SOLANA BEACH — The city will soon be allowed to declare overgrown vegetation a public nuisance and remove it if property owners fail to do so.
The current municipal code provides minimum standards for property maintenance and procedures for the city to remove certain public nuisances, including accumulated junk and inoperative vehicles.
At the April 27 meeting, council members adopted the first reading of an ordinance that adds to that list dangerous, noxious, overgrown vegetation such as weeds, shrubs, dead or dying trees or dry grasses that can pose a fire hazard.
According to state law, overgrown weeds and other flammable material can be considered fire hazards that endanger public safety.
“Typically we don’t like to use the word weeds,” Fire Marshal Robert Scott said. “It’s very generic, but the code provides a definition for the word ‘weed’ and provides direction for notifying property owners to clear weeds and other vegetation that present a hazard.”
Cities have the authority to enact ordinances to have these hazards removed and recover any costs associated with forced abatement.
The new law will not apply to ornamental grasses and shrubs, pasture or other cultivated or useful plant material. The city will use the same methods for removal as it does for other rubbish abatement. Property owners will receive warnings before any action is taken.
The ordinance will take effect 30 days after its final adoption at a future council meeting.