Columbus residents are being urged to make sure to clean up and maintain their yards now that the weather is warming up to avoid potential fines.
The City of Columbus Code Enforcement team has come across 174 violations in the last three days as of Thursday, May 11th, 2023.
Per City Code, all premises and exterior property shall be maintained free from weeds or plant growth in excess of 12 inches. All noxious weeds shall be prohibited. Weeds are defined as all grasses, annual plants and vegetation, other than trees or shrubs provided; however, this term shall not include cultivated flowers and gardens.
It’s considered unlawful for any owner, agent, lessee, tenant, or other person occupying or having charge or control of any premises to permit weeds, grasses, and/or worthless vegetation to remain upon the premises. This also applies to any area between the property lines of the premises and the center line of any adjacent street, alley, sidewalk, easement, right-of-way, and all other areas, public or private.
The Code Enforcement team will notify the property owner/occupant or agent in charge of the premises in writing if there is a violation by certified, return receipt requested mail or by personal service, once per calendar year.
It starts with a red tag on the violator’s door to let them know of the offense.
Whenever there is personal service of the notice, a copy of the notice shall also be mailed by certified, return receipt requested mail to the owner. If notice by personal service or certified mail is unsuccessful, notice shall be given by either publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the city or by posting the notice on the lot or ground upon which the nuisance is to be abated and removed.
Upon expiration of the time frames required and in the event that the owner, occupant, or agent in charge of the premises ignores or fails to comply with requirements, Code Enforcement will take steps to cut, destroy or remove all such weeds and abate the nuisance created thereby at any time during the current calendar year.
Code Enforcement will then provide notice to the owner, occupant, or agent in charge of the premises by certified, return receipt requested mail or personal service of the cost of abatement of the nuisance. The notice shall state that payment of the costs is due and payable within two months upon completion of the work done or 30 days after receipt of the notice, whichever is longer.
If the costs of removal or abatement remain unpaid after within the timeframe set forth, then a record of the costs of cutting and destruction and/or removal shall be certified to the City. Any and all costs incurred by the City in the abatement of a weed violation under the provisions of this section shall be assessed against each lot or piece of ground chargeable therewith, as a special assessment or lien as provided by law. That fee, according to Code Enforcement’s Jodi Cole, could cost upward of $150.
“I’d rather not have to stop and put a red tag on their door, but lawn maintenance is part of being a homeowner. If you’re a renter and not in charge of mowing, let your landlord know if you receive a red tag,” Cole said. “We have to follow City Code, and we want Columbus to look nice.”