%) of the cost of abatement, whichever amount is greater.
  • Habitual notices are sent to a  property owner who has been cited and had a nuisance abated on their property by the City three (3) or more times in a one (1) year period shall be considered a habitual violator. Habitual violators shall receive notice that they are so considered and said notice shall inform them that all subsequent violations shall result in immediate abatement by the City without additional courtesy notices. The costs incurred by the City to abate the nuisance and the associated fine shall be charged to the property owner in the same manner as above. Designation as a habitual violator may be discontinued when the property owner in question has not been cited for a minimum of one (1) year.

Ignoring Warning Letters

In the event that a property owner fails to comply with the courtesy or habitual notice , the high grass and weeds will be cut by City crews or a hired contractor at a cost to the property owner, billed per man-hour, with a minimum charge of $100. Additionally, the owner may be served with a notice of violation directing them to appear before the administrative hearing officer. Penalties may range from $50 -$500/ day, per violation.

Violation Appeal

Property owners may appeal a weeds and grass citation to the Community & Economic Development Director. Said appeal must be in writing and explain how there is not a weeds and grass violation present using photographic evidence. The appeal must be delivered to the Director prior to the end of the seven (7) day period following the issuance of the courtesy notice. Appeals received late shall not be considered. The Director shall have seven (7) days to review the appeal during which time no abatement or further enforcement action by the City shall be taken. The Director may reject the appeal on the grounds that a weeds and grass violation is present or, if convinced that no violation is present, dismiss the citation. If the appeal is rejected and the nuisance violation remains present, the City may proceed with abatement immediately.