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November 06, 2008


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I can't attend the training on Saturday but am wondering if alleys count in code compliance.... I have an alley neighbor who apparently takes care of the rest of his yard but neglects his alley! Grass and weeds are as high as the metal trash can left by the previous residents!

Bill Kennedy

You can't be cited for something you don't own, which is the city land outside your back fence. Or the boulevard between the sidewalk and the street in areas such as M-Streets. Or the ditch along White Rock Trail. But, most people do so out of the want for a good look to their area.

The best way to take care of an alley you don't like is to spend 20 bucks on Roundup. I'm organic, but that's where I'd draw the line, myself. Or, weed whack it yourself.

Bill--Bad Advice

Uh, Bill you DO own the land behind your back fence up to the alley pavement. Yes, you DO own the parkway, the land between the public sidewalk and the street. That is not city property. Neither is the land beneath the public sidewalk. The city has an easement interest to use the land for the sidewalk. The responsibility for the sidewalk is the homeowners!

Yes, you can call code compliance for high weeds in alleyways and in fact Code Compliance has issued citations in the past for this here in LH.


Although this program appears to have good intentions, I am afraid it will attract over zealous people with a "vigilante HOA agenda ATTITUDE" and will make our already fine community a living nightmare.



Mike-I understand and totally support your concerns about vigilante HOAs. I have an attorney friend who makes a great living off of HOAs and the infighting among themselves! I guess I'm lucky-I'd say 99% of my area is kept up w/o any code issues. However, places like the self serve car wash on Walnut Hill I'd like to keep an eagle eye on. I've called the police on two different nights because all the back "drying bays" were full of cars, no lights and after dark...I'm sure nothing good was going on back there! Both times, the police responded and cleared the area out. The pay phone has been vandalized and just been lying on the ground for at least a month. Those are the kind of things I'd like to see code compliance called on.

LH Fan

Where exactly is that pay phone? I may go pick it up and install it in my house so my kids can contribute to the phone bill.


LH Fan-i thought you were going to ask "What is a pay phone?". It's on Walnut Hill, just east of Audelia.

Bill Kennedy

Dear "Bill--Bad Advice,"

Sorry, but you DON'T own said land and the city has NO easement on land BEYOND your property line (in an alleyway or anywhere). Nor does anyone along WRT own the ditch between their property and WRT. Nor do you own the land under the public sidewalk. If you did, it would be on your plan and there would be an easement listed. Easements are law and must be listed on plans. I do not know of anyone who builds a fence NOT on their property line in the back, either. So all of sudden the land behind the fence becomes their land? No.

Where I was offbase and mistaken in my first post was in my interpretation of who must control said weeds beyond one's own property. The Litter and High Grass/ Weeds Ordinance states: "The property must be maintained between the curb in front of the house (or if no curb then from the edge of the pavement) to the middle of the alley (or the back property line if there is no alley)." Key points being "...from the edge of the pavement." and "...if there is no alley." The re-paving of many roads in WRV, that have no curbs and sidewalks, has made a royal mess out of that "interpretation," for what it's worth.

Thus, I would still Roundup the stuff or whack it myself rather than get in a vigilante tussle with a neighbor. We are not an HOA -- which is something that LHAIA will have to be very careful of, I suspect. Neighbors, silently snitching on neighbors, to the City, can lead to no long term good, IMHO.

BTW, here's an actual, current LH example for you: Empty slab on corner of WRT and Deer -- being cited for garbage and weeds in lot, but not in WRT ditch. The notices are still there nailed to the post in the yard.

Bill--Bad Advice

Bill, you need to look at your owner's title policy and survey. My fee simple interest in my property extends for the entire lot, to the street line (curb) and to the alley boundary, not beyond. We have a 5 foot easement given to the utilities to maintain utility lines in the back of the property but that property is clearly on my survey and insured by my title policy. The trees growing in that easement are my responsibility, not the utility companies; however, they will trim them to maintain their easement rights. I never said I own anything in the alley, but I certainly own the 5 foot strip of land from my fence line to the alley line, just as I own the land underneath my front sidewalk--it's in my owner's policy! If I don't own that 5 foot strip, then why bother maintaining and mowing it and why doesn't the city come maintain its property? The fence was constructed 5 feet from the property line to allow the utility rights to access their easement interest.
If you had a sidewalk and I walked over and tripped on it due to it being in disrepair, hurting myself, the first thing I will do is sue you and the damages would be paid from your homeowner's policy's liability coverage. That's why many of us have umbrella liability policies to cover such contingencies. Furthermore, if the city owned the sidewalk and the land underneath it, the city would be responsible for repairs--why do they charge homeowners for a portion of sidewalk repairs?
On the survey you should see a sidewalk shown by the surveyor. The sidewalk is an easement interest under common law. I have no clue what you mean by "easements are law"? What does that mean? They are legal interests but do not take away the land owner's title to the land the easement sits upon.
I don't know about your ditch situation. Perhaps it is treated differently. I do agree that calling code compliance does foster poor neighbor relations.

LH Fan

OK, so once I find the pay phone, pick it up off the ground, and install it near my kids' rooms I will foster good neighborhood relations by allowing Bill Kennedy and Bill--Bad Advice free phone calls for one week. But first they have to Round-up all the weeds behind my fence and fill a crack in the sidewalk...

OK people, calm down I'm just kidding. I appreciate the informative discussion about property lines, boundaries, insurance, etc. from both BK and B--BA. Thanks!

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