Bloody hell, nobody told me the police would cut my lawn!
I'm bored with it; they're welcome. I promise not to shoot!
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In a lot of the major cities they will cut your yard or lot if you don't maintain it yourself.
Unfortunately this is the first step of removing the owner from his home. The city will place a lien on the property to pay it's self for the unsolicited work performed, lawyer fees and fines. Next step will to to foreclose on the property and sell it on the court house steps. The sheriff will then show up and remove him at gunpoint.
This whole process takes months, I guess this guy decided skip ahead and get it over with.
This is probably variable by state and city. I worked in community development in the US and only a couple times in seven years was I aware that code enforcement ever had to do this; nuisance code enforcement in my city was in community development, some cities nuisance code enforcement is part of the police.
If a person refused to mow their lawn, we would hire a local company to do it; but only after months of court, and dozens of notices of violations. A police unit would accompany them specifically to deter this behaviour. We would then place a lien on their property for the cost of the mowing and the court costs.
I have never heard of a city foreclosing on a property because a lien but the lien makes it impossible to sell or inherit the property until the lien is cleared. Property was usually auctioned at the courthouse if they didn't pay their property taxes for 3+ years, again after month of court notices.
I never understood the cost/benefit analysis going on in these people's mind where thousands of dollars in fines and potential jail time is preferable to a couple hours work or 35USD to hire someone.
I know I'm probably being naive here, but the concept of being obliged to keep your own property to a standard set by other people under threat of police action is rather disconcerting to me.
I get that the neighbours won't like it if one property looks like it's bringing down the look of the area, but ultimately shouldn't it be down to the owner of the property to choose how he keeps it?
I let one of my lawns grow for months at a time, before eventually hiring a gardener to mow it regularly for me. Horses keep the other lawn (/paddock) down.
As someone else noted upthread, in the US this varies widely by jurisdiction.
Besides state, county, and municipality rules, many homes in the US are within areas governed by a home-owners' association (HOA); as part of purchasing such a home you have to enter into a contract with the HOA which can include all sorts of rules about the condition of the property.
Sellers can also encumber property with certain restrictions. Part of the sprawling estate of the Mountain Fastness is an acre on which we are forbidden to place a "manufactured home" (which means certain types of dwellings manufactured at a central location and transported to the site, since obviously most human habitat is manufactured and not naturally occurring).
But government jurisdictions, particularly local ones, often do have requirements such as maximum height of grasses and snow removal from sidewalks ("pavements" in the UK). There are good reasons for that, including:
- Effect on the value of neighboring properties. If you live in a neighborhood and not out in the wilderness somewhere, you're receiving local services, and the social contract endorses a concomitant responsibility to avoid significant negative effects on your neighbors.
- Public safety. This should be obvious in the case of snow and ice removal from public sidewalks, but it also applies to lawns since tall grass can be breeding grounds for ticks and mosquitoes, for example. Overly-tall lawns are also a fire danger.
- Effect on crime. This is controversial – there are conflicting arguments and studies – but some municipalities will cite the "broken window theory" and other arguments for enforcing certain standards of maintenance.
There's a right to maintain your property as you see fit, but as with all rights, that will be limited based on its effects on others. Your property doesn't exist in isolation.
grass is not a breeding ground for mosquitoes - eggs dropped in still water, which is where larvae feed and pupate.
Long grass can be good for wildlife - birds love the grass seeds, lots of bees & other insects visit the "wild" grassland area we maintain.
But I'm not in the "land of the free" - I'm in the UK, and ironically free to make my garden wildlife friendly
To answer your question, it's a public health issue.
Do you like diseased rats? Because that how you get diseased rats. And poisonous snakes. And fleas. And ticks. And roaches. And many other nasty, dangerous vermin of various sizes.
So no, contrary to popular crackpot beliefs, you DO NOT have the right to endanger public health.
In rural, far less populated areas? Do as you please. But cities? Nope.
But providing an eco-friendly environment for wildlife is surely a good thing to do?
We get deer, foxes, rabbits, hedgehogs and badgers here. Should I concrete my entire garden to make it inhospitable to them?
You may think it's a public health issue, I think it's an attractive wildflower meadow.
Usually it is under the reason of health, being keeping insects or animals that can spread disease from hiding in the grass nearby; also letting vegetation go wild can lead to trees or vines growing directly against the house that damage the structure. That said, I HATE doing yard work. Personally, if I didn't live in town, I would just mow enough to keep the vegetation off my house and own some goats/sheep to keep the rest down.
Twelve inches (the limit cited in the story) is more than adequate for most grass-dwelling insects. Including many highly-undesirable insects and other arthropods such as mosquitoes and ticks.
Certainly in the US Southwest a very short lawn is a terrible idea – it'll either be a huge waste of water, or dead – but keeping it to, say, six inches would not be a bad idea.
Of course, for much of the Southwest, xeriscaping with drought-tolerant plants is a much better one. Grass lawns in places where they won't grow naturally are stupid. I've always avoided watering the lawn at any of the houses I've owned; either the local climate support grass, or we let other things grow. (We do have some limited, high-efficiency irrigation for some garden beds for useful plants.)
I have a front yard that's partly dead/dying grass and dirt, because I've not had the money to either xeriscape the thing (i.e., put down native plants, rock/gravel, etc.) or put in a sprinker system to get the Bermuda grass to grow.
I am annoyed that last year, the city's code compliance asked me to remove the two dead trees a month before Halloween- I was planning on using them as decoration and then cutting them down. They did not see my point of view on it, but did give me adequate time to get the job done in the baking heat.
