With summer in full swing, Frankfort’s Building Services team want to remind residents of the City’s mowing enforcement process that kicks in once grass reaches seven inches high and ask for everyone’s cooperation to help ensure quality neighborhoods are maintained.
According to Frankfort Ordinance 96.25, it is unlawful for the owner or tenant of any lot, parcel or tract of real estate located within the corporate limits of the City to allow, cause or permit an excessive growth (exceeding higher than an average of seven inches) of grass, weeds or other offensive vegetation.
Following this ordinance, for any parcels Building Services staff notice or are reported to them, the following procedure is implemented.
An initial inspection is done with pictures taken of the property, a complaint form is completed (residents can access the same form on the City’s Web site to report a property) and entered into the Building Services’ software system. A high grass letter is sent certified mail as a first notice to the property owner, giving him or her ten days from the date the letter is received to mow the yard.
The 10-day waiting period is required by Indiana state statute, meaning the time frame cannot be changed on the local level.
On the 11th day following signed receipt of the notice, the staff re-inspects the property and if it still is in violation, pictures are taken again and sent to the City’s mowing vendor to mow the grass. Once the City’s mower has completed the work, the property is inspected again and a bill is sent to the property owner. If after 30 days the bill is not paid, the matter is forwarded to the City Attorney’s office to place a lien against the property.
If that same property continues to have high grass, weeds or other vegetation, the Building Services staff conducts an inspection again and takes pictures with a repeat offender notice posted at the property, given the property owner ten days to mow. The same process and timeframe are followed for the second violation as the first.
Per the City’s ordinance, for violations beyond a second offense no additional notices are sent to the owner or posted at the property. The City’s mowing vendor is sent to mow, with an invoice sent to the owner and if not paid within 30 days, the matter is sent on to the City Attorney.
According to Director of Property Maintenance Katrina Bell, the inspections, correspondence and follow-up are intended to work cooperatively with Frankfort residents in keeping the City in good shape.
“We always hope – and prefer – residents respond timely to the first notice we send so we don’t have any other issues from that point on, but if that’s not the way it goes, the high grass ordinance outlines a process we are required to follow to help ensure properties in Frankfort are maintained.
“While most property owners take good care of their yards, it doesn’t take many others failing to do so to bring down the value of all properties around them. In turn, those neglected properties end up negatively affecting our entire community,” Bell explained.
According to Street Superintendent Jason Forsythe, when mowing yards, residents are reminded to keep grass clippings and leaves out of drains to keep the City’s drainage system clear of yard waste. Grass clippings and leaves can be brought to the Street Department’s compost site at 905 Burlington Avenue, Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. and on the first and third Saturdays of each month from 8:00 a.m. – noon. If yard waste is bagged, contents will need to be removed from the bags once at the compost site.
“Our City crews only pick up leaves in the fall. Disposal of grass clippings always is the responsibility of homeowners. While crews pick up brush piles, tree limbs and branches year-round, residents always have the option to bring those items via a trailer or truck bed to the Street Department.
“If homeowners leave the brush, tree limbs and branches to be picked up by our crews, the materials need to be set between the curb and sidewalk and kept away from any obstructions such as parked cars, fire hydrants and utility poles. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation to avoid drainage issues as yards are maintained throughout the City,” Forsythe said.
The importance of all property owners maintaining their yards in good condition is a vital component of the McBarnes administration’s Neighborhood Revitalization cornerstone.