The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

May 15, 2014

Tall grass could result in jail time

Property owners in Conneaut who don’t mow lawn face up to 30 days

CONNEAUT — Grass-growing season has come to Conneaut, and with it some tougher penalties for property-owners who fail to mow.

Thanks to recent legislative action, offenders who continually thumb their nose at City Hall could be found guilty of a fourth-degree misdemeanor, which carries a maximum 30-day jail sentence.

City officials hope it doesn’t come to that, but local leaders are also weary of dispatching Public Works Department employees to mow private property and wanted a punishment that would get the attention of scofflaws. The previous penalty, a bill from the city for services rendered, didn’t make much of an impression, officials agreed.

Earlier this year, City Council agreed to beef up the town’s grass/weed ordinance by adding a criminal component. Depending on the circumstances, folks who repeatedly ignore a notice from the city to mow now risk an appearance in Conneaut Municipal Court. The first citation would be considered a minor misdemeanor, said Law Director Carly Prather. A second violation within a two-year span would be considered a fourth-degree misdemeanor, which carries the maximum 30-day jail sentence and $250 fine.

“It’s the same ordinance,” Prather said. “(The city) is just enforcing it differently.”

Grass and weeds taller than six inches are in violation of the law, which falls under the city building and housing code. Deanna Gates, planning/zoning manager, finds the offenders.

City Hall has already fielded some grass-related complaints, a spokeswoman said Wednesday. Traditionally, most of the properties involve vacant homes and empty lots, and many of addresses appear year after year, officials said.

The beefed-up ordinance is part of a campaign by council to improve the appearance and health of the community. A series of new laws and codes put into place are aimed at giving the town more eye appeal. The latest move came in April, when council created criminal penalties for people to violate the residential trash-hauling ordinance.

Earlier this week, council signaled it was taking the tall grass law very seriously.

“If we have to tell you twice, you’re going to court,” said Council President Nicholas Church. “The rules have changed.”

And when do you mow, please be careful where you direct the clippings, said Ward 4 Councilman Thomas Kozesky. Clippings blown into the street can clog catch basins, causing rainwater to flood, he said.

Text Only
Local News
Ashtabula County Alive
July 4 Celebrations 2014
Summer off to Big Start
Ashtabula County Flag Day 2014
Northeast Ohio Soap Box Derby 2014
Tour de State Line and Boating Season
Ashtabula County Memorial Day 2014
Sam Magill Sr. Memorial
Armed Forces Echo Taps 2014
Lakeside Loop Color Run
Keeping Ashtabula County Clean and Healthy
Canoe Race and Ashtabula Easter Events
The Taping of the Teacher: A sticky Sitation
18th Annual Polar Bear Plunge at Geneva State Park
House Ads
AP Video
NDN Video
Bill Murray Continues To Be Just Bill Murray By Eating Some Free Bill Murray Ice Cream Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl