Mow it, or else

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By Ben Carlson

Property owners who don't maintain their yards can expect swifter action and harsher penalties from the city of Lawrenceburg.

In a special called meeting Monday night at City Hall, the city council voted unanimously to revise its nuisance ordinance, shortening the length of time it takes to impose penalties on overgrown yards.

After being served notice that the property contains what the ordinance calls "noxious or unsightly growth," the owner has five days to fix the problem.

If the problem would cause "undue harm to the community or increased expense to the city," the owner has 72 hours.

The council also revised the penalties for not fixing the problem, raising the minimum rate from $5 to $10 and the maximum from $125 to $250 if the problem is not contested. If it is contested, the fines range from $25 to $500.

The ordinance also states that each day the problem persists will be considered a separate violation.

Property owners will be notified via certified mail.

If the property owner cannot be located, the city's sanitation director or attorney can make an affidavit and have it published once in a newspaper of general circulation, according to the ordinance.

Following the meeting, City Clerk Robbie Hume said the revisions were made to deal primarily with the smattering of abandoned properties across the city that are overgrown.

He said city workers have already mowed a number of properties and that the fines levied are how the city recovers its costs.

If the fines are not paid, he said, the city can put a tax lien on the property for the amount of the fine.