cartoon - cutting the grass in FB

What a day I’ve had today. I did run across a very funny news article last week. I posted it on my Facebook page so I could share it with my friends. It was published in the Dallas Morning News back in August of 2008, but after a year of living with these clowns we Farmers Branch citizens can appreciate their humor. In essence, the article talks about the new ordinance which demands that Farmers Branch residents edge and trim their yards. I’ve linked it to this blog, in the Farmers Branch Mayor and City Council category. It’s called “New Farmers Branch law requires lawns to be edged, trimmed”. You can read it if you want, but  sound bites explaining the new law are this:

It’s for safety, as well as aesthetics, Farmers Branch City Council member Harold Froehlich said. When he proposed the change this month, he presented pictures of areas where grass had grown over the sidewalks or curbs.

“The extremes are pretty hideous. The grass grows from both sides of the sidewalk,” he said, leaving just a narrow strip of concrete visible. “That’s kind of an encumbrance to an old-timer that has a walker or one of those three- or four-legged canes.”

Mr. Froelich said residents brought the issue to his attention during the campaign leading up to his May election.

The ordinance that the City Council adopted Tuesday requires that grass, weeds, ivy and other decorative groundcovers be mowed, edged or trimmed to keep them from encroaching onto sidewalks, driveways, curbs or street pavement.

Oh – isn’t that sweet – there is the City Council worried about our Health, Safety, and Well Being again. Although I do wonder about those old-timers with canes and walkers who are walking in your driveway, or the street – right up next to the curb even! – and I can understand keeping public sidewalks clear, I still wondered about the logic behind this new ordinance. But the really funny part comes with Jim Olk’s statement:

“If there’s a blade of grass lying over, we won’t say anything,” Chief Building Official Jim Olk said. “But if it’s matted over the sidewalk, he said, that’s a problem.”

What’s that you say – that is definitely NOT FUNNY? Yes – I agree, since I know several people who have gotten Code Violation notices for one weed in a sidewalk, or a little bit of grass in a driveway crack, or for one pretty little plant that is cascading over the curb,so I know that Jim Olk either doesn’t know what his guys are doing, or he’s: ummmm, how can I say this tactfully; speaking with a forked tongue.

Just for comparison, here’s what other cities say about the same subject:

Carrollton Environmental Services Director Scott Hudson said edging requirements are on a list of possible code revisions that could go to the council in his city for approval later this year.

“We think it contributes to the appearance of the city,” he said.

Lewisville has a similar ordinance restricting vegetative growth over sidewalks.

“It’s more of a judgment call on code officers,” said Jackie Davis, the city’s chief code enforcement officer. “If it’s a trip hazard or anything like that, it will need to be trimmed.”

Garland doesn’t specifically require trimming and edging, but the city does prohibit any object – manmade or natural – from encroaching into or over an alley, street, sidewalk or other public right of way.

“If we get a complaint from a citizen about the sidewalk, where grass has pretty much covered a third of the sidewalk, then we’ll go out and address it that way,” Neighborhood Services Manager Rick Barker said. “But we’re not really looking for those type situations.” 

Makes you wish you lived in Carrollton, or Lewisville, or Garland, or Oak Cliff. Anywhere but Farmers Branch.

But – stay tuned – I have news on the Code Enforcement Game. There are new rules and strategies, and you are going to love them.