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Shade Township fields grass complaints

July 7, 2018

Shade Township officials will begin cracking down on tall grass after a few residents complained at a supervisors meeting Thursday.

Chairman Mike Muha said there are numerous properties with grass higher than allowed by the public nuisance ordinance and it would take a whole day to visit each violation in the township. The ordinance doesn’t have a specific height requirement, so high grass becomes a violation when it causes a nuisance. Supervisors are exploring a new, more specific ordinance.

“My heart goes out to the folks who have immaculate lawns and have to live next to that,” he said. “Our hands are tied. I would love to step in, but we can’t go on private property without the owner’s consent.”

Instead, the supervisors plan to give the violating homeowners a notice, then cut the grass for them. If that happens, the supervisors will put a lien on the home for the cost, plus any legal fees.

Muha estimated the average property would cost about $100 to mow when considering the cost of labor and fuel.

He added that most of the violations happen when the property owner lives out of state and has effectively abandoned the property.

At the meeting Thursday, the supervisors also had a heated disagreement about spending, which stemmed from the purchase of a new lawnmower. The supervisors quickly went into a private executive session when the disagreement began.

Solicitor Chris Robbins said the executive session was to discuss financial matters, which became an employee and personnel matter.

Supervisors Tom Holland and Muha declined to comment about the dispute.

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