Weeds: growing concern

If the weeds in your yard are out of control, don’t be surprised if a Lovell police officer pays you a visit. It’s the law in Lovell that property owners and residents must control weeds on their property, and the Lovell Police Department is gently reminding residents of their responsibility to comply by serving written notice to those who don’t.
The ordinance, which is numbered 675, states that “It shall be the duty of every person, whether owner, lessee or renter of any vacant lot, building or premises, drive-ins, dwelling houses, apartments, tenements or other establishments at all times to maintain their premises including the alley adjacent to said premises and including areas between the curb and property line in a clean, orderly condition, free of any unsightly growth of weeds.”
Lovell Police Chief Nick Lewis thinks that residents and property owners, especially vacant lot owners, are doing a much better job of complying with the ordinance this year. He’s also seeing more awareness on the part of community members as to how properties look around town and, as a result, has more people asking him and his officers to look at certain properties that are not in compliance than in years past.
“We really started looking at the weed problem and writing compliance letters about five years ago,” said Lewis. “This year, even with the wet spring, we’ve seen our best compliance year yet. We’ve had some properties with reoccurring issues over weeds getting too high and their lot being somewhat disorderly in the past that are doing a really good job this year.”
If a property is deemed unsightly, a police officer will personally verify the complaint, then deliver a written letter to the person residing at the address asking them to comply with the ordinance. In cases where the property is vacant, a notice is delivered to the owner by certified mail. If the party served does not comply within 14 days, a citation is issued and they must answer to a judge. According to Lewis, most people comply and very few citations have been written.
“I would say, by and large, that more people are wanting our community to look nice,” said Lewis. “I think its kind of a good thing that the community wants to take pride in itself. I don’t see any down side to it.”
Lewis has personally delivered a few notices to residents over the past few weeks. He and his officers are on the watch for properties that are in violation and will continue to issue notices whenever they see properties that are in violation of the ordinance.
“Initially it’s just a reminder that they need to spruce up their property,” said Lewis. “Most people comply right away.”

By Patti Carpenter