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City examines issue of overgrown hedges

Councilman Christoper Jackson, Ward 6, brought up the topic of overgrown hedges at the city’s Common Council meeting Aug. 4. Jackson said overgrown hedges, like the ones seen here on Grace Avenue, have become a nuisance for pedestrians that will only worsen if not taken care of before winter.

Councilman Christoper Jackson, Ward 6, brought up the topic of overgrown hedges at the city’s Common Council meeting Aug. 4. Jackson said overgrown hedges, like the ones seen here on Grace Avenue, have become a nuisance for pedestrians that will only worsen if not taken care of before winter. Photo by Jeremiah S. Papineau.

— The city’s common council is examining what Councilman Christoper Jackson, Ward 6, considers a “growing” issue.

During the council’s Aug. 4 meeting, Jackson brought up his concern about overgrowing hedges that are being found more commonly throughout the city.

“I was walking one day over by the corner of Bailey and Grace avenues and noticed the hedges growing so far over the sidewalk, that some people didn’t have room to walk on the sidewalk,” said Jackson.

The more he walked the city with his dog, Jackson found similar situations, including the corner of Hamilton and S. Peru streets, among others.

“It just makes it difficult for people with disabilities, the elderly and parents with strollers, especially, to use the sidewalks,” said Jackson.

The councilman suggested the city put an ordinance on the books that would require property owners to trim their hedges and keep sidewalks clear, similar to a law that requires them to shovel their sidewalks during the winter.

“What we’d do is survey the city in late May for any overgrown hedges and send a letter out in the beginning of June to any property owners whose hedges were obstructing sidewalks,” said Jackson. “Then, we’d give them to Aug. 1 to rectify the situation.”

If the situation was not resolved by then, the city would take care of the hedges for them and then bill the property owner for the work on his or her property taxes.

Since word has spread of the council beginning to examine putting such legislation in place, Jackson said he has received several favorable comments from city residents.

“I’ve gotten a lot of phone calls and e-mails, particularly from elderly people telling me they’re glad somebody noticed [the situation],” said Jackson.

The council is now in the process of consulting with code enforcement officer Rick Perry and department of public works superintendent Mike Brodi to develop language for an ordinance. Jackson said the council will take its time on the matter but will have legislation in place for next summer.

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