Grass clippings and their disposal have created a great deal of interest by residents as the Village of Enon began enforcing an ordinance that carries penalties for residents who elect to blow their grass into the streets instead of back onto their property.
In July the topic was brought before council when several residents received letters indicating that they were in violation of the ordinance in mid July. The ordinance in question was passed by council on September 24, 2013.
521.12 DISPOSAL OR PLACEMENT OF YARD WASTE IN PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY PROHIBITED.(a) No owner, occupant, person having control of any premises or contractor working on behalf of any party within the village shall deposit, or cause to be deposited, any yard waste on a public right of way.(b) For purposes of this section. “yard waste” means all tree trimmings, grass cuttings, dead plants, weeds, leaves, dead trees or branches thereof.(c) The existence of yard waste in the right of way in front of a property shall be considered prima facie evidence of a violation of this section.(d) Whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.
At the July 14 council meeting, local lawn service owner Joe Mamer addressed the mayor and council concerning a letter one of his customers received. Mamer noted that he believed that his client received the letter in error as his lawn care experts do assure that the street is not cluttered with grass clippings prior to leaving a location.
Recently in the Enon Eagle, John Hull addressed his concerns in a letter to the editor. Mr. Hull noted that he agreed with “the concept of ensuring citizens do not throw and leave yard waste in the street or sidewalk,” but he had a problem with the wording of the ordinance.
At the July 28 meeting, Brian Miller also addressed council members present and the mayor concerning his displeasure with the concept of considering grass a “criminal matter.” Miller stated that he is a code enforcement officer and does not immediately resort to the most extreme option when meeting with individuals in violation. He suggested that the village needs to adopt a “friendly approach” when contacting residents for the first time offense.
Following the meeting, the Enon Eagle asked Mayor Tim Howard about the changes to the ordinance enforcement that the village has adopted since the first round of letters were mailed and the citizens contacted his office with concerns.
Mayor Howard stated that the village is taking a more or less three strikes approach to enforcing the grass ordinance following a discussion of staff.
The new approach for properties that are in clear violation of keeping yard waste on their property and out of the street will first receive a warning from the village most likely by direct communication.
The second clear violation of the ordinance will result in a written notice to the property owner. And if a third violation occurs, the property owner does risk being summoned to appear in Mayor’s Court with a possible financial penalty.
Around this time last year the Mad River Township Trustees received information from a civil engineering firm hired to investigate drainage issues in the West Enon and Green Meadows subdivisions.
Part of that report was focused on the fact that many residents in the township densely populated subdivisions elect to blow their grass clippings into the street and when rain occurs they are washed into the roadway drains, clogging them and causing backups. Fall leaves are also a major cause of clogged roadbed drainage systems and often cause flooding both during the early winter thaw and spring rains.
At the time, trustees asked residents to not blow yard waste onto local streets, however a number of subdivision streets gather grass clippings with every mowing. The village is able to enact ordinances that speak to the issue and protect their drainage systems from requiring expensive solutions to remove “green” debris.
The village hopes that all area residents will be making the first couple of passes with the mower discharge pointed onto their property and if grass and other yard waste is blown into the street or onto sidewalks they either broom it off or use a blower system for yard work to accomplish the cleaner and more ecological results.