It can be a misdemeanor not to cut your grass.

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There is a proposed tree cutting ordinance.  One interesting item is that if you fail to comply it could result in your being charged with a minor misdemeanor.  
 
WHEREAS, the City Council has determined that it is in the best interest of the City to add a new Section 521.11 regarding the duty to remove nuisance trees in the public right of way in order to enhance the effective and efficient delivery of municipal services.

The discussion of this item is recorded in two sets of meeting minutes  Feb 3, 2014 page number 3 (6 of 11 in the .pdf) and Jan 6, 2014 page 3 and 4.  There is mention of a preparation of flow charts to map out the potential appeals process.  I'll have to check with city staff to see if I can get a copy (provided here).  I'm also not sure how the city will go about identifying which company will be chosen for doing the tree removals if necessary. 

This is an item that already has gotten two readings and at the next council meeting will be voted on. 

 By the way it already can be a misdemeanor to remove the yellow signs letting people know that your grass is too high, not cutting your grass and also for having trash on your property.  

 
521.10  DUTY TO CUT WEEDS AND GRASS; REMEDY BY CITY FOR NONCOMPLIANCE.
 
    (a)     The owner, occupant or any other person or entity having charge of any land, including any areas of easement, within the City shall cut down all weeds and grass more than eight inches in height and shall remove those cuttings from that land.
 
    (b)     The owner, occupant or any other person or entity having charge of land abutting a public right of way shall cut down all weeds and grass more than eight inches in height from any unpaved portions of the right of way abutting the land and shall remove those cuttings from the right of way and that abutting land.  For the purposes of this section, the owner, occupant or any other person or entity having charge of land abutting a public right of way shall be deemed to have charge of that half of the right of way on the side of his or her land.
 
    (c)     Weeds and Grass More than Eight (8) Inches in Height.  This section shall not apply to real property that meets any one of the following requirements:
 
 
         (1)     Real property lawfully and substantially used for agricultural purposes for profit.
 
 
         (2)     Real property of more than two acres where a 150 foot wide strip directly adjacent to the boundaries of such real property complies with this section.  However, compliance is not required for the portions of any boundaries of such real property that are adjacent to an undeveloped lot and which are more than 10 feet from the closest point of contact with a developed lot.  Real property will be deemed "developed" if a permanent structure, including but not limited to paving, has been erected on the parcel.
 
 
         (3)     Any real property owned by any governmental entity and used as a park or similar recreational facility or as an educational facility.
 
 
    (d)     The Director of Public Service or his/her designee, shall, in the name of City Council, annually, cause a notice to be published in a newspaper of general circulation within the City, stating that weeds and grass are growing on lands within the limits of the City.  Such notice shall not be required to describe the lands or to specify the name of the owner of such lands.  However, such notice shall constitute notice to any owner, occupant, or any other person or entity having charge of such land upon which weeds and grass are grown that the same must be cut and destroyed within five (5) days after such publication.  Such notice shall further specify that such weeds and grass shall be cut every thirty (30) days thereafter without further notice or publication in order to prevent spreading or maturing of weeds and grass.  Such notice shall be published one time per year in order to constitute notice hereunder.    
 
    (e)     Upon notice presented to the Director of Public Service or his/her designee, that weeds and grass are growing on land in the City, the Director or his/her designee, in the name of Council, shall in addition to the publication set forth in subsection (d) hereof, cause a placard to be conspicuously placed on the property.  Said placard shall be of a size, shape and color to be clearly visible and shall contain, at a minimum, the following information:
 
 
         (1)     That it is a Notice to Cut Grass and Weeds;
 
 
         (2)     An order to cut or remove the weeds or grass within five days of placement of the placard;
 
         (3)     A statement indicating that should the property owner fail to comply with the order, the City will cause the weeds or grass to be cut or removed at the owner's expense, and the City may place a lien on the property for the amount owed for the removal together with an administrative fee of two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00);
 
 
         (4)     That there are penalties provided for removing the placard before bringing the property into compliance; and
 
         (5)     Contact information of the appropriate City agency.
 
    Such placard shall remain on the property until the property is brought into compliance with this Section 521.10.  Removal of the placard before the property complies with this Section 521.10 shall constitute a minor misdemeanor punishable under Section 501.99 of this Code.  Any person convicted of wrongfully removing the placard within two years of a prior conviction of the same offense shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
 
 
    In addition to the foregoing, the Director of Public Service, or his/her designee may, but shall not be required to, cause a written notice to be served upon the owner, occupant or any other person or entity having charge of such land directing that such weeds and grass growing on such land must be cut and removed pursuant to this Section 521.10.
 
 
 
    No owner, occupant or other person or entity having charge of land shall fail to comply with the notice provided in this Section 521.10.
 
 
    (f)     Noncompliance; Remedy of City.  In addition to any other criminal or civil remedies available to the City, if the owner, occupant or other person or entity having charge of the land fails to comply with such notice, the City may cause such weeds and grass to be cut and removed at the expense of the owner of that land, and may employ the necessary labor to carry out the provisions of this subsection.  All expenses incurred, together with an administrative fee of two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) shall be assessed against  the land.
 
 
    (g)     Collection of Costs.
 
         (1)     Written notice of such an assessment shall be given to the owner of the land by regular U.S. Mail or certified mail sent to the address as appears in the tax duplicate.  The amount of the assessment shall be paid and delivered to the City within fifteen (15) days after notice of the assessment was so served.
 
