One of the civic responsibilities we all share is keeping our city attractive and well maintained. In recent years, we have received an increasing number of citizen complaints about overgrown lots in neighborhoods and general lack of maintenance of property. A site visit is performed for each complaint. These are often followed by letters requesting compliance and, when necessary and appropriate, citations for violations of city ordinances. These ordinances are written for the common good, as we all understand the importance and value of living in a community that is attractive, cared for and safe.
Research has shown that overgrown yards, peeling paint, and exterior clutter make a negative impression. They can contribute to lowering personal property values, affect the character of a neighborhood, and have a negative impact on the economic development of an entire community. On the contrary, an attractive neighborhood adds to home values, encourages business investments, and has been proven to positively influence the behaviors of others. The purpose of this letter is to highlight the importance of personal property maintenance in building a stronger community.
Why is the Maintenance of Personal Property Important?
The maintenance of personal property plays a collective part in the overall stability, safety and economic development of every community. When families or businesses consider locating in Valdosta, the condition of our personal property and neighborhoods is often a deciding factor. In addition, by maintaining the exterior and premises in a clean and safe condition, this can help to protect the value and longevity of your personal property. As a reminder, the city’s property maintenance ordinance requires that grass and weeds not exceed eight inches in height (Ordinance No. 2011-37).
Who’s Responsible for the Right-of-Way?
When property is developed, often times a portion of property adjacent to the street is dedicated as part of the public “right-of-way". Such right-of-way is not only for the street itself, but it may also include sidewalks, drainage facilities, utilities and similar public uses. With nearly 600 miles of right-of-way in our city, it would be impossible for any local government to adequately maintain this without significant added expense to all the taxpayers. This is why the city’s ordinances require property owners to maintain the portion of public right-of-way that is adjacent to their own property (Ordinance No. 2011-37). For example, this includes keeping the grass cut and free of litter between the property line and the sidewalk or street curb.
What Should I Do With the Grass Clippings?
Whether you personally maintain your yard or hire a landscaping company to do the job for you, do not blow grass clippings into the street or into the storm drain. It is important to remember that storm drains are designed to carry rain water away from streets and homes during heavy rainfall. Grass clippings and other yard debris can quickly clog the storm drain and obstruct the flow of water, possibly resulting in street or property flooding, and is a violation of our city ordinance (Ordinance No. 2007-45). In addition to keeping your neighborhood roadways clean, blowing the grass clippings on the lawn can actually help fertilize and grow healthy lawns.
We applaud the many individuals and lawn maintenance companies who take great care in properly maintaining and disposing of yard debris. It begins with each one of us, so let’s all commit to keeping our property attractive and well maintained, while also encouraging and helping our neighbors to keep Valdosta beautiful.