Long grass could set a record

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JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City residents played catch-up Saturday, cutting fast-growing grass in order to avoid citations.

City officials said Friday heavy rains in the area have put them on track to issue a record number of grass-height violations.

Jefferson City ordinance says weeds and grass that grow longer than 12 inches must be removed. Residents who don't meet that requirement are given a citation, according to Department of Planning & Protective Services Director Janice McMillan. 

If residents do not comply with the 12-inch rule, the city gives the violator five days to cut the grass. According to McMillan, if the grass is not cut within five days, the city hires a contractor to do so, at the expense of a tax lien on the property. 

Jefferson City resident Rusty Thomas said he's noticed a change in how fast his own grass is growing.

"You can mow it every five days if you want to," he said. "We've had more rain and the grass is growing more. A lot of times by this time of the year it's starting to go dormant because it's been so hot."

According to city documents, Jefferson City issued 19 citations for tall grass in April, 146 in May and 125 in June.

McMillan said the city issued 468 tall grass or weed citations in all of 2014. As of Saturday, the city pursued 290 cases of tall grass or weeds. McMillan said at that rate, the city could process around 800 violations in 2015, a record number.

Thomas said despite the numbers, he thinks the city gives a lot of lee-way.

"From what I've seen they're pretty lenient, they let it get pretty tall before they actually put their stick in the yard," he said.

KOMU 8 Weathercaster Sydney Jackson said the amount of rainfall mid-Missouri has seen in 2015 is abnormal. Jackson said mid-Missouri saw 7.52 inches of rain in June, making it the wettest June in more than 30 years.

She said the area had already seen 2.74 inches of rain in July, well above normal.

Thomas said despite all the rain, he was able to find enough dry time to cut the grass Saturday.

For more information about Jefferson City's grass and weed ordinance, you can read the "Weeds" section of City Code chapter 21.