CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The weather is beginning to warm, and that means people around the city are firing up their lawnmowers to give their yards a trim. Well, some people.
The Charleston building department already has sent 267 letters to residents warning them to mow their lawns or face a fine, said Tony Harmon, building commissioner.
The overwhelming majority went to property owners on the West Side, Harmon said. That includes the flat section, the hill and North Charleston. The city sent 208 letters to property owners in those areas.
"The West Side's a large area," he said. "So that probably has something to do with the high number of letters."
Twenty letters were sent to property owners in the East End warning them that their grass had exceeded the allowable 10 inches in height. Thirty-nine letters were sent to property owners in Kanawha City and South Hills.
The building department began sending the warning letters about three months ago, Harmon said. Six inspectors cover various parts of the city looking for violations.
Harmon could not immediately provide the total number of letters sent last year. However, he believes more letters have been sent so far this year than during the same period last year.
He thinks the weather may be a factor.
"We'd have warm weather and the grass would grow and then we'd get a cold snap," he said. "It just seems like people didn't get out and start their lawn mowers up."
Property owners are given five days to mow after receiving the letter warning them that they are in violation, Harmon said. If the grass is not mowed, the property owner is fined $100.
The fine increases every five days until it reaches the maximum of $500.