Portsmouth wants to cut timeframe on overgrown grass and weeds

Posted at 7:01 PM, May 13, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-13 22:21:36-04

Portsmouth, Va. (WTKR) - The City of Portsmouth is considering changes when it comes to regulating overgrown grass and weeds.

Chapter 23 of the Portsmouth City Code requires property owners to cut grass and weeds.

Any weeds or grass above 10 inches in height are considered violations.

However, as it currently stands, when a violation notice is issued the property owner is given up to 28 days to cut the overgrown vegetation.

"I do think that’s a pretty long time. 28 days is almost a month and I think that as a homeowner it's your responsibility to maintain it," Portsmouth resident Bonita Easter told NewsChannel 3's Todd Corillo.

Under the proposed change, the time to comply would be reduced to 12 days for first time violations and 0 days for repeat offenders.

At that time, the city would use a contractor to cut the grass.

When that happens, the property owner is charged the actual cost of cutting the weeds or grass plus an administrative fee of $150.

"We want a good healthy relationship with our community and we want our neighborhoods to maintain their elegance," Easter said.

Any change to the code would require action by the Portsmouth City Council.

Public comments are being accepted through May 23 by calling the Department of Neighborhood Advancement at 757-393-8522.

NewsChannel 3 also investigated what ordinances are in place in each of the other 7 cities in Hampton Roads.

According to Section 24-37 of the Hampton City Code, grass and weeds cannot grow taller than 10 inches. In that city, a homeowner has 7 days to cut the grass after receiving a notice.

In Newport News, Section 13-150 of the City Code does not specify a timeline for cutting overgrown grass and weeds, but it also applies the 10-inch standard.

Norfolk's City Code caps the height limit at 12 inches for weeds and grass, but Section 27-6 also does not list a specific timeline for property owners to conform after receiving notice of violation.

According to Section 23-50 of Virginia Beach's City Code, grass and weeds cannot grow over 10-inches and property owners who receive notices of violation have 7 days to cut the offending vegetation.

In the City of Chesapeake, Section 62-2 of the City Code also lists 10-inches as the maximum height for grass and weeds, but property owners in that city are given 10 days to comply after receiving a notice of violation.

Suffolk's City Code also applies the 10-inch rule for weed and grass height, but Section 34-110 is not specific when it comes to how many days property owners are given to comply after receiving a violation notice.