You might have seen the post going around Niceville’s Facebook groups.
Please don’t believe it.
Niceville employees won’t dump gravel on your lawn – or even begin to measure your grass to ensure compliance with ‘codes.’
New city manager David Deitch said as much at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
“You might have seen (on social media) a posting that we are going to go around measuring your grass. If it got over four inches long, we were going to start fining you. I just want to let you know that fake news is always wrong and of course this is no exception,” Deitch said. Deitch the joked (people, this is a J-O-K-E joke)
“It actually is three inches, not four. the fine is $300 a minute, not an hour. And on the second violation, we are not going to gravel over your yard – we are going to burn your house down and put up a storage unit.””
“Please know, that there is no bylaw that is referenced in that ad,” Deitch said as he returned to business, “there is no such thing here in Niceville. We are not going to be measuring your grass or fining you if it’s over four inches long.”
The Niceville City Code of Ordinances does have a lot to say about grass, shrubs, trees, and other vegetation that may become a nuisance to neighbors and other residents.
According to Ordinances 9-2 through 9-6, the Niceville City manager can initiate action against a property in a multi-step process that allows the property owner recourse to address the issue before fines and liens against the property are assessed.
“t is unlawful to allow debris, rubbish, trash, tin cans, papers or stagnant water to accumulate or allow a dense growth of trees, vines and underbrush to develop on any lot, tract or parcel of land within the city to such an extent that it constitutes a menace to life, property, the public health, the public welfare or creates a fire hazard, is hereby prohibited and declared to be a public nuisance,” The code says.
Suppose the city manager determines that an issue has developed on a property. In that case, he can send a police officer with a notice to the property owner or agent of the property owner. If they can’t find someone – they will post the notice on the building itself.
From there – the manager can set a hearing no less than 20 days after the mailing of the notice. If the owner does not remedy the issues still outstanding after the notice is issued, the city can begin cleaning up the property and bill the owner.
Once the city finishes the clean-up, it can put a lien on the property until they are reimbursed for their efforts.
Finally, the property owner can file for a hearing on the cost of removal by the city.