The City of Mount Pleasant will save a little time and money after making some amendments to its lawn code.
At Monday’s meeting, the Mount Pleasant City Commission approved an ordinance amending two sections of Mount Pleasant’s code for lawn maintenance and removal of noxious weeds.
In 2009, the commission amended sections of the code, which changed the process by which violators were notified of their options and clarified that all front yards must have some vegetation, City Manager Kathie Grinzinger said.
The changes four years ago to the notification process mandated certified mail be the method for delivering notice to lawn code violators, instead of using regular mail, which increased the cost and time to handle complaints.
Vice Mayor Sharon Tilmann said the amendments to the code were necessary.
“When we initially passed this ordinance, we had discussion after discussion, and we probably discussed it to death and passed something that does indeed need to be amended,” Tilmann said. “We went a little too far.”
The amendments approved Monday allow the notifications to be sent by regular mail, hand delivered or posted.
In a memo, building official Brian Kench explained how the certified mail noticing requirements can take up to two weeks to allow for the owner to sign at delivery before the receipt of delivery from the Post Office is received by the code enforcement office to confirm delivery.
This extended amount of time in the notification process leads to a few issues, Kench said in the memo.
“During this period, staff continues to receive criticism from residents that the Code Enforcement Department is not reacting timely enough to their complaints, and we continue to have unsightly properties due to tall weeds and grass,” Kench said.
Kench said the city estimates it costs $21.54 more for certified mail compared to regular mail for the initial complaint.
After the 2009 updates, the city has sent out 159 certified letters pertaining to violations of the noxious weed provisions at a cost of $880.86.
Commissioners also amended a section pertaining to punishment for violators of the lawn ordinance.
The amendment reduced the punishment from a criminal misdemeanor to a municipal civil infraction.