County needs law to ensure yards get mowed

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Overgrown yards are a problem in Pasquotank County.

Overgrown yards are a problem in Pasquotank County.

PASQUOTANK COUNTY — Citizens who reside here have a “growing problem.” Tall grass on vacant lots is allegedly a health hazard for nearby residents, who are seeing mice, rats and other vermin along with snakes.

Finger pointing inevitably leads to often cash-strapped developers, who got stuck with unsold properties thanks to the Great Recession.

County Manager Rodney Bunch says Pasquotank lacks an ordinance to deal with this problem, which he sees on the Planning Commission agenda at various times throughout the summer.


He also says that the county lacks the enforcement authority to require developers to keep their grass cut because there is no ordinance that they can cite when contacting property owners.

County Commissioner Frankie Meads says the county attorney can write the property owner a letter, which will usually cause the property owner to take some action to correct the problem.

But clearly, without any enforcement mechanism, the property owner can simply ignore the written request, and there is little more that the county can do at that point.

We noted with interest that the Elizabeth City government does have an ordinance that will deal with this issue and which will have some teeth behind it to make sure that the property owners comply.

We have forwarded a copy of the Elizabeth City ordinance to the County Manager so that he could review, perhaps adopting similar wording to formulate an ordinance that the County Commissioners can approve.

As of this writing, we have not heard from Manager Bunch but we fully expect that we will – look for a follow-up article on this subject.

In speaking with a member of the Planning Board (not the Planning Commission), he stated that he has had a similar problem with the owner of a lot directly across the street from his house. He has spoken to the owner about cutting the grass but has gotten nowhere and, of course, he has no remedy with the County.

It seems to be an easily resolvable problem that the commissioners would want to pursue.

Adopting an ordinance such as that already in use by ElizabethCity would seem to provide a simple solution. We will follow this subject as the county’s plans unfold.