Better mow that lawn!

Lawton_It's spring, and that means higher temperatures and higher grass.  With all of the rain Texoma has recently seen, some yards already are growing out of control - and it can be dangerous.  The City of Lawton has already begun issuing warnings to citizens who let their grass grow higher than regulations allow, and they say they're already seeing more violations than they've seen in the past few years.

Just last month, the city sent out more than 3,000 notices to homeowners, renters, and banks, informing them that if they don't trim their yards, it'll cost them.  Lawton resident Shirley Starke has been living next door to a house with an overgrown lawn for eight years, and she's worried that the grass is more than just an eyesore.  "It's just there sticking out like a sore thumb, and something does need to be taken care of about it," she said.  "[There could be] mosquitoes, bugs, and rodents - not only that, there could be snakes."

Tall grass is the perfect place for pests to breed, which is why Lawton's Neighborhood Services Code enforcers have been combing the streets, posting notices to warn homeowners to keep their yards tidy.  "It's not acceptable to have trash the way that it is out on this yard," said Officer Manuel Cruz.  "It's got to be properly put away.  It's a code violation."  Cruz says that his office issued almost 1,200 violations in May, violations varying from overgrown grass to too much trash.

Violations could lead to a costly ticket.  "It's not fair to the other neighbors who keep their yards clean, because the wind will blow and animals will pick up the debris and scatter it," said Cruz.  "We want to set a standard so we don't have to be doing this in July and August," said Anthony Griffith with Neighborhood Services.

If you get a citation, you will have ten days to mow your lawn, or the city will have it mowed at your expense, which could lighten your wallet by $185-230.  So, its better to make sure your yard is tidy, especially with 10,000 new residents Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) growth is bringing to the area.  "We want to show them that we are a nice neighborhood, a clean neighborhood, and a safe neighborhood to live in," said Griffith.

It costs the city about $60 per hour to pay a contractor to clean up yards that the city finds in violation, so depending upon how bad the situation is, it could really add up.  If you see something in your neighborhood that you think is in violation of the code, or appears to be a hazard, please call the City of Lawton offices at 580-581-3467, and they will check it out for you.