Increase in residents cited for overgrown grass and debris in Hopewell

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

HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) – Is your grass overdue for cutting? Are there items littering your lawn? A crackdown in Hopewell means some homeowners are being cited and summoned to court.

Lois Williams calls her backyard a living space. Code enforcement calls it a hazard and violation of city code.

"It's nothing really but trees, picnic tables, two trash cans, a grill - stuff that goes in the backyard," said Williams

That stuff has resulted in Williams getting a summons to appear in court for the accumulation of trash and debris.

"I don't think there's anything wrong with the backyard," said Williams.

Code enforcement says it's seeing an increase in violators -- up some 20 percent compared to the same time period last year.

"They will not cut their grass within the 10 days. They let the trash and debris remain on their property," said Roger Brown, Building Official with Hopewell Code Enforcement.

In Hopewell, if your grass is taller than 12 inches you're in violation. Once a resident gets a violation notice he has 10 days to correct the problem. If the issue isn't resolved the resident can be summoned to court.

"The judge will hear the case and determine fines at that time," said Brown.

Brown also says an unkempt yard could attract unwanted guests.

"Snakes, rats, things of that nature. Then the trash and debris could be a health issue," said Brown.

Williams says she's cleaned her yard to the best of her ability. Now, she's waiting for her day in court.

"I hope they dismiss it but I don't know. If I have to pay a fine I'll pay it, but I don't plan on cleaning it up anymore," said Williams.

Code enforcement says handing out a summons and requesting a resident appear in court is a last resort.

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