Sussex County Approves Fines for High Grass - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Sussex County Approves Fines for High Grass

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(Photo: AP) (Photo: AP)

LAUREL, Del. - As the summer heat continues, mowing your lawn can be a nuisance, but not doing it can cost you a hefty fine in Sussex County. There has been a 1-foot limit on grass in this county for a long time, but now there is a fine to enforce it.

Four years ago, the county made some changes to the code and unintentionally left the penalties out, but now they are back for local residents. In Laurel, homeowners know these ordinances well.

Kathy Givens has a beautiful home and a well-kept lawn. But every morning when she steps outside, she sees her neighbor's home, covered with overgrown grass.

"It's an eyesore," she said. "We've had a few people ride by - friends of ours who have stopped in. And mentioned it."

But Givens also understands that her neighbor is an older man, in his mid-80s. She said that although she hates the long grass, she would feel uncomfortable reporting her neighbor's lawn.

"If the state is gonna charge him that excess amount of money," she said. "Then I'm gonna go over and cut it because he doesn't have the money like that to do it.

Enforcement in Sussex County is complaint-driven and so in order for her neighbor or any person in the county to get fined, they will need to be reported by a neighbor. After being reported, the town will give the person a call telling them they have five days to cut the grass. If they fail to do so, they will be fined $250. If they continue to ignore the warning, then that penalty can climb to $2,500.

One of the biggest problems for the county though is enforcing these rules when the property is abandoned or foreclosed.

Robert Board said that the abandoned house by his home is"heart-breaking" and an "eyesore."

"You just get discouraged when it gets like that and nobody does anything about it," he said.

As the heat glares this summer, the grass is continuing to grow. And in Sussex County people are either mowing their lawns or getting ready to pay the price.

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