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Time to Cut the Grass or Get Fined…

by Prince Of Petworth May 5, 2010 at 9:04 pm 14 Comments

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.”

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