Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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City puts 'weed lien' on unmaintained properties

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BATON ROUGE - People in one Baton Rouge neighborhood finally get help after living with what they call an "eyesore". 

The city's public works went to empty lots on Dan Drive in East Baton Rouge Parish Thursday to chop, hack and rip away years worth of unhealthy growth and obnoxious matter.

Trees, weeds, shrubs and grass have been growing in their neighborhood for a year and a half, reaching up to eight feet tall and encroaching on properties next door. Neighbors claim they complained to the city for months before getting a response.

The city says because these are private properties, they can only step in if a complaint is filed, the grass reaches 24 inches and the property is vacant.

"Once we determine it's not occupied, we have to go through abstracting to determine who the owner is, then we have to send out the notice to try and get them to take action," said Bryan Harmon, Public Works director. "After a certain time, if they don't take action then we're authorized to be able to cut it ourselves."

The city cuts about 300 lawns a month using taxpayer dollars. To get that money back, a lien is put on every property it mows.

"They are charged," Harmon said. "Now whether or not we get reimbursement, that's a different story."

Fines for failing to maintain your property range between $125 and $500. If you need the city to take care of a property in your neighborhood, call 3-1-1 to file a complaint.


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