MAYOR’S CORNER

BY:  SCOTT DOUGLASS 

Can you believe it’s August already?!!  It didn’t get ‘summer’ hot until July.  Yes, it seems for some of us (I suspect most of us) time slips by faster than we want.  So how has your summer gone?  Those plans for the new flower bed, the new patio, house addition, a redo of the deck, how are you doing? 

That takes me to a discussion of the external appearance of our homes’ property, as we have had numerous complaints this year about outward appearances.  Do you remember when you were looking at homes in Clarkson Valley to buy?  What were the factors in determining your choice?  Each of us had our own decision tree; however, I’m sure there were many factors common to most of us.  Some undoubtedly would include:  schools (if children still at home), other relation living with you, lot size, home size, physical location to your interests.  And I suspect as you drove around the neighborhoods, the outward appearance became an important consideration; i.e., well kept lawns, beautiful trees, a certain pleasing personality seems apparent—almost surreal.  The City believes we have a responsibility to ensure the integrity of our neighborhoods is maintained.  We expect to do that without infringing on your personal life or freedom to live as you desire.  Ordinances are developed and passed to accomplish this task. 

An ordinance your City Council is reviewing in this regard is: 

SECTION 215.080:   WEEDS, GRASSES AND OTHER NON-ARBOREAL VEGETATION ON CERTAIN PROPERTY A NUISANCE

Russian, Canadian or common thistle, wild lettuce, wild mustard, wild parsley, ragweed, milkweed, ironweed, poisonous plants or shrubs, and all other weeds, grasses and non-arboreal vegetation which have attained a height of twelve (12) inches or more, growing or being upon any property for which a subdivision plat has been recorded in accordance with law in the City is hereby declared to be a public nuisance. 

It has come to our attention this section needs to be updated.  Certain clarification needs to be made also.  For example, the removal of dead trees or bushes to improve the property’s appearance.  Obviously, the appearance and maintenance of trees or bushes on lots of more than one acre are different than those on a single acre.  Ornamental grasses can grow to various heights (feet instead of inches) and be beautiful; however, they cannot be allowed to obstruct sight distance for vehicular or pedestrian traffic.  Your ornamental grass may be beautiful to you and the neighborhood; however, your neighbor may not want it growing onto his/her property.  These are examples of how our ordinances need refining. 

You will note our current ordinance has a list of noxious weeds, grasses and non-arboreal vegetation.  We are looking to expand and/or update this section; reducing the height of their growth is another consideration.  We would expect the lot size (over one acre) to have fewer restrictions than one-acre lots.  As mentioned earlier, you have been noticing more and calling to request action be taken to ask property owners to “clean it up”.  So look around your property and your neighborhood.  Do you see a distasteful appearance that can be corrected?  Talk to your neighbor and if the City can help, call us.  By the way, yard waste or debris of any kind is not to be thrown onto any street or into any storm sewer. 

I have tried to explain one of the ordinance changes the council is considering at this time.  I hope to bring to you, via these monthly articles, information about City activities you might not otherwise know—objective:  for you to be an informed citizen.  If you have an opinion about this ordinance or any others, call me and/or your council person.  Telephone numbers are on Page 2.  And my monthly reminder:  RECYCLE, RECYCLE!!  If you don’t have your enlarged bin, call now.  You’ll like it!!