Gonzales nips overgrown grass on private property

Published: Apr. 24, 2013 at 8:24 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 24, 2013 at 9:35 PM CDT
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Overgrown grass and weeds have become an issue the City of Gonzales. It's against the law for property owners to let their grass get over a foot tall.

The weather isn't ideal for grass cutting but Gonzales resident, Dempsey Pendarvis, is chipping away at a 15 acre lot.

"I got a call from city hall yesterday saying, Dempsey you haven't cut the grass yesterday, and I said we're actually going tomorrow, rain or shine, and it ain't shining but we are here," Pendarvis said.

Pendarvis is one of at least 30 property owners who got a letter from the Gonzales city tax collector reminding them that according to a city ordinance, it is unlawful for grass or weeds on vacant lots to exceed 12 inches. The notice also states those who do not comply will be charged $125.00 per acre.

"If you use the 12 inch rule we'll more than likely have to cut this property ten to 15 times a year. It costs $700.00 each time we cut this track. If we have to cut it ten or 11 times more it's basically $7,000.00 a year," Pendarvis said.

Gonzales City Clerk Clay Stafford said there are about 30 overgrown vacant lots in the seven square mile area of the city. Some of them with grass well over three feet. Stafford said repeat offenders have been warned.

"It's really what I call a watch list, guys we know we need to watch. We especially watch the ones that are close to residential areas," Stafford said.

Grass can be seen growing along houses and fence lines in some neighborhoods. Stafford said when it gets high, his phone starts ringing.

"The last thing we want to do is get in the grass cutting business. We want homeowners and landowners to cut their grass. We try to do everything we can to force them to cut their grass, then as a last resort we'll hire contractors to cut the grass," Pendarvis said.

City workers will start patrolling the properties on May 6.

The city plans to immediately fine property owners who do not comply with the ordinance.

Any unpaid bills will be tacked on to property tax notices at the end of the year.