August 27, 2013 | 01:15 PMBLOOMFIELD — Village President Ken Monroe said unkept lawns have become a common complaint over the last five years.
When banks foreclose on houses, the lawns at those unoccupied residences become shaggy and overgrown. So neighbors would complain.
Monroe said he would call the banks and request that they send someone to cut the lawns.
And then he’d wait.
That used to be all the village and Monroe could do.
On Aug. 5, the village board adopted an ordinance that enables the village to hire a contractor or have village employees cut those overgrown lawns and charge the property owner for the costs.
“So, when we get a complaint, we’ll send a registered letter or hang a notice on the door, and they’ll have, I think, 10 days to take care of it,” Monroe said. “If they don’t respond, our ordinance says we can hire someone to cut the lawn or we ourselves can do it.”
He said before the ordinance, he would call banks and, most times, “they’d just ignore us.”
Monroe said one foreclosed house was owned by a bank in Texas.
“I called them a couple times and never got a response,” he said.
Another time, he asked a Realtor to mow the lawn on a property that was for sale.
“If the grass is waist-high or better, who’s going to buy it?” Monroe asked.
But Monroe said of the eight or so complaints reported last year, only about half of them were addressed.
Now, they will be addressed directly — either by the village’s highway department or a contractor, he said.
Either way, the property owner of a lawn cut by the village will receive a special assessment on the tax bill, Monroe said.