By JESSICA CRAWFORD • Daily Leader
April showers may bring May flowers … but that’s not all the spring rain will bring to lawns throughout the city. Weeds are coming and in fact, in most areas of the city, they are already here.
Building inspector John Arellano would like to make the community aware of the city’s weed ordinance and what it requires. The weed ordinance requires anything standing more than a foot to be taken care of or the City of Liberal will take care of it for the property owner – at a rather high price.
“We want to notify the citizens regarding the weed ordinance the city has,” Arellano said. “The fact is we just want them to be aware that the weed ordinance is in effect right now. The cost is $150 the first hour of yard work the city has to do and $40 thereafter. We just want to remind them of cutting alley easements and the front yards, anything in excess of 12 inches on their property.”
Door hangers will be placed on the front doors of the homes where violations are determined. According to Arellano, this is a courtesy the city gives the property owner to give them a chance to clean the property up on their own which would save them quite a bit of money.
“The door-hangers are a courtesy note,” he said. “They are giving them an additional five day notice – cut your property or we will come cut it for you. It is a courtesy notice and we don’t have to do that. We try to give everybody a chance who is in violation with that.”
Due to anyone in violation of environmental issues such as having old washers, dryers, refrigerators or freezers on the property, vouchers will be given in order to take the goods causing the violation to the landfill.
“We have a voucher we are giving out to citizens who are in violation of the environmental code,” Arellano explained. “Washers, couches, old bicycles, everything that is junk. There is just one per household. We try to put at least a week expiration on the vouchers.
“If they do receive a letter, the owners just have to notify us,” he continued. “A registered letter does go out then comes back to us and they have 15 days to have signed it and clean their property up. If they have not, we take it to the city commission and they vote to allow us to go clean the property up. This voucher is if you have a few couches or a truckload of stuff you need to get cleaned up – the city is trying to help people out.”
Arellano also wanted to remind citizens throughout the city that parking in their front yard is simply not allowed.
“We want to make a reminder of parking in the yard,” he said. “City commission passed an ordinance that doesn’t allow parking in front yards, just on an approved surface. If it’s concrete, asphalt, bricks, gravel – that’s fine, not the grass yard.”
Vehicles with out of state tags or out of date tags have been dubbed junk vehicles, and those in violation of having such vehicles on their property will be notified to rectify the situation.
“We have been pushing junk motor vehicles a lot lately and what has been coming up a lot is the out of state tags,” Arellano said. “It is in a state statute that if you reside in the State of Kansas for more than 30 days, you must switch them over to Kansas.
“They get the letter and it says ‘junk motor vehicle’ we are not saying that it is junk, that is just how the ordinance reads, it is out of date or out of state,” he added. “Thirty days late, six months late – have to change those tags.”
Arellano also wanted to remind citizens that inoperable vehicles must remain completely out of public view.
“Put it in the garage, back yard, just out of public view,” he said.
“Behind a six foot fence where we can’t see it, the public can’t see it. People think, ‘well it’s my property, I can do what I want to do,’ no, they really can’t.”
Owners receiving any notification of any of the discussed violations do have the right to request a hearing with the city commission, Arellano said.
“They have their right,” he said. “So they can go and complain to the city commissioners. They are the ones that pass it. They pay us to enforce it.”
With the vouchers and the notices enforcement officers are providing citizens with, Arellano would like the community to realize the city is trying to work with and not against those in violation.
“We want to show people we are willing to work with them so let’s try to get this place cleaned up,” he said.
Arellano added that if anyone has any questions regarding any of the codes, they may call Larry at 626-2266 or Juan at 626-2268.