HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) - Hopewell wants to broaden an ordinance that regulates garbage and clutter on private property. Last night, city council voted unanimously in favor of the measure.
Resident Betty Walmsley takes pride in her property...
"I sweep my sidewalk every morning. I try to take care of the trim when doing the grass all out front to make it look neat," said Walmsley.
Walmsley says she's happy the city is looking at expanding regulations dealing with debris, such as appliances, on private property.
"It detracts from the other houses and makes our property value go down," she said.
Under the proposed ordinance grass and weeds are not allowed to be in excess of a foot in height on any vacant developed or undeveloped property. Storing old appliances or household fixtures in your yard is considered a nuisance and a potential health hazard.
"If you have debris in your yard it attracts insects, It attracts rats, mice, and snakes," said City Attorney Thomas Lacheney.
Any branch, shrub or tree that protrudes from your property into the street, sidewalk, or public alley would be unlawful if it obstructs the safe movement of vehicles or people.
The proposed ordinance distinguishes between properties that are occupied and unoccupied. It also covers a greater number of properties in the city.
"The goal is to expand the ordinance to give code enforcement folks more ability to regulate weeds, debris, trash, appliance - things people sometimes leave in their yard," said Lacheney.
Violators who don't comply will face an increased fine.
"First offense is a $50 fine, and again these are on unoccupied properties, but if it becomes a recurring problem the fine increases to $200 a day with a $3,000 cap," Lacheney said.
There will be a second vote by council on the issue in October. If approved, the measure will take effect 30 days after that vote.