Unkept Lawns Nearby? Ferndale Grass Ordinance Now in Effect
The mild weather has brought about more calls from residents about neighbors with overgrown grass, according to the clerk's office.
Have you noticed grass growing beyond the allowed limits in your neighborhood?
If you have, you shouldn't be noticing it much longer. The city is cutting down on the issue – literally – starting this week.
Marne McGrath, deputy city clerk for the city of Ferndale, said the city has received more calls than usual this early in the season about neighbors with overgrown grass.
"We have received a lot of calls because of the mild weather," McGrath said. "Until May 1st it's not under the ordinance for it to be maintained."
The ordinance, which limits grass to no longer than seven inches, is in effect from May 1 through Oct. 31. See the city's full grass ordinance here.
Ferndale resident Toni Cozad recently contacted Ferndale Patch about a house in her neighborhood that is "wasting away."
"I've lived across from it for about four years and that entire time it's been vacant and deteriorating," she said. "I've emailed the city about it and they said they're investigating it."
Cozad said the grass at the house is at least two feet high right now. "My neighbors and I are kind of at a loss," she said.
First re-inspections of the year began this week
McGrath said code enforcement officers went out starting last week responding to violations. Once a violation is found, the resident is given a violation notice and has seven days to correct it.
If the grass still isn't cut when the city goes back to re-inspect, a work order is put in for a lawn crew to come out to the house – and the homeowner is billed $275.
"This is the first week that they're doing re-inspections," McGrath said. "They will be going back to all the properties that they previously wrote violations for and start putting in the work orders if they see the work isn't done."
McGrath said this applies to vacant homes and homes in the process of foreclosure (the bank would receive the bill in that case). If the homeowner on record doesn't pay, the fee is eventually assessed on their tax bill.
Problems with other blight?
Local resident Cozad said she's happy to hear the lawn should be mowed soon, but she's still concerned about other issues.
The home in her neighborhood has been vacant for years, she said, and it has shingles coming off the roof, graffiti on the garage and she worries about kids playing near the house.
"It's a structural issue, it's an eye sore, it's making everyone else's property value decrease," she said. "Something needs to happen here, whether it gets condemned, boarded up, demolished, auctioned off ... something."
As for other code issues with a vacant home, McGrath said residents can report possible violations to the city at 248-546-2366. A code violation ticket will be given for anything that is out of compliance.
"If someone feels that it's dangerous they should call Community Development," she said. Though the city does not repair structural issues on individual homes, McGrath said the violation would be added into the system.
"A lot of times those end up with people receiving tickets and getting into the court system at that point," she said.
For more information or to report a possible violation, call Community Development at 248-546-2366.