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Tall Grass and Weeds

Tall Grass & Weeds

Tall Grass & Weeds Facts at a Glance

  • Lawns that have grass and weeds over 12 inches tall are in violation of the tall grass and weed ordinance TallGrassandWeeds1.jpg

  • Tall grass is an indicator that no one cares about their property or neighborhood, and is therefore an inviting crime and vandalism opportunity.

  • Rats and other animals that cause health issues can live in tall grass.

What's the Big Deal About Weeds? 
"Tall Grass & Weeds" is defined as grass, weeds, bushes, vines, poison ivy, poison oak, or any other foreign growth, other than trees, ornamental shrubbery, flowers and garden vegetables.  Tall weeds detract from the appearance of the neighborhood. Undesirable wildlife like rats and mice use the unmown lawn for hiding places and habitat, and these animals may carry disease. Lastly, unmown grass tells passers by that no one cares about the property, which may invite criminal activity.
Yards Gone Wild!!!
Neighborhood Services tries out a new mowing team to clean an overgrown yard – click here to see how a team of goats can do the job for less money, and in a more environmentally friendly manner, than a typical clean-up crew.
Here's how you can help with grass and weed issues in your neighborhood...
If you happen to notice a yard in your neighborhood with tall grass or weeds approaching 12 inches in height covering some or most of the lot, this issue needs to be resolved as quickly as possible to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the community.  You have the option of offering to assist your neighbor with their yard, or you can contact Neighborhood Services for Enforcement assistance. 

Filing a Weed Complaint

*  A citizen may lodge a complaint for a weed case violation by using the Complaint Form for Property Code Violations or by calling Neighborhood Services at 703-792-7018.
*  Complaint is processed and assigned to an inspector who then visits the site within 5 business days.  During this visit the inspector verifies that the grass is over 12 inches and issues a notice to the occupant and/or owner. 
*  According to the law, a violator has 14 days from receiving the notice to comply.  The inspector returns to the site after the compliance date has passed to verify the lawn has been mowed.
*  If the occupant still has not complied, a County contractor will be assigned to cut the grass.  It usually takes three to four days to fit the job into the contractor's schedule.
*  Once the job is completed, the full cost of the work plus administrative fees regarding the complaint are charged to the property owner and a tax lien is placed on the property.  The cost to the violator for non-compliance is usually between $150 for a townhome lot to over $600 for a single-family home with a larger lot.
*  If any other violations occur on the property in the same growing season, the 14 day compliance period is not given.  The property is just mowed again and an additional lien is placed.   

Could there be a Reason your Neighbor hasn't Mowed?

Neighbors don't always talk to other neighbors, but a little awareness of your neighbor's situation may go a long way toward a positive sense of community and the appearance of your neighborhood could very well benefit. Neighborhood Services is aware of many cases where serious family illness or physical limitations and inability to pay someone to mow the lawn are the reasons for neglect of the lawn. Think about the home where a spouse is on military assignment or where elderly neighbors cannot push a mower anymore. Look out for your neighbors and offer to mow their grass; arrange for other neighbors to take turns mowing, too. Neighbors helping each other will maintain appearance and foster a positive sense of community.
  • Neighborhood Services is tasked with investigating complaints of tall grass and weeds.
  • On residential and commercial properties with two acres or less, grass and weeds of more than 12 inches in height are not permitted. 
  • If the residential property is more than two acres, weeds more than 12 inches in height are not permitted within 150 feet of the edge of state-maintained roads or within 200 feet of another property's dwelling. (This does not apply to land zoned for, and in, active farming operation.)


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