Ardmore code enforcement focusing on low-hanging limbs, overgrown lawns

Drew Butler
The Daily Ardmoreite
Overgrown lawns such as this one at a condemned house in Northwest Ardmore are havens for insects and vermin. Code enforcement are currently issuing notices to the public to cut back the weeds and keep trees above roads and sidewalks trimmed.

With school back in session and buses regularly traveling the streets of the city, code enforcement is actively making the rounds to ensure branches hanging over roadways are at least 13-feet 6-inches off the ground. These low-hanging branches can damage the roof of high profile vehicles like buses, firetrucks and sanitation vehicles.

Community Development Services Director Jessica Scott said the department focuses on trees at this time every year because bus drivers can easily pinpoint and report the exact area where there are problems. While posting code enforcement notifications to the homes reported, the department also inspects the nearby area to look for other low-hanging limbs and overgrown yards. 

More:Michelin donates electrostatic sprayer to The Clubhouse

Residents in violation will receive a sign in their yard detailing the nature of the violation. Unoccupied houses will also receive a letter at this time.

"If it's a vacant property we'll send the sign and the letter at the same time," Scott said. "If the house is inhabited, we'll put the sign up and then come back in 10 days to see if the issue is resolved. If you haven't trimmed your trees or mowed the lawn by then, you'll get a letter in the mail that gives you another 10 days to get it handled."

Scott said the city will work with people who need more time to make arrangements, but anyone receiving a code violation must contact the department of community development to make the request.

"We'll give you more time, but you've got to make contact with us," Scott said. "If you're having an issue and can't find someone, we're happy to give you an extension. We also have a list of people who can trim trees, and we have a list of of churches that can help if you can't afford to pay for it."

More:Boys & Girls Clubs of Red River Valley Oklahoma names Kameron Sallee as CEO

Those who have not contacted the city to ask for an extension and have not fixed the problem within 10 days of the letter will then have the issue resolved by a contractor for the city. The property owner will then receive a bill, and Scott said this can vary depending on the size of the branches or the size of the yard. If the bill is not paid, a lien is placed on the home's property taxes.

Scott said the best way to avoid this problem is to regularly care for your yard and to annually trim tree branches before they become an issue. She urged anyone who knows of a problem in their area to report the issue to the community development department at (580) 223-2477. She said code enforcement will then follow up on the report  -- typically within about 24 hours -- and take the necessary steps if a violation is found.