Lansing Considering Changes to Overgrown Grass Notification Process

By: Josh Sidorowicz Email
By: Josh Sidorowicz Email

Lansing, Mich. (WILX) Thousands of citations have already been issued for unmowed grass in Lansing, but issuing those notices is a tall order and the city is considering changing that process.

"With code enforcement our whole goal is the health and safety of the neighborhood," said Scott Sanford, lead housing inspector for the city.

But with just nine code officers, the difficulty of enforcing is growing almost as fast as the grass.

"We're spending a tremendous amount of time--taxpayer dollars--going out, writing up these violations, going back eight days later and re-checking them, and then sending a contractor," Sanford said.

A new proposal would save enforcement officers from having to go back out and re-check before a contractor would get called out to mow.

"That would save a tremendous amount of resources and taxpayer money in our offices because we're not going to have to keep going out over and over again to check these," he said.

There wouldn't be any notice by mail, and the city would run PSA-style reminders on radio and TV.

But with more than 3,000 citations issued just this past month, it's leaving some neighbors looking at city property like the boulevard on Barnes Ave. in Lansing's Moores Park Neighborhood and asking "what gives."

"It's kind of ridiculous they don't keep up with it," said Giana Nieto who lives on the street and says she's cut her own lawn at least 3-4 times in the past month.

"The city should have the same responsibilities as the homeowners do," remarked Laura Clark who also lives across from the unmowed median.

But Scott House, deputy director of public services for the city, argues it's not that simple.

"It's not quite apples and oranges for what we're maintaining," House said.

"We're mowing parks, right-of-ways, ball fields, pump stations, firehouses, so there's a lot of work out there,"

The city maintains more than 1,100 acres at 500 different sites, he added.

The abnormal weather, coupled with two of the city's lawn companies defaulting on contracts, according to sources, is what set work back.

As for changes coming for the notification process for code offenders, the proposals haven't been finalized or presented to city council yet, but Sanford says the goal is to have the new process in place by this time next year.


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