12 On Your Side: Grass complaints

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A Richmond couple upset about tall grass and weeds at a vacant lot adjacent to their home called 12 for help. It's attracting unwanted animals and trash. 12 On Your Side checked out that complaint and compiled information that may help you too.

Just today, we got a few more complaints. The City of Richmond got more than 1600 since May 12 — and many of those people called 12 for help speeding up the process for service.

The property is at Huguenot and Monteith Roads needs a good mowing. It rarely gets it without a call to the city, and Ann and Steve Walthall say they're tired of climbing obstacles get it cleaned.

"You got telephone boxes over there you can't get to," Ann Walthall explained.

"I was cutting grass in this area here and I looked around and there was a snake, in the strike position looking right at me. I jumped back left it alone," said Steve Walthall.

"You can see where I believe the state or Chesterfield which is across the street has taken care of all their stuff and the medians. They won't touch this," said Ann.

For years, the Walthalls believed the lot is the city's responsibility but, we found out today it's not. Richmond tells us it's a utility easement and several entities should maintain it.

"In the past, what we've done, we've gone out there with our own crew, our own forces to do our best to take care of our citizens," said Bobby Vincent, Director of Operations for Public Works. "We are in the process of trying to work with the utility companies to make sure that they take care of the lot."

Warm weather is peak time for tall grass complaints and Richmond says it's on it. Of 1600 service requests in 2 and a half weeks, it has a backlog of just 170. They say they're cutting grass and killing weeds within a time frame of three days to three weeks depending upon how difficult it is to reach the owner.

"We will go by there. Send a property maintenance inspector by the lot to take a look at it, make sure that it is in violation. Then we can cite that piece of property. Give that owner 48 hours to rectify the situation," Vincent said.

The city will go in and do the job if the owner fails to and then bill the owner. Vincent recommends residents call 311 or online at the city's website under its Impact Program.

"People's complaints are certainly not falling on deaf ears here within the city. We are going to take care of that property tomorrow, weather permitting," he said.

Richmond says the most important piece of information you can leave when making a tall grass complaint, is to leave your contact information. Lots around schools and lots that block visibility are the city's first priority.

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