Code violations increase during summer, Brentwood officials find
The warm summer weather brings out the residents for neighborhood barbecues, baseball games in the park and walks with their dogs along Brownsville Road.
It also triggers a rise in code enforcement issues and notices sent to Brentwood residents for violations of the borough code and property maintenance rules.
“The grass is growing. People are doing home improvements. Animals are outside much more often,” Councilwoman Stephanie Fox, chair of the borough's zoning and ordinance committee, said of the increase in code enforcement violations by residents in the summer.
Brentwood code officers issued 672 notices of code or property maintenance violations, or first-time notices to residents since January. Of that, 116 were in June, borough Manager George Zboyovsky said. Sixty-six of the first violation letters sent in June were for overgrown grass, weeds or hedges in the 1.5 square-mile borough, Zboyovsky said.
In 2013, about 1,500 violation letters were sent to residents, code enforcement officer Ralph Costa said.
If a resident does not comply, they can be cited by the district magistrate and issued a fine, typically between $300 and $500, with the maximum penalty for most violations for code and property maintenance set at $1,000, assistant code officer Eric Peccon said. If the resident does not pay that fee, a hearing will be scheduled before the magistrate, Zboyovsky said.
Code violation notices tend to increase in the summer.
“Grass and weeds are generally the number one item we're seeing in the summer,” Costa said.
In Brentwood, grass must be no more than 8 inches tall.
“All portions of the yards must be cut,” Fox said. “The hedges must not be allowed to encroach on the sidewalks or streets. The landlords are ultimately responsible for brush at rental properties.”
Overgrown grass and shrubbery isn't just a problem in the front yard, Peccon said. If there are weeds growing over walls or the grass is taller than 8-inches in the cracks in the pavement, that too is a violation.
Fox has seen grass as tall as three feet growing in the borough.
“It was disgusting,” she said.
Borough code officers walk or drive the streets to ensure there are no violations in the area and residents report concerns — which are always checked out by the code office, Peccon said.
For vacant properties, Brentwood will send a notice of a violation that the grass and shrubs are overgrown, Zboyovsky said. If there's no response, the borough will cut the grass and seek payment.
“It's not going to be instantaneous,” Costa said. The process of sending violation letters and waiting for a response takes time, he said.
Residents, too, have a right to cut their neighbor's shrubs and trees that encroach on their property — “straight up the line,” Zboyovsky said.
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pleasant Hills officials adopt farm animal ban
- Third party might review Brentwood police work
- Brentwood, Baldwin police consolidation talks to continue
- Magistrate to address truancy at West Jefferson schools
- Pleasant Hills students and teachers participate in ALS Ice Bucket Challenge