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Now That it's Spring State College Residents Warned to Keep Yards Under Control

by on March 30, 2014 1:45 PM

Look around. Chances are you might spot a few patches of winter snow dotting the landscape.

With that in mind, it may be hard to even think about an off-shoot of the just begun spring season -- the responsibility of lawn care.

And you might be surprised to learn that your yard being carefully monitored.

According to Chapter IX, Part C of the State College Borough Code, grass and weeds may not exceed six inches in height through the growing season, beginning April 1 and ending October 31. Failure to do so could result in a $50 violation, a fine of $100, and a maximum of ten days in county jail.

In a statement issued to residents in anticipation of the upcoming growing season, the public health department identified several key reasons why weed and grass enforcement is important to the community.

In addition to creating a negative appearance and harboring deposits of trash, tall grass "creates a refuge for snakes and/or unwanted wildlife such as skunks and groundhogs, provides a breeding ground for mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks, and increases the pollen levels in the air," putting family, pets, and neighbors at risk.

Tony Lupinski, ordinance enforcement officer at the State College Department of Department of Public Health, says 100 violations of excessive vegetation were discovered last year. However, Lupinski says it's "not the grass that's the issue, it's the weeds," noting that noxious weeds can cause asthma and other respiratory issues.

In order to prevent any harm or damage to the health, safety, and welfare of residents, Lupinski and his fellow ordinance officers patrol neighborhoods five days a week, including occasional spot checks on weekends. According to Lupinski, "95-98 percent" of all violations are reported on patrol, with the rest coming from neighborhood complaints.

Once a residence is found to be in violation of the "six-inch" rule, a warning is issued to the owner and/or occupant of the premises, with instructions to remove, trim, or cut the grass within 72 hours. If the request is ignored, an ordinance violation is issued  and you'll be fined the $50 -- payable within seven days. The municipal authorities may also remove the excess vegetation and send you the bill.

"We come across it, and if it's in excess of the maximum length, we're you're going to be held responsible," says Lupinski.

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C.J. Doon is a frequent contributor to Onward State and is a former intern. A Long Island native, Doon is studying print journalism at Penn State.
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