City threatens big fines for unmowed yards

The city of Indianapolis is threatening big fines if they have to mow your grass.
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The city of Indianapolis is beginning a crackdown on yards all around town, making sure the grass and weeds are not getting out of hand. They are threatening big fines if the city has to cut it for you.

The city does it to protect property values and children from what could be hiding in the tall weeds.

It's a simple measurement, an inspector with a ruler, making sure that vegetation isn't over a foot high. If it is, it's a problem.

Jessica Edwards finds stuff all the time while mowing the lawn at Woodside Methodist Church on the southeast side.

"I pick up a lot of needles. Used needles, crack pipes," she said.

The city says its inspectors see that all the time.

"It can conceal illegal activity. It can harbor pests and vermin, any of that, and we've seen a direct correlation between safety concerns, you know, and high weeds and grass," said Adam Baker, Department of Code Enforcement.

The city investigated 2,200 cases of high weeds and grass last year and figures it will have about as many this year. It mowed 17,000 yards and sent property owners the bill.

That doesn't even count the efforts of people like Edwards, who goes beyond her responsibilities at the church.

"Having other people who don't take care of their property makes it harder on my job," she said.

The city charges property owners $353 if it has to cut their yard for them and will send out contractors every 30 days to do it again if the owner doesn't get it cut on their own.