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Lakewood Eyes Changes to Tall Grass, Weeds Ordinance

If you’re neglecting your lawn, you might have to pay up.

If the city of Lakewood mows the lawn of a negligent property owner, the price may be going up.

Under current ordinance, the city charges $100 per hour to visit a property with out-of-control vegetation.   

But a proposed change, introduced to on Monday, would increase the fee to $200 per visit or the actual cost of the visit — whichever is higher. 

“When a property owners is put on notice that they’ve haven’t cut their grass, we give them time to mow their lawn,” said Lakewood Law Director Kevin Butler. “When they don’t, we have the option to send in a crew to cut the grass, and we can charge the owner.”

In a letter to city council, Jennifer Pae, the , said that the change would “eliminate the imposition of minimum defined costs of abatement in favor of actual costs.”

Dru Siley, the city’s director of planning and development — who also oversees the city’s building and housing department — said that city spends about $200 per visit on average.

The change would save the city money, he added.

A tally of the number of such calls in 2011 was not immediately available.

“It’s a big problem for the people who live next door to a house that’s not being maintained,” Siley said. “We want to make sure everybody is being a responsible owner. If not, sometimes we have to step in and take care of it.” 

City council referred the measure to its finance committee for further review.

Alex Vandehoff May 09, 2012 at 11:23 AM
Good. They should have been charged full price from the beginning.
Brandon Scullion May 09, 2012 at 11:34 AM
Agreed. There its a house on Blossom Park with grass over 2 feet tall.
Dianne Becker May 09, 2012 at 12:39 PM
1416 Cordova...attracts drunks(from the local bars) to sit on the steps at 2:00 am. I dont like looking at it in the daytime or chasing people from it at night
Cheryl Ann Meredith May 09, 2012 at 12:40 PM
What a great way to build a relationship with your neighbor. Often renters don't own their own mowers, older folk may not be able to keep up, there is usual a story behind neglect. What a gesture to offer to mow their lawn when you mow your own. It may just strengthen your neighborhood and our community.
Michael Rice May 09, 2012 at 12:58 PM
$200 per visit. It takes a half hour to mow a Lakewood lawn. While I agree that the homeowner should be penalized for neglect, this article makes me wonder what they pay these employees hourly. For around $125-140 a month you could get lawn service and they're making a profit too. Sounds like outsourcing this problem could actually make the city income.
Bill Craig May 09, 2012 at 01:32 PM
if you are a renter and the landlord requires the tenant to cut the grass, get a mower, hired someone or dont rent that property. same with the homeowner, owning a property requires responsibility. if you cant handle it, dont put yourself in that situation in the first place.
Brandon Scullion May 09, 2012 at 04:55 PM
That would be all well and good if this were the case. Many of these situations are simply that the house was abandoned as is the case on Blossom Park. I mowed the lawn last summer just because I felt bad for my neighbors but it gets to a point where you just can't do it every day when the home, which is owned by someone but vacant, is left to rot while their For Sale by Owner sign gets swallowed up by the grass and weeds. And to speak to your point, my brother and I, both of whom live in my house, maintain the lawn for 5 houses not including our own just because we care. We would do theirs if the owner showed any respect for the neighborhood.
Peter Grossetti May 09, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Is there an city ordinance which specifically defines "out-of-control vegetation?" Grass in excess of X inches tall? Does this/should this refer to overgrown shrubs, etc.?
Steve May 09, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Why not put the youth of Lakewood to do this job? You would only need to pay for kids at minimum wage, supply 1-2 trucks and 1-2 adults to supervise. Take care of 2 jobs at the same time. $200.00 is a joke to cut grass. What is city hall thinking? I would fire those people for price gouging. How bout it Dru. Hell, I would only charge $100.00 for a normal yard in Lakewood, and use teenagers that could use the money, not overpaid city workers.
Peter Grossetti May 09, 2012 at 06:22 PM
I was at a council committee meeting (public works committee perhaps?) where this was discussed. Someone presented a spreadsheet with a detailed explanation of how city hall derives costs for such endeavors. In a situation such as this ($200 for cuting a lawn), the $200 not only covers the cost of gas for the mower, salary for the employee cutting the lawn, etc .. but dollars to cover administrative overhead expenses. I think there is also an "implied punative/deterent" factor applied to the fee.
Steve May 09, 2012 at 07:05 PM
@Alex, what is full price? You really believe that it cost $200.00 to clear an average Lakewood lot? What planet are you living on? Can I borrow some of those pills your taking???
Steve May 09, 2012 at 07:16 PM
@Peter, thanks for this info. Just proves my point that 'MY' spreadsheet still doesn't come close to city halls. They don't make money, but they sure can spend it. Let's see the administration get out there and earn their worth! They want a deterent, try respect first, if all else fails, shut off the water.
Colin McEwen May 09, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Peter, great question. According to the existing (as well as the proposed) ordinance, it's 6 inches. Which means, don't tell anyone, I may be breaking the law at this moment. I need to go home and measure.
Alex Vandehoff May 10, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Sure thing Steve, they're called Allegra, and you can get them at any drugstore, maybe that shiny new CVS. You seem to be missing my point - the PROPERTY OWNER IS RESPONSIBLE! I don't care if the city is charging $4,000 to mow a lawn, the property owner needs to be held responsible. The actual cost of this is a fully separate discussion. Maybe instead of whining about it, you can buy a mower and pitch to get the city's delinquent lawn cutting contract. Let us know how it works out.
Rico L May 10, 2012 at 02:49 PM
My fear on this is where dos it end...will my grass be 4 inches and that will be to tall...or they will mow someone's who it a foot tall, ad leave the persons that it 2 ft next door? How bout we treat everyone the same. Why do I get a site because of a pile of leaves I raked up in my back yard and there is a garage at a 45 degree angle on hillard? Or houses literally falling apart. I could rattle off a couple dozen quickly if I wanted...my point it concentrate on important shit! Like the streets...all the brick popping up on Detroit and Madison on the street curbs, the section 8 issue, and the houses that are actually falling apart!!! Not the people with grass a few inches to high! I see all these posts bout the city doing this and that. It all seems like piddily unimportant crap...concentrate on important things...oh and stop tearing down 100 year old building! Good by Detroit theater :(
Alex Vandehoff May 10, 2012 at 05:11 PM
I agree Rico, let's leave vacant, dilapidated, unoccupied, generic 100 year old buildings standing simply because they are old. The grass ordinance does treat everyone the same. And the city is doing something about housing in poor condition (search this site and you'll see many articles about the evaluations). I'd love to see this 'Leaning Garage of Hilliard' that you are talking about. If it is at a 45 degree angle, it should probably be in Modern Architecture magazine.
Rico L May 10, 2012 at 05:19 PM
It's maybe a dozen houses from Detroit buddy! Check it out! And why do we let these 100 year old buildings get to the point of no repair sir? The Detroit theater is a huge loss...McDonald's could have even done something really cool with it...McDonald's then go see a movie? And I can tell you from expirence and friends. That there seems to be little ryme or reason to the Siting going around if a house has looked like shit for weeks,months,years and people are getting sited for a pile of leaves or a trash can left out for a extra day then there IS a problem....why don't you try having a convo and not taking a smartass tone?
Rico L May 10, 2012 at 05:20 PM
To be clear the garage is on hillard maybe a dozen houses from the Sunoco on warren....my mistake...
Steve May 10, 2012 at 05:45 PM
@ Rico, The house is on hilliard, north side only 10 feet from the sidewalk. That construes a safety issue for the children walking past. As for ALEX, he never offers rhyme or reason, just like to cut to the quick. Good luck with him. He doesn't even know the hight requirements of grass and weeds in order to cite.
Rico L May 10, 2012 at 06:06 PM
@ Steve...Thank you!
Christina Cocchiarale Ward May 16, 2012 at 01:20 PM
I agree! Maybe if it was that high to begin with we wouldn't have to see half of the properties we see with tall grass, etc.
Christina Cocchiarale Ward May 16, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Bill Craig, WELL SAID!
Bob Smith May 21, 2012 at 03:54 PM
I would love to see a copy of Steve's spreadsheet. I would guess that it uses $4.75 as the minimum wage rate and has a line item related to stupid pit bulls.
Steve May 21, 2012 at 05:14 PM
@Bob, As I stated before, I know plenty of H.S kids that would love a summer job working outdoors, and could easily be paid above minimum wage. I do believe that looking at past post by YOU, that pit bulls are probably smatter than YOU. Thanks for bringing it up. The great state of OHIO, just deemed them not-viscous starting today. Why don't you get your head out of your *ss and just be happy for once in your life? I don't pick on your kids, now do I !!!
Bob Smith May 21, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Steve - Your pigeon English skills are well beyond any state of repair. However, I will still toss out a few pointers: 1) Stop capitalizing words that don't need it. There was no beneifit in emphasizing 'OHIO' as you just did. This makes you sound like a moron. 2) Give spell check a whirl. It will help pick up things like 'smatter'. 3) Stick to the subject. I never made any reference to the viscosity of pit bulls. If you feel that pit bull's fluids are less resistant to shear stress - great. I just don't want to hear about that.
Steve May 21, 2012 at 06:30 PM
@Bob, all points well taken. If you do not want to hear about it, then do not read it and reply with negativity. Your choice. You should try your number 3, after all, you changed the subject to dogs with your comment 'line item related to stupid pit bulls', and I just replied back. At least I offered a solution, you, not so much. Stay on subject.

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