USA — The Angels Camp City Council tomorrow will consider adopting a new ordinance aimed at making overgrown, weedy yards in the city a thing of the past.
The ordinance would require most city residents and owners of property less than an acre to keep weeds and dry grasses under 4 inches high.
Fire Chief Scott Kenley will introduce the ordinance.
On properties with more than an acre, weeds and dry grasses within 100 feet of structures and within 30 feet of streets and driveways would have to be removed or cut to 4 inches or less.
The purpose of the restrictions is to minimize fire risk within the city limits, Angels Camp Fire Marshal Dewayne Brown said Friday.
“If we do have a wildland fire, we will have less of a potential for the fire to spread into the community,” he said.
In previous years, fire officials went out every spring, inspected all the properties in Angels Camp and issued citations based on a special section of the fire code.
Under the new ordinance, the fire chief will notify property owners in violation that they have 15 days to remove the weeds. The fire chief also will post a sign on the property to notify neighbors that the issue has been addressed, Brown said.
If the property owner does not act to remove the weeds in 20 days, the fire department will take matters into its own hands.
“We’ll simply send someone to clean it up and then proceed with recovery costs,” Brown said.
The city will then notify the owner that a lien has been placed on the property to cover the weed removal costs.
Brown said most property owners are good about complying with the fire code when notified.
“Last year, there were only two or three lots that we had problems with,” he said. “Ninety-eight percent of the people we send notices to will comply.”
Kenley said the issue of overgrown yards and vacant lots creating a fire hazard is not unique to Angels Camp.
“I’ve been in four jurisdictions in my career and every one of them has had a problem with weeds,” he said Friday.
The fire department offers advice on how to make Angels Camp yards safe and relatively weed-free. Cutting or mowing the weeds is best, but chemical weed sprays can also be used.
Brown said his favorite method for city lands is a bit off the beaten track.
“We have goats we are contracting out,” he said. “Four or five hundred of them.”