May 29, 2013

Weed removal not sign of citizen abuse

CHICKASHA — The city of Chickasha is not picking on you or your lawn.

I have taken more calls over the past few weeks asking why the city is bullying the little guy when there are businesses in downtown with overgrown weeds, and this misunderstanding needs to be put to rest.

First, no member of the council, or the city manager's office has the ability to see everything in Chickasha. They do not have an all seeing eye.

Typically, they find out about a problem when a member of the citizenry notifies them.

Second, the city does have a plan when it comes to the weeds. Recent rainfall has added a tremendous boom to the growth of unsightly plants, according to City Manager Stewart Fairburn, and the city is working on it.

Fairburn said turnover has put them behind where they would like to be at this point in the season by two weeks, but they are now at full strength, and will handle the thick spring forestry that's cropping up around town.

They will be sweeping the whole city, so no grass will be left uncut.

Third, the city does not pick and choose at random whose yard will be tended to, and whose won't.

They send out letters that notify property owners when they are in violation of city ordinance. The owner has 10 days to comply, or the city takes care of it.

Lastly, weeds come back every year.

This is not a new problem. The city is working on clearing them, and a year from now they will face the same challenge.

There isn't a viable way to permanently remove the unsightly growth, so a little patience from Chickasha's citizens needs to be exercised in this regard.

Frankly, I just don't get the complaints. Why would anyone care if the city removes your weeds?

I recently read about an EDC, which is having trouble attracting businesses because the city in which it resides is in such disarray and the council doesn't do anything about it, including mandating residential lawn care.

We could be stuck in the same rut, but over the last year, the Chickasha City Council has worked to combat this problem.

They have passed ordinances allowing them to remove properties that are in complete disrepair, cut off water to property owners who are abusing the city, set aside grant money to help with the facade of buildings in downtown, and now they're cutting the grass.

Now, can some of these ordinances be an irritation? Of course they can, but businesses don't want to build in a town that looks like a demilitarized zone.

Any vibrant and successful community would do the same thing.

If someone is not able to manage their property the city has to, and should, step in.

Are there times when city officials overstep their bounds?

Sure there are, and we've reported on them.

Generally speaking, these people are working diligently to improve the city as a whole, not kick the little guy in the stomach.

As far as the city finding out about ordinance violations, the citizens can let them know by calling 405-222-6093.

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