COVINGTON, Ga. — Spring is in full bloom, which means grass will soon be back to growing at rapid rates, and that’s cause for concern for City Code Enforcement Officer Lenore Vanderpool.
During the heat of spring and summer months, Vanderpool said it’s important for members of the community to be mindful of the city’s grass and weed ordinance. She said if properties aren’t adequately cared for, consequences could be costly in more ways than one.
“We’re not trying to be the grass police,” Vanderpool said. “We just want people to understand the rules and, really, just take pride in keeping the community we all love in great shape.”
The ordinance covering grass and weed regulations states “all premises and exterior property shall be maintained free from weeds or plant growth in excess of 12 inches” and “all noxious (harmful/poisonous) weeds shall be prohibited.”
For the “health, safety and sanitation of the residents of this city” the ordinance also places focus on keeping properties free of weeds and refuse, such as “growths, trash, paper, rags, shavings, garbage, rubbish and filth.”
If people ignore the rules, Vanderpool said high grass and a yard littered with refuse could attract rodents and, in some cases, homeless people.
Vanderpool said the city recently tore down a home that was in “disrepair” on Geiger Street, and in doing so they discovered a group of homeless people on the property living out of a storage shed.
“They made it a home, though no access to water or electricity,” she said. “The property owners actually lived out of town and had no idea.”
Vanderpool said the city had received several complaints about similar situations in the area.
She said poor property care can also have an adverse affect on its value, especially if looking to sell or rent within a residential area.
If property owners fail to comply with any of the rules, Vanderpool said the city would notify them and allow them ample opportunity to address the issue at hand. If the property owner still fails to comply after a series of notifications, Vanderpool said they would be given a $50 citation and a municipal court date. Prior to the court date, Vanderpool said the city would go back out to the property with the intention to work with the property owner. She said if the issue had been addressed, they would work to either reduce the citation amount, if possible.
After the first citation, Vanderpool said the amount increases to $75 on the second offense and $100 on the third offense. The cost jumps to $150 on the fourth offense.
“We just want people to know that we’re watching,” Vanderpool said. “And we’re not trying to purposely take anyone to court over this, because that’s not what we want. We want people to follow these rules and have a sense of community, and that’s why we’re willing to work with you and get your property cleaned up without a citation.”
For more information about the ordinance or code enforcement, reach Vanderpool’s office at 770-385-2171.