Neighborhood Services swamped with yard complaints

Neighborhood Services swamped with yard complaints
(Source KSWO)
(Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -Lawton's City Neighborhood Services Department has been swamped with tall grass and weed complaints following recent rainy months and plenty of sunshine. That combination made some yards in Lawton look more like jungles and angering those who live near them.

Lawton's City Neighborhood Services supervisor Joshua Leach said they have received 800 complaints since March, which is about 200 more than they'd received during the same time span last year.

"Hire somebody to at least keep it at a minimum if not down to the core but keep it at a minimum. Just hire somebody, you know what I mean," said Darnell Garth, who has three neighbors with overgrown yards..

He said he tries to be understanding, but it's frustrating.

"It does bring down the property value and you know especially when you work so hard, you know, to keep the property value up and then you have individuals around that you feel like aren't really trying," Garth said.

When Neighborhood Services receives a complaint, they send someone out to personally inspect it. If they deem the yard is a violation, which means the grass is at least 12 inches tall, the resident will get a notice on the house and mailed to them. After that, they have 10 days to get the problem fixed, but they are aware of things that can keep you from being able to mow and they are willing to work with you.

"If a complaint is received on a property and a homeowner calls us and says it's been high because it's been so wet...not a problem, I'll authorize a 20-day extension right there on the spot. Just because it's due process. Give the citizen the benefit of the doubt. It's been raining, we all know that," Leach said.

Garth said he's glad to hear they try to work with residents.

"That's a good thing. I mean at least some leeway, you know what I mean, because you don't know people's situation. I think that that's the best you can do is give them a little leeway," Garth said.

Leach said city employees have been outside mowing every day since the ground dried up trying to make sure city properties are held to the same standard as residents.

The fine for not having it done within the 10 days is a minimum of $150 per hour of work, plus the administrative fee.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.