Communities grapple with unsightly premises

This week saw infractions from 12 residences located from West Trail to Glenmerry.

Warfield isn’t the only municipality working on unsightly premise bylaws.

Typically, Trail council reviews properties (at least two) per meeting, that are in contravention of its unsightly premise bylaw.

This week, the infraction number grew from a few homes to 12 residences located from West Trail to Glenmerry. The reason, listed under the unsightly premise bylaw, is overgrowth of grass and vegetation.

The bylaw rules are clear – on a developed property, grass cannot grow higher than 15 centimetres.

Because Trail has a bylaw officer on staff, routine neighbourhood patrols are carried out, as well as responses to complaints of unsightly yards.

First a notice is left requesting the work be dealt with, explained Sandy Lucchini, Trail’s deputy corporate administrator. If the notice goes unheeded, a letter is left with the timeline, and failing compliance, the matter is referred to council for a resolution.

After viewing photos and bylaw enforcement notes at regular council, the panel consents to issue notice that specific action must be taken within 30 days, such as garbage removal and grass cutting.

When the action isn’t undertaken in that time, the city will carry out the work and charge expenses to the property owner. If the outstanding balance isn’t paid by Dec. 31 that year, it becomes part of taxes in arrears.

Lucchini said there is no particular reason for the overgrowth regulation other than the city’s desire that property owners maintain developed properties to a particular standard.

Additionally, the city’s boulevard regulation bylaw indicates property owners must improve that space consistent with improvements made on the property it fronts.

“It is regulated by a different bylaw but in a similar manner administratively,” Lucchini added.

If the homeowner is facing hardships or for some other reason does not complete the work, the city will step in.

“We will almost always grant and extension,” she clarified.

“In order to find a solution and often times, landlords will assist tenants that may need help.”

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