Time to Cut the Grass or Get Fined…

I’ve been getting a few emails about what to do when you see lawns getting too high (both public and private properties). This question seems to come up pretty regularly every spring. If it is public property call 311. If it is a neighbor I always suggest patience as sometimes people just forget for a couple weeks. But if it is a real nuissance property DCRA has a press release:

“The Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) is issuing a reminder to District residents about the seasonal grass-cutting rules, which take effect on May 1, 2010 and run through October 31, 2010.

District regulations prohibit property owners (commercial and residential) from allowing grass and weeds on their premises to grow more than 10 inches in height. Failing to adhere to the rule could lead to fines of more than $500. Between May 1 and October 31, DCRA can immediately mow properties and issues fines.

Continues after the jump.

DCRA will be hanging “door knocker” reminders at properties where the grass height is getting close to the threshhold to try to encourage voluntary compliance before the city has to intervene.

Tall grass can trigger respiratory problems like asthma and allergies in District residents and rats and other vermin are also drawn to the over-growth. This holds serious public health implications.

DCRA regulates several types of excessive vegetative growth including: kudzu, poison ivy, oak and sumac, plants with obnoxious odors, weeds, grasses causing hay fever, and any weed growth that creates a breeding place for mosquitoes. Regulations require that these weeds be cut after no more than seven days of growth.
Weeds may be defined as any vegetation at any state of maturity that:

* Exceeds more than 10 inches in height, is untended, or creates a dense area of shrubbery that is a detriment to the health, safety and welfare of the public;
* Creates a harbor (including hiding places for persons), or provides a place to conceal refuse or trash, regardless of height;
* Develops into deposits, or accumulation of, refuse or trash;
* Harbors rodents and vermin or provides a refuge for snakes, rats or other rodents;
* Creates an unpleasant or noxious odor;
* Constitutes a fire hazard; or
* Contains grass or weeds that are dead and diseased.

Failure to comply with a Notice of Violation during the growing season may result in DCRA cleaning the property and billing the owner for cost of the cleanup. Residents should report suspected violations to DCRA at (202) 442-9557 or email complaints to [email protected]

Residents can also send Tweets to @dcra – include photos if you’d like – of properties with grass and/or weeds exceeding 10 inches. Please try to get exact address before making a complaint.”

14 Comment

  • Someone needs to report the Metropolitan Police Department District 3 headquarters at 1620 V Street NW–their grass is probably a foot tall and they still haven’t cleaned up downed branches from the snow storm.

  • Please write your city councilmember to complain about uncut grass in front of DC owned facilities. I have seen many DC-owned buildings such as closed schools that obviously are no longer being maintained.

    Submit service requests online. Take pictures. Keep emailing them until the grass gets cut. It works – I finally got results at 1125 Spring Road (near my house) where the grass was a foot tall.

    I think this is really important not just because of the hypocrisy of fining residents for the same things DC doesn’t themselves do, but it’s a real blight on a neighborhood when (typically) a whole city block is not maintained. There are a lot of facilities that have been closed in the last few years and it seems few of them are being kept up. Hold your governement’s feet to the fire over situations like this near where you live.

  • +1 to willie woo!

    As I was reading through this post, I kept thinking that DCRA should hang a “door knocker” reminder on the door of the precinct.

    On the other hand, maybe the long grass will keep the police officers from Maryland from parking their SUVs on that lawn…

  • Haha wow – glad I moved from my old house, you would all hate me – we lived there for a year and mowed it probably three times with a weed whacker.

  • This is excellent information and further evidence of why PoP is the best neighborhood blog. Keep up the good work.

  • That’s a laugh, DCRA enforcing lawn mowing. Sure…

    The bottom line is they have one enforcement guy and one mowing team. For their mowers to get legal access to mow someone takes about a month as virtually no on in DC gov cares and the liability is high. They will never keep up with the scofflaws, which is a hallmark of DC law and rule enforcement: we’re on the honor system here.

  • PoP, can you please tell Kevin Wood that his ads creep me out?

    • What’s so creepy about his picture. He’s just an honest person using a marketing tag to promote his business…
      You’re the creepy one focusing on something so minuscule. Get a life!

  • i called DCRA monday afternoon to report the waist high grass in the now-unoccupied, absentee landlord owned property next door to me. There was a notice taped to the front door of that house when I got home last night giving the owner 7 days to cut the grass or be fined. I’d say that’s pretty good response. We’ll see if the city comes and cuts the grass next week. Since the out-of-state landlord has never visited that property in the almost 3 years I’ve lived here, he won’t be cutting the grass, I am sure.

  • I can’t mow my lawn because the lawn mower won’t start.

    A) Any ideas as to why? (yes, it has gas and oil)
    B) Where can I take a mower to be fixed?

    • Mebbe spark plug. Search for ‘small engine repair’ in DC and you’ll get a couple results. Pull start? I hate those…

    • Sounds like you need to clean the carb… after you get it fixed, make sure you run the gas out of it at the end of mowing season.

      • No, leaving the tank empty is likely to cause it to start rusting. What you really want to do is fill it all the way up and run fuel stabilizer in it for a few minutes before you shut it down for the winter. Anyway, I’ve always heard Strosniders Hardware on Arlington Rd in Bethesda is the best place to go for mower repair. I’ve never used their repair services, but they stock just about every spare part for Briggs & Stratton engines (which most mowers use).

        • Run the gas out of the carb, typically the small engines have a manual switch to shut the gas supply off and run the gas out of the line and engine. Stabilizer achieves the same thing. And most gas tanks on push mowers are plastic so rust isn’t an issue, but let’s not pound our chest on this nice blog

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