It is that time of year when the temperatures start to warm up a little bit, the first brave plants start to peek out from the ground and the smell in the air lets you know that spring is near. During this time of year my wife always has some kind of spring cleaning project for me. It might be the attic, it might be the garage, or it might be my infamous t-shirt drawer which always has more t-shirts in it than she thinks a grown man should own. It is also the time of year when I have to fire up the lawnmower and pray that I can get one more mowing season out of my old weed eater. For whatever reason, spring is the time for cleaning and the beginning of our mowing season. Since this is the case, I thought it would be a good time to discuss some of the local codes and ordinances that relate to this area.
One of the most common issues that our code enforcement officers work during the growing season is tall grass and weeds. City code states that grass cannot be over 8” in height. The reason for this is not only for aesthetic appeal, but to prevent the harborage of vermin and insects. Also, when mowing your grass, it is important to know that grass clippings should not be blown into the street. When grass clippings or leaves are blown into the street, they eventually wash into the storm drain where they can lead to flooding or other issues.
We also work many cases regarding junk, trash, and debris. These are often tricky issues to deal with because one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. However, it is important to know what is and is not allowed because just like an overgrown yard, junk trash and debris not only causes aesthetic problems, but provides a safe haven for vermin and insects that can cause health problems. A good rule of thumb is that branches and other lawn debris should be properly disposed of, and any item that is meant for indoor use should not be kept outside. Examples of these items would be couches on the porch, storage of boxes in the yard, or appliances such as refrigerators, washers, or dryers sitting outdoors.
Other issues that our Code Enforcement office handles include inoperable vehicles, unsecured and dilapidated structures. Vehicles that are inoperable must be kept in a location out of the public’s view. We determine if a vehicle falls into this category if it is visibly inoperable, meaning that the tires are flat, the windows are broken, or major components are missing. Vehicles are also considered inoperable if they do not have a current tag. The Code Enforcement officer also places a great emphasis on unsecured and dilapidated structures due to the imminent danger and blighting effect that they cause.
This is a great time of year to think about cleaning up your yard and property because it is almost time for the annual “trash off event.” This event will be held at the Guthrie convenient center on Friday April 6, and Saturday, April 7. This event allows Guthrie residents to dispose of their unwanted items at no cost. Guidelines for the event can be found at www.cityofguthrie.com.
The City of Guthrie takes pride in the health, safety, welfare, and appearance of the community and every individual property owner’s maintenance contributes to the overall positive appearance of their neighborhood and our city. The ordinances that the Code Enforcement office works are in place to ensure that our neighborhoods are vibrant and safe.