Sussex County adopts ordinance that sets penalties for tall grass, weeds

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Georgetown, DE – July 16, 2013: Sussex County is whacking the weeds in County code to help clean up local rules on property maintenance.

County Council, at its Tuesday, July 16, 2013, meeting, adopted an ordinance that updates a section of County code to clean up language and include penalties for those property owners
who allow tall grasses and weeds to overrun their properties. The ordinance updates a previous sec
tion of County code that was adopted several years ago, but at the time, neglected to clearly articulate penalties for violators.

By code, grasses and weeds extending 12 inches in height or more are considered tall and, thus, in violation. The new ordinance is aimed at residential and commercial areas in unincorporated parts of the county. It does not apply to properties in agricultural use. Enforcement of the code will continue to be based on a complaint-driven process.

Tall grasses and weeds can pose as a nuisance, as well as a public safety and community health risk, attracting vermin, lowering property values and generally affecting quality of life, said Eddy J. Parker, director of the County’s Assessment division.

The new ordinance sets a minimum fin e at $250 for violators who refuse to comply with a notice to cut their property; repeat violators could face fines up to $2,500. The ordinance also allows for the County to cut unkempt properties and bill the properties’ owners.