The Lawn Arm Of The Law

Photo by: Martin Schut

Did you know that there’s a secret code among grass blades? Yep, it’s true. Refrain from cutting your grass, it starts sending out signals to the neighborhood. So, people get out your rulers, grass or weeds over a certain height can get you a fine of hundreds of dollars.

Deer Park City has made it clear on its website that any grass or weeds exceeding 12 inches in height violate the Deer Park Municipal Code (DPMC) 8.04.020. This specific section falls under the Nuisances chapter, which is part of the broader Title 8 Health and Safety regulations. The purpose of this chapter is to exercise the police power of the city, with the primary goal being the continued peace, health, safety, and welfare of Deer Park’s residents. Consequently, all the provisions within this chapter are liberally construed to accomplish these vital objectives.

According to DPMC, property owners are responsible for ensuring that grass, weeds, or similar plants on their premises do not grow taller than 12 inches and cover more than half of the developed area. This regulation encompasses not only visible areas like lawns and gardens but also vacant lots and other undeveloped spaces. By enforcing these rules, the city strives to prevent the proliferation of weed overgrowth, which can detract from the beauty of the community and potentially create health and safety hazards. The primary safety risk being a fire hazard that could jeopardize buildings in neighboring properties. It also creates a habitat for unwelcome rodents and other mammals, such as gophers, moles, and skunks.

Property owners under this law have to regularly inspect their properties and promptly address any grass/weed growth that exceeds the specified limit. The enforcement officer assigned to this task will initially seek voluntary correction by contacting the person responsible for the violation. The officer will explain the issue and request correction, providing the individual with an opportunity to rectify the problem voluntarily. However, if voluntary correction is not achieved in accordance with DPMC, the enforcement officer may proceed with issuing a notice of civil violation to the responsible party.

There are several circumstances under which the enforcement officer may issue a notice of civil violation without having attempted to secure voluntary correction. These include emergencies, repeat violations, situations or conditions that cannot be corrected, the person’s knowledge or reasonable expectation of a nuisance occurring, or if the person cannot be contacted or refuses to cooperate with the city in addressing the violation.

Failure to comply with the ordinance can result in penalties for each day, or portion of a day, that the nuisance persists. The monetary penalties escalate as follows: $100.00 for the first day, $200.00 for the second day, $300.00 for the third day, $400.00 for the fourth day, and $500.00 per day for each additional day beyond four days. It’s important to note that local authorities may also consider other enforcement actions depending on the circumstances.

So, remember folks, keep your grass trimmed and your neighborhood safe from the grass police. Trust me, you don’t want to find yourself on the wrong side of the lawnmower!

Sources:

Deer Park City. “Title 8 Health and Safety Ch. 8.04 Nuisances.” Code Publishing, Codepublishing.com/WA/DeerPark/#!/DeerPark08/DeerPark0804.html#8.04.020. Accessed 29 June 2023.

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