Victoria enforces grass levels

Published 12:34 pm Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Victoria has started enforcing an ordinance requiring residents to keep their grass cut — and not everyone is happy about it.
While, to interim Town Manager Rodney Newton’s knowledge, no pictures have been received in the town office about the ordinance’s enforcement, he said “a post on Facebook in regards to a cited yard was brought to the attention of the town. It showed a grass height of approximately 5 inches.”
“Anyone who believes that their property was cited in error is more than welcome to contact the town office to bring a resolution to the issue,” he said. “The town of Victoria wants to work with the property owners to keep properties in the town limits safe and not a detriment to public health.”
The town ordinance Vegetable Growth Detrimental to Public Health Section states, “It shall be a misdemeanor for any person who owns or occupies property within the town to permit any grass, plants, bushes, weeds or any other vegetation 10 inches high or over, other than trees, shrubbery, agricultural plants, garden vegetables, flowers or ornamental plants, to exist on the property.” There are exceptions such as farmlands, extremely large lots and undeveloped lots.
Town policy provides guidance on the enforcement of the ordinance, Newton said.

Around the first of each month, properties in the town are checked for violation of the ordinance.

“A notice of violation is delivered to the residents of properties that are occupied and those that are vacant are posted on the property and mailed by regular mail to the last known address on the current tax records,” he said, citing the ordinance.

Properties cited have seven calendar days to comply with the ordinance.

After the expiration of the seven-day period, the citing officer makes a list of properties still out of compliance and photographs are taken. These property addresses are then provided to the town maintenance crew for abatement. The cost of abatement is mailed to the last known address on the most recent tax records.

“Victoria Police Department is currently tasked with enforcement of this ordinance,” Newton said. “Along with their other duties and trying to put a stop to a recent increase in crimes in the town, the officers are trying to be as fair as possible in enforcing the ordinance. The ordinance allows for discretion on the part of the officer in posting a notice of violation.”