The city council passed a weed ordinance "with some teeth in it" Tuesday night. The ordinance became effective immediately.
Community Development Director Scott Carter said the city's old ordinance did not allow strict enough enforcement. It listed about a dozen plants as weeds, Carter said, leaving the city unable to require other noxious weeds and wild plants to be cut down.The old ordinance also had some enforcement loopholes, Carter said, which tied the city's hands in getting people to clean up their vacant lots.
The new ordinance sets a 1-foot height limit on weed growth and speeds up the process of escalating to a criminal complaint against people who refuse to comply, Carter said. Violators are subject to up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Carter said the city rarely has to go that far, but he can recall one property owner who went to jail after refusing to comply.