West Allis changes rules to address out-of-control lawns

Too much grass in your front yard could have you paying big bucks in West Allis. The common council voted Tuesday night to shorten the window of time homeowners have to take care of unruly lawns. 

If grass reaches six inches or higher, and someone complains about it to the city, the city will then notify the homeowner. 

Before the rule change, the homeowner had five days to take care of it, but under the new rules, they now have three. 

"We aim for about once a week," said Kim Ray, West Allis. "We don't really enjoy doing it." 

She said her neighbor's grass has never bothered her before unless it makes the home look abandoned. 

"I get people have things come up and don't always have time to keep completely on top of things," she said. 

Under the new rules, if homeowners don't take care of unruly grass within three days, the city will send out a contractor and charge the homeowner $300. 

One city alderman said someone in his district received a $1,500 bill last year from the city for not cutting the lawn, and they're hoping these rule changes will encourage people to get it done sooner. 

"Everyone around here keeps it pretty nice," said Mike Zaeske. 

He said he doesn't think residents are the problem. 

"I think the issue is the vacant properties," said Zaeske. "If you had homeowners of the vacant properties cutting the grass, it wouldn't be an issue."

Part of the new rules adopted Tuesday include hanging door notices, in addition to mailing them. The city hopes that will speed things up when it comes to notifying landlords about their properties. 

"Anything to keep the city looking nice," said Zaeske. "I think it's a very nice neighborhood." 

The rule change comes on the heels of the City of West Allis hiring a marketing agency to reinvent its image. 

The mayor says they hope to ditch some of the negative stereotypes and highlight the growing businesses in the city. 

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