Watching your grass grow might not be advisable this summer as the county is getting its ducks in a row to target property owners who allow their lawn to become overgrown.
Building and Codes Department director Nolan Ming says a citation can be given to a property owner whose grass is allowed to grow too high or who allows debris, such as fallen limbs, to accumulate.
“I haven’t thought too much about enforcing this until we have this panel in place,” said Ming. “There are quite a few properties I intend to pursue once this is put in place. This panel will provide backing for what I’m doing.”
Policy and Personnel Committee members Carlene Brown, Wayne Copeland, Charles Morgan, and Tommy Savage approved a resolution Thursday to appoint three individuals and establish a Hearing Panel for individuals who wish to dispute an Overgrown Vegetation Violation citation. Commissioner Ken Martin was absent.
County Executive Herschel Wells has nominated the individuals, says Morgan.
“The names Herschel submitted for recommendation for this, and I assume he has already talked to everyone, are Raymond T. Holland, Tommy Savage and Bessie Smithson,” Morgan said.
Holland unsuccessfully ran for election in 2014, Savage was elected in 2014, and Smithson chose not to run for reelection in 2014 for health issues.
Copeland questioned if the health issues effecting Smithson’s run for reelection would prevent her from carrying out her responsibilities on the panel.
Morgan stated, “I asked Herschel about that and he said she was doing a lot better and she wanted to be involved.”
Panel members will meet when property owners wish to dispute a citation given to them by Ming. Members won’t have any judicial powers. However, they will decide if he was right or wrong in giving the citation.
“This will be an appeals board for overgrown vegetation,” said Morgan. “We’ve talked about appointing a board for that. It’s somewhere people can take their complaints if they disagree with what Nolan writes them up for.”
What hasn’t been established yet is the how high is too high for grass? Ming says the panel will be tasked with making that decision.
“I think there needs to be a height for the grass,” Ming said. “At this time, it’s open to interpretation.”
The resolution will be presented to the full Warren County Commission for its consideration.