High Grass Season is Here: Guidelines for Plant Life in Duncanville

Given the lack of rain this winter, it may seem hard to believe that “high grass season” will soon be upon us. Yet every year, Duncanville’s Code Enforcement Officers are kept busy from mid-March through October monitoring the growth of grass, weeds and other vegetation in the City. As the season opens let’s review requirements and methods of enforcement, which are provided in Chapter 12, Article IV of Duncanville’s Code of Ordinances.

At its most basic level, this ordinance tells us that it is prohibited to allow “weeds, brush or any objectionable or unsightly vegetation” to grow to a height greater than 12 inches. In turn, “objectionable and unsightly” is defined as “all vegetation that is not regularly cultivated and exceeds 12 inches in height”, which would include grass.

This ordinance extends to all “real property within 150 feet of any property line which abuts street rights-of-way, alleys, utility easements, subdivided additions, developed property, or any buildings or other structures”. Thus, there are very few areas in the City that are not covered by these requirements.

Other points to remember with respect to grass and weeds:

  • Property owners or occupants are responsible for mowing all areas between their property lines and streets or alleys
  • Sidewalks and curb lines on and adjacent to one’s private property must be kept free of grass, weeds, and vegetation.

Chapter 12, Article IV also provides regulations pertaining to trees and other plant life. As a general rule, no plant life may be maintained in such a way as to constitute a traffic hazard or to obstruct the view of persons using public streets, alleys and sidewalks.

Trees are also subject to the following requirements:

  • Branches and foliage shall be trimmed to at least 14 feet above the surface of streets or alleys
  • Branches and foliage shall be trimmed to at least 7 feet above the surface of sidewalks and curbs
  • No trees or shrubs may be planted on City property along alleys
  • Branches and foliage shall encroach no more than one foot onto City property along alleys
  • All trees or parts of trees determined to be dead, diseased, damaged beyond the point of recovery or in danger of falling must be removed

In the event of a violation, the City is required to give the property owner and occupant seven days’ notice to comply with the requirements of the ordinance. If the owner or occupant fails to respond to this notice, the City may do whatever work is necessary to bring the property into compliance, charging the property owner for expenses incurred. If the owner fails to pay these expenses, an interest-bearing lien may be placed against the property. If the violation recurs within one year, the City may correct the violation, bill for expenses, and/or file a lien against the property without giving another notice.

A normal level of care and maintenance nearly always suffices to keep a property within the requirements of this ordinance. This in turn contributes to the beauty of the City, enhances property values and attracts investment in business and residential property. It’s easy to do your part to keep Duncanville beautiful! For further information contact your Code Enforcement Department at 972-780-5041.

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