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Town government may check lawn height

Tare E. Buck
Frederick News Post

(8/11/2004) A grass-cutting ordinance change before the town's commissioners was sent back to the drawing board Tuesday after arguments were heard both for and against enacting an 8-inch maximum grass height.

Town commissioner Glenn D. Muth said his own version, which was reviewed recently by town attorney N. Lynn Board, perhaps wasn't quite up to snuff and some minor legal changes were in order. The ordinance change was presented Tuesday night.

Commissioner William Blakeslee disputed Mr. Muth's proposed 8-inch height maxi-mum, after which a property owner would receive a written notice to cut the grass or face fines.

Mr. Blakeslee held up a ruler to represent eight inches and said that length doesn't allow some residents, who may be on vacation for instance, much time to cut their grass or face municipal infractions.

One resident, Kenneth Holme, supported the 8-inch rule and said that by the time the town gets around to notifying a derelict grass-cutter, the lawn could reach 10 to 12 inches. "People have to learn to try to keep their property up," Mr. Holme said.

Sylvia Circle resident John Ashbury wondered if there was a provision for spurts of "lousy weather," and said if the weather pre-vents residents from cutting their grass for an extended period of time, the whole town might find themselves violating the ordinance.

`And if someone's out of town for seven days, and they've gotten a notice in the mail while they were away, how do you know when it's received?" Mr. Ashbury wondered.

Mr. Muth said that the new ordinance change was the result of one derelict property owner in town and their failure to keep their grass at a reasonable height.

"Well I don't know if you should change the ordinance because of one property," Mr. Ashbury said.

Mr. Muth then said that actually there were several properties the ordinance could cover.

Other residents wondered about whether the change would affect the grass lengths on several different types of zoning classifications. Mr. Muth's draft does not specify which classifications are subject to the new rule.

The town currently has an 18-inch maxi-mum in its code, which is only enforced if complaints are received.

Mr. Muth said he will re-draft the ordinance and present it again at the commissioners' next weekly meeting Tuesday night.

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