 
         (2)     If the City has not received payment of the assessment within those fifteen (15) days, the City shall make a written return or certification to the County Auditor of the amount of the unpaid assessment, plus an additional administrative charge of ten percent (10%) including with that certification a proper description of the premises.  The assessed amount shall be entered upon the tax duplicate and shall be a lien upon such land from and after the date of the entry and shall be collected as other taxes and returned to the City with the General Fund.
 
 
    (h)     Notwithstanding the City's right to have the weeds and grass cut and removed at the expense of the owner, any owner, occupant or other person or entity having charge of land that violates this section shall be guilty of a minor misdemeanor.  Any person convicted of a second offense of this section within two years of the first offense shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.    
(Ord. 2011-0-1897.  Passed 7-25-11.)
 
     521.99  PENALTY.
 
 
    (EDITOR'S NOTE:  See Section 501.99 for penalties applicable to any misdemeanor classification.)
 
 
 521.081 LITTERING AND DEPOSIT OF GARBAGE AND TRASH; REMEDY BY CITY FOR NONCOMPLIANCE.
 
 
    (a)     The owner, occupant or any other person or entity having charge of any land, including any areas of easement, within the City shall properly deposit and promptly remove any litter placed on any land that constitutes a detriment to public health, according to the regulations set forth in Section 521.08.
 
 
 
    (b)     “Litter” shall be defined as any debris as referenced in Ohio R.C. 731.51.  This section shall not apply to real property being used under a municipal building or construction permit or license, municipal permit or license, a conditional zoning permit or variance to operate a junk yard, scrap metal processing facility, or similar business, or a permit or license to operate a waste facility issued pursuant to Ohio R.C. Chapter 3734.
 
 
    (c)     Notice to Remove Litter; Assessment Against Land.  Upon a finding by the Director of Public Service or his designee, that litter has been placed on lands within the City and constitutes a detriment to public health, the Director, or his designee, in the name of the City Council, shall cause a written notice to be served upon the owner, occupant or any other person or entity having charge of such land directing that the litter be removed within ten (10) days after the service of the notice.  No owner, occupant or other person or entity having charge of the land shall fail to comply with such notice within those ten (10) days.
(Ord. 2002-0-1343.  Passed 5-13-02.)
 
 
    (d)     Service of Notice.
 
 
         (1)     The written notice provided for in subsection (c) hereof shall be served upon the owner, occupant or other person or entity having charge of the land either in person, or by being mailed to or left at the usual place of residence of any such person or the principal office of any such entity.
 
 
         (2)     If such owner, occupant or other person or entity having charge of such land is a nonresident of this City whose address is known, such notice shall be sent to his or its address by registered or certified mail.
 
 
         (3)     If no owner, occupant or other person or entity having charge of the land is present on such land at the time the City attempts to serve the written notice, or if the address of such owner is unknown, or if notice by registered or certified mail is not delivered and accepted, the City shall have the option to make such service by publishing the written notice once in a newspaper of general circulation in the City.
 
 
         (4)     The Director of Public Service or his designee may make such personal or residential service and return of the written notice provided for in subsection (c) hereof.
 
 
              (Ord. 2011-0-1897.  Passed 7-25-11.)
 
 
    (e)     Noncompliance; Remedy of City.  If the owner, occupant or other person or entity under subsection (c) hereof, fails to comply with such notice and promptly remove the trash or litter, the City shall cause such litter to be properly removed at the expense of the owner of that land, and may employ the necessary labor at seventy-five dollars ($75.00) an hour to carry out the provisions of this subsection.  All expenses incurred, together with an administrative fee of two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00), shall be assessed against the land.
 
 
    (f)     Repeat Violators.  For the second or continued violations of the same general character, on property whereby the owners, occupant or other entity has charge of such land received notice under subsection (d) hereof, occurring not sooner than fourteen (14) days and not later than six (6) months after the previous violation, the written notice contained in subsection (d) hereof may be omitted and a violation notice, specifying that the violation shall be corrected within seventy-two (72) hours of receipt of said violation notice, shall be personally served upon the owner, occupant or other person or entity as specified in subsection (d) hereof, or posted on the premises if the owner, occupant or other person or entity having charge of the land cannot with reasonable diligence be located.  If the violation is not corrected by the specified compliance date by the owner, occupant or other person or entity under subsection (d) hereof, the City shall cause such litter to be removed at the expense of the owner of that land, and may employ the necessary labor at seventy-five dollars ($75.00) an hour to carry out the provisions of this subsection.  All expenses incurred, together with an administrative fee of two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) shall be assessed against the land.
 
 
 
    (g)     Collection of Costs.
 
 
         (1)     Written notice of such an assessment under subsection (d) or (f) hereof shall be given to the owner of the land in the same manner as is provided above for service of the written notice to remove litter.  The amount of the assessment shall be paid and delivered to the City within ten days after notice of the assessment was so served.
 
         (2)     If the City has not received payment of the assessment under subsection (d) or (f) hereof within those ten days, the City shall make a written return or certification to the County Auditor of the amount of the unpaid assessment, plus an additional administrative charge of ten percent (10%) including with that certification a proper description of the premises.  The assessed amount shall be entered upon the tax duplicate and shall be a lien upon such land  from and after the date of the entry and shall be collected as other taxes and returned to the City General Fund.
 
 
    (h)     Whoever violates this section shall be guilty of a minor misdemeanor.  Any person convicted of a second or additional offense of this section within two years of the first offense shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
 
 
(Ord.  2002-0-1343.  Passed 5-13-02.)
 
 

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