COVINGTON, La. (AP) — Residents who live in the unincorporated areas of St. Tammany Parish and fail to mow the grass on their lots could face a penalty of $300 and a possible property lien.

The Times-Picayune reports the parish is funding a new grass-cutting initiative with $15,000 and a focus on chronic violators.

The owners of property with growth taller than 15 inches could get a letter from the parish giving them 10 days to remove "weeds, grass or deleterious, unhealthy growth" or the parish will take action.

If the property owner doesn't remove the growth during the 10-day period, the parish or its contractor will mow the grass and bill the owner $300 for the service. Should the owner fail to pay the bill promptly, the parish will put the amount of the bill, plus costs and interest, on the owner's next tax bill.

In addition, the parish will place a lien on the property.

"Obviously, the parish doesn't want to get into the landscaping business," Ronn Hagan, of the parish's Legal Department, said in a news release. "Most property owners take responsibility for their property. Unfortunately, some owners are unwilling to do so. The parish encourages those owners to keep their lots maintained. That will be a far less expensive option."

The parish is encouraging residents to file complaints about grass or other code violations.

Residents should clearly identify the specific type of complaint or nuisance, such as trash or junk vehicles, and provide the physical address and/or the owner of the property in violation. If the address is unknown, residents should give details on the location of the property.


Information from: The Times-Picayune,