Can city be fined for breaking its grass rule?

Posted at 5:37 PM, May 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-25 19:52:18-04

CINCINNATI – Property owners in Cincinnati who let their grass grow too talk could face a citation and a $500 fine.

But what happens if the property owner is the City of Cincinnati?

At the city’s Business Development and Permit Center on Central Parkway, tall weeds between the sidewalk and parking lot were well over the allowable 10 inches.

Bill Franey’s mother was ticketed for having grass too tall at her University Heights house, but the fine was reduced to zero because the yard was cut within 10 days.

“If the city is going to fine somebody for it, they also need to take care of their own properties as well,” Franey said.

When asked about the weeds, several city officials said they had no idea they had been left to grow so tall.

“That’s totally unacceptable … We have to hold ourselves to the same standard as citizens,” Mayor John Cranley said.

By 1 p.m. Wednesday, a public services crew arrived and began cutting the weeds and mowing the grass.

Cincinnati spokesperson Rocky Merz admitted the ball was dropped when the permit center relocated Downtown.

“They moved out of that building, and so maintenance for that switched to a different department,” Merz said, “The new department had not picked up this property on their list, so there was a small lag in between.”

The city checks out 10,000 complaints of weeds and litter each year and issues 5,000 citations. The program is largely complaint-based, according to Merz. Anyone issued a citation has 10 days to correct the problem before the fine must be paid.

Cranley said he wanted residents to speak up about any property – private or public – to keep Cincinnati beautiful.

“If anyone out there sees a property that we own and is not properly maintained, email me personally and I will make sure it gets properly taken care of,” Cranley said.

Because the city corrected the problem within 10 days, it will not be fined, officials said.

“We did immediately address it, and it will be fixed going forward,” Merz said.