Officials Remind Residents of Grass Ordinance

Staff Writer

As weather warms, property owners are getting their yards back into shape after a cold winter. Part of that process is prompting officials to remind residents of a city ordinance and its purpose. 

Code Enforcement Officer Dan Warniment said he has been noticing more and more grass clippings and yard waste ending up in roads. The issue comes primarily when it rains and the clippings end up in drains but there is an added danger for motorcyclists.

“Those clippings can get really slick,” Warniment said. “It’s not good to slip when you have four wheels but it’s downright dangerous when it happens on two wheels.”

Per city Ordinance 1321.01, a public nuisance exists when, “(J) any person places, throws or sweeps into any street, avenue, ally, park or public ground, any dirt, paper, nails, pieces of glass or board, fruit parings or skins garbage, waste, leaves or clippings … or any other matter of an unsightly or unsanitary nature …” 

Ever since the weather has turned, Warniment and other city officials have noticed residents placing grass clippings in the roadway, violating Ordinance 1321.01. Warniment said he has warned several people — some multiple times — that they are in violation of the law by putting clippings in the street and not cleaning them up when they are done working on their yard.

“It just has to stop,” he said.

According to Assistant Law Director Zach Ferrall, violating Ordinance 1321.01 triggers a minor misdemeanor citation which can be up to $150 for the first offense. In addition to in-person warnings, all city residents will receive a note in their next utility bill citing the ordinance and reminding residents to dispose of yard waste properly. From then on, a warning has already been issued and citations can be written to those who violate the ordinance.

To help residents with cleaning their property, the city has a yard waste disposal site at the General Services Department at 351 N. Chestnut St. that is open 24/7 and is free to use. In addition, city workers collect brush and larger items on the first Wednesday of every month.

He also added that last week’s flooding — while not caused by clogged drains — could have been worse because some drains were plugged, preventing water from flowing properly.

“Again, I don’t want to have to write tickets for this — and I hope I don’t have to — but we have to do something,” Warniment reiterated. “Not only can this cause issues for our drainage system but it could become dangerous to people riding or driving by and we don’t want that to happen.”

Questions about the Ordinance 1321.01 can be directed to Warniment at 419-300-3182.