Ordinance targets homeowners with unmowed lawns

The Coventry Town Council has passed an ordinance in hopes of battling eyesores in town. It would force homeowners to mow their lawns or pay a fine.

Town Manager Thomas Hoover said he's gotten about 100 complaints about unkempt yards. He said he hopes the ordinance will stem the problem.

Resident Fred Schiavone said he's seen homes in Coventry that aren't kept up.

"Every day, you'll see a house in the neighborhood or town," Schiavone said. "You got to take pride in your property."

The welcome sign says "Coventry Grows on You," but the town is sick of grass and weeds growing too high. On Monday, the Town Council passed an ordinance banning grass and weeds higher than a foot.

The town will issue a warning to homeowners who violate the rule. If not mowed in 10 days, the town will do it and charge about $30 an hour for labor. Non-payment can result in a lien of up to $500.

The rule applies to all property unless it's zoned for agricultural use.

Schiavone said he likes the idea, within reason.

"I think it's a good idea if the neighborhood is like that," he said. "But the town shouldn't be able to tell you to cut your grass if you're unable to. Someone should cut it for you."

There is an exemption for the sick and the elderly.

Councilman Gregory Laboissonniere said the law isn't clear enough. He voted against the ordinance and hopes it is tweaked.

"My main opposition is again, it's still ambiguous," Laboissonniere said. "Do I want to see people's yards kept? Yes."

He's also upset that the ordinance adds a new town position. The councilman said that position will cost about $50,000 per year.