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updated: 6/14/2013 6:36 PM

Lakemoor tightens rules on grass growing too tall

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Favorable spring conditions have been good for plants, but fast growth has also created concerns for officials in Lakemoor.

Continuing complaints from residents about tall grass in neighboring yards have led officials to beef up the options for dealing with grass and weeds 8 inches or higher.

"With the rainfall that we've had and we're still dealing with a large number of foreclosures, the more that the grass grows the harder it is to cut the grass with the tools we have," said Village Administrator David Alarcon.

Property owners now have seven rather than 10 calendar days to get their yards in shape once notified by first-class mail or a door hanger. Another change gives the village authority to use a collection agency to recover costs as an alternative to recording a lien on the property or taking the owner to court.

"Just today, we had two more complaints about tall grass," Alarcon said Friday.

"Nine times out of 10, once residents are notified, they resolve the situation themselves. The enforcement part is a last resort."

Alarcon originally suggested the height of grass that constitutes a violation be lowered to 6 inches. But the village board felt reducing the time for compliance would help matters, he said.

Shabby yards are an issue in Lakemoor as 100 to 150 properties are going through foreclosure, Alarcon estimated.

"These are vacant properties and bank-owned properties," he said. "We're trying to be proactive and address these nuisances before they become bigger nuisances."

A violation comes with a $50 fine. If the village has to do the work, the fee is $150 an hour for staff and equipment. If the bill isn't paid within 21 days, the village will either send it to a collection agency or put a lien on the property.

Most violators comply. The village works with property owners who may have extenuating circumstances, according to Alarcon. "The village wants to do its part to make sure property (values) don't drop further," he said.

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