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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
540-483-5113
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Eyesores are indeed distracting, dangerous

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Town of Rocky Mount is cracking down on weeds, changing the weed and trash ordinances to redefine how tall grass can grow before it must be cut. That height has been 14 inches, but is being changed to 10 inches. Not only that, the fine for not complying can be up to $500, and the property owner will only have seven days, not 14, to act when a violation is noted.

These changes were prompted by complaints, of course, as residents do not like eyesores, and weeds are not only unsightly