To be clear, rain is a good thing. However, if you’re one of the Van Alstyne residents who has not kept up with your sprouting grass then you may not be so keen on the weather.
Van Alstyne police are beginning to warn community residents about high-grass code violations as officers have seen multiple cases around town in recent weeks.
The city code states that any vegetation on property over 10 inches tall can incur a fine for the home or landowner. This includes any grass or vegetation around poles, fences, gates, etc., that is left after mowing the main lawn. In short, home or landowners should not forget to trim the property after mowing.
"Because of the rain we’re in a little bit of a different situation than we’ve been in the last few years with drought conditions. Currently, we’ve had a lot of rain," said VAPD Chief Tim Barnes, explaining the numerous high grass code violators as spotted on a recent drive around town.
VAPD officers patrolling the town — and driving the same routes the Leader drove on a Wednesday afternoon — are the ones who will be issuing warnings and citations as the city is broken down into districts for code enforcement. Officers generally start off with a warning but can quickly issue a citation. Those citations can incur fines of up to $500 per day and fines can reach up to $2,000 per day under the health and safety violation codes, illegal dumping being a prime example of the type of environmental hazard that can incur these heavy fines.
According to Barnes, the ordinance controlling the code violation states that only one warning is required before officers can begin issuing citations. After that, offending residents will be issued a summons to appear before the Van Alstyne Municipal Court and the Honorable Judge Thomas A. Redwine.
"We don’t want it to get to that; we just want to encourage people to take care of their lots," said Barnes. "We want to make Van Alstyne an attractive place and a safe place. When you get high grass you start having issues with rodents and snakes and other things. That’s why there is an ordinance in place to keep [vegetation] low."