THOMASVILLE, N.C. -- Douglas O’Kelley loves his neighborhood and the solitude he finds in picking vegetables from his backyard garden. But as he sits on his back deck, he can’t help but frown at the sight over the fence into his neighbor’s yard.
“I'm very irritated about this,” O’Kelley said. “This yard has been basically like this for the past four years. I'm sure there's mice and stuff, my cats bring them over here all the time.”
The weeds and overgrowth have gone unattended, as O’Kelley says his neighbors have been living out of state for about four years now.
In the city of Thomasville, your grass is only allowed to grow up to 12 inches tall before you're in violation of city ordinance, but the grass in O'Kelley's neighbor’s yard is in some areas three times that amount.
“Dealt with the city and the most they'll come out here and mow it is about twice a year,” he said.
“We understand their frustration,” Thomasville Minimum Housing Inspector Mark Cooper said. “You know paying city taxes, they want their place to look nice and take care of their property.”
Folks at city hall are familiar with the issue, but there is a process they need to follow. First they need to send a letter to the owners.
“If the owner doesn’t sign, it takes seven to 10 to even 14 days to receive back to our office,” Cooper said.
The city tries to send out these letters as soon as they receive a complaint. In O’Kelley’s case, a contracted worker was out mowing the lawn by the end of the day. The property owner will be sent the bill.