LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - Neighbors in the Laurel Garden Drive subdivision are tired of looking at an overgrown private lot.
Anthony Conners grew up in this area and said the lot has been vacant for years. He said the neighborhood is a nice area, but the overgrown lot creates an eyesore and a hazard for the community.
"They let it get this tall before they decide to cut it again," Conners said, referring to the over-five-foot grass. "I have a problem with snakes in my yard all the time."
Since 2007 the owners have had nine public hearings for cleaning.
If neighbors call in to complain about a property, Laurel field inspectors are sent out to investigate. If the yard is deemed a harm to public health and safety, the property owner is sent a letter. If they don't respond to the letter or make attempts to clean the property, the complaint is passed on to city council. The council then determines if the city can step in to clean up.
Laurel Superintendent of the Inspection Department Harold Russell said an overgrown lot like this one would probably cost around $200 to clean.
"The city cannot simply cut everybody's property," Russell said. "We don't have the man power, we don't have the equipment. We have to rely on the citizen's cooperation to maintain their property because they want it to look nice, not because the neighbors are complaining about rats or snakes coming out of their tall grass."
Cost of equipment and labor is factored into the price of clean up. That amount is then charged to the property's tax ID number, instead of the individual.
"Don't nobody want the inspection department to come, but don't nobody want their neighborhood to look bad," Russell said. "We have to work together to try and accomplish that goal."