South Bend Common Council members look to cut down on overgrown - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

South Bend Common Council members look to cut down on overgrown properties

The rain we've had the past couple of days has surely helped water the grass. While you might appreciate how nice and green your lawn is, many in South Bend are complaining about it. That's because some property owners aren't keeping up with mowing.

"This is crazy," says South Bend Councilman,Tim Scott about the 2,000 lawns he says need to be mowed in the city. He adds, "It does send the wrong message to the city and to people coming to our city."

South Bend's Code Enforcement says it's working on a backlog of overgrown properties. The department has dished out about 1,300 citations for grass and weeds this year and vacant and abandoned homes are particularly challenging.

"We get an enormous number of complaints and we try to address them as quickly as possible through citations and ultimately grass cuts as well," says Director of Code Enforcement, Shubhada Kambli.

At an average $125 a citation, Scott says he wants to make sure the city is getting that money and even more so. He and Councilwoman Karen White are working on an ordinance to cut down the problem, through higher fines for folks not playing by the rules.

 "Sometimes you gotta step up the ladder of consequences to get attention when people don't want to take the responsibility. The sad fact is instead of just being good neighbors, you sometimes have to hit them in the pocketbook to get their attention," says Scott.

Scott says it's important a fix gets to the root of the problem, sending a message that property owners need to take care of their lawns, especially the many dubbed by the city as repeat offenders. "Whether they live here or not, they need to be a good neighbor to everyone else within the city," says Scott.

Councilman Scott says that he hopes to present an ordinance in the next two to three months. He says unfortunately it probably won't be in time to handle this summer's problem properties, but will hopefully make a dent next year.

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