Weeds grow problem in Elburn

By on September 4, 2009

Village Development Committee recommends more enforcement
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—With property foreclosures rising and home construction declining, many lots in Elburn have been left vacant, untended and taken over by weeds, village officials said.

“We’re noticing more and more complaints about weeds,” Assistant Village Administrator David Morrison said during the Aug. 24 Development Committee meeting.

The village has been lenient about enforcing its weed ordinance in the past. Since the problem has gotten worse, particularly in Blackberry Creek, Elburn officials are considering boosting enforcement.

“I think we are going to have to step in … vacant lots look like nobody owns them,” said committee member Gordon Dierschow, a village trustee.

Committee member Jeff Metcalf, a Planning Commissioner, also wants the village to start enforcing its weed ordinance, since the problem could worsen in Blackberry Creek as property foreclosures continue there, which he expects.

Without enforcement, the spread of weeds could destroy the environment, committee member Jeff Walter, a trustee, said.

“We’ve got to do something,” Walter said.

The village ordinance prohibits grass and weeds that are a foot high or more. It allows police to notify violators that they must cut the grass or weeds within 10 days. If the violator does not comply, the village may mow the property and charge its owner for the cost. If the violator does not pay the bill within 60 days, the village may place a lien on the property.

“Eventually, a lot, hopefully, would sell and you can collect the lien,” Morrison said.

Walter said that although the village is reluctant to file a lien, it must hold property owners responsible.

“It’s a burden to other homeowners because some property owners choose to ignore village ordinances,” Walter said.

Another measure the village could utilize is to take the owners of neglected properties to court for violating village ordinances and recover village mowing expenses, Morrison said.

“You need to be able to recoup the costs,” he said.

The Village Board will discuss the proposal to boost ordinance enforcement at a future meeting.