... if the authorities are going to imprison an addict for a couple weeks, Shirley it makes sense to ensure that they have the means to imbibe their drug(s) of choice for the duration of imprisonment? It is well known that addicts will do almost anything to feed their jones ... breaking quarantine would mean nothing to most smokers in need of a nicotene fix.
The Canadian travel guide back in the days advised the anxious hiker ...
to step out of the cloud of mosquitoes and into the next body of water,
to take some time to calm down and assess the situation,
and then to go on with the business at hand (hiking, setting up the tent, scaring away the bear, ...).
I recall, where I worked, a swarm of honey bees decided to swarm near one of the entrances. The swarm was 2 to 3 stories tall so I walked to the middle of the swarm to see if I could locate the Queen bee. It was like being in a wind storm with bees hitting my face etc. Other people thought I was crazy but swarming bees are relatively safe. Eventually one of the lab technicians joined me and we had a discussion in the midst of the swarm.
They were all for calling an exterminator but I convinced them to call a bee keeper. He came and said that the bees weren't ready yet. As the day progressed the swarm got shorter and shorter until it was only about 3 feet tall. The bee keeper returned, plucked the Queen out of the swarm and put it in a cardboard box. Most of the bees followed - the rest the bee keeper shoveled into the box and then drove away with a whole box of bees.
Bees are interesting creatures.
Pretty harsh. In France, in red fire-risk zones, you have to clear 50m around your house.
Even possibly having to pay for clearing parts that may not be your property.
With a €100/day charge for each day on non-compliance,
And €15000 and a year in jail if a fire starts on, or propagates over your uncleared land,
I don't know where you are from, but house prices here have gone crazy over the last few years so selling mine I'd make a massive loss, and a house in any decent out of town location would be eye-wateringly expensive.
Oh, and having been retired for some years, I'm reliant on state pension and savings.
To some degree. But humans are amongst the most sociable of animals. People have been living in cities for rather a long time now and many have evolved to like it.
I agree that living away from the urban jungle is nice, but then I am a country boy who spent many years at sea, and that's pretty isolated on most merchant ships. I have also lived in the Sprawl, which was OK. In many countries living in close proximity to others has been the norm, in the UK it hasn't until relatively recently and many Brits have an aversion to living in high rises etc. That may be a class thing though.
Hmm. Is an acre enough? Let's see ... units(1) says an acre is about 4047 m2, so an acre that's square in shape is about 128m x 128m. So if you have 50m from each exterior wall of your home, and it sits in the center of a square-shaped acre, you have a home that's 28m x 28m. OK, that's plenty large even by US standards.
I suspect it's less that 50m from the exterior wall to the property line for one side of the Mountain Fastness, but that's because of the shape of the lot and the position of the house. The MF is only about 90m2, not counting outbuildings. (The Stately Manor is a good big larger but we're getting rid of that now that we don't need to stay in that area for extended periods any more.)
PG&E is a whole 'nuther kettle o'worms. Don't get me started ... Suffice to say I'm working on a master-plan to take us completely off-grid. I've had it with those fuckers. (Not the guys & galls in the trenches with hardhats & work boots, I'll hasten to add ... it's the suits and ties that are the issue!)
 Pseudo-off-grid, I should say. We'll still have gas/petrol, diesel and propane.
To some it's weeds. to others it's insect, bird and small mammal habitat ... fish and amphibian, too, if you are on a watercourse or other wetlands. All you have to do is "accidentally" find a plant or critter on the protected species list, and <bam>, no more yard work!
Now all you'll have to do is convince a Judge not to allow the local greenaholics to evict you.
Where I live the authorities do not cut back growth on many of the public grassed areas, nor do quite a lot of owners, right here in the city. Nobody seems to mind. It allows insects on which we depend rather badly to thrive. It is cut at the end of the season ("late cutting"). Makes more sense to me than all those lawns cut with stripes and bushes pruned into ridiculous geometric shapes. Of course, as in most things, opinions and local ordinances vary.
On 11 June a drone was spotted by a hotel staff member delivering a packet of cigarettes to the balcony of her room [...] The hotel notified police, who interviewed the recipient of the unconventional drop-off. She was later fined AU$1,300 (£697, US$955) for breaching her quarantine conditions.
What a ridiculous overreaction.
I'm guessing the real crime (from the hotel's perspective) was that she didn't order her smokes from room service.
Assuming she got to keep the delivery, the fine was probably still cheaper than the hotel's cigarette price.
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On the other hand, years ago a fellow in Reston, Virginia, got in trouble with his Homeowners' Association (HOA) for mowing his lawn. The HOA preferred the rowhouses to look as if they had sprung up in a meadow. I don't think that I ever heard the resolution, but I bet the HOA won, for it is very hard to prevail against them in court.
American codes and covenants are some of the weirdest things around, the grass length in this instance being one, my lawn, I'll do as I wish, I'd put some 4' concrete bollards in it, just too close, and spaced in such a way as to make it impossible to get a human with a strimmer through them.
Other great ones include not being able to hang washing out in your own back garden, and then they wonder why they have such high energy usage.
Or insisting on nail plates to protect cables as they pass through stud work, but then allow the cables to run horizontally across the width of the wall, that's safe, no chance of ever hitting that hanging a picture.
Downvote on the nail plate comment. The plates are only needed if the cables are within a certain distance from the front of the stud. If installed properly (i.e. middle of stud), none are needed - and then the horizontal cable is likewise that far in.
Just don't use 3" screws to hang a picture! Hanging a picture in drywall, NOT going into the stud, should take something like a 1" nail. Most of that length is in the drywall, part of it is hanging out, and only a tiny bit is poking through the other side. A cable strung between studs would have enough give that the nail would not puncture it.
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