Colonial Heights wants to regulate grass growth

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, VA (WWBT) – If your grass is taller than twelve inches you could soon face a fine, if you live in Colonial Heights. The city is moving forward with plans to regulate how long residents can go without mowing.

John Spencer is adamant about maintaining his lawn. He mows even when there's not much to mow.

"It keeps property values up for everybody. It makes the neighborhood look good. It's good for the city," said city resident, John Spencer.

Spencer and his wife, Lois, say they've seen too many unkempt yards in the city. They call it unsightly and unsafe.

"There are those who just don't care about their lawns being taken care of," said Lois Spencer.

High grass may no longer be tolerated in Colonial Heights.

"Before if you had 15 inches of grass there was nothing we could do in terms of having you cut it," said acting city manager, William Johnson.

The city is moving forward with a measure to regulate how tall grass can legally grow on private property. City leaders say the problem is mostly visible on vacant lots and in the yards of foreclosed homes.

"It's all about public health, safety and for beautification," said Johnson.

If the city gets its way - grass taller than a foot will be illegal. Violators could be taken to court or face a fine.

"If it's not in compliance with our regulations then we send you a letter saying it needs to be cut," said Johnson.

If residents don't comply the city will cut the grass and send the property owner a bill. It's welcome news for resident, George King. He describes the empty property next door to his home as a breeding ground for pests.

"I've seen raccoons running through this property. I've seen stray cats running through this property. The grass is about a foot and a half tall. It's taller when it's raining. I've seen this property get cut twice this year," said King.

City leaders say if the law passes it will take effect immediately. The city first voted to approve the regulation earlier this month. A second vote will take place on August 10 during city council's next meeting.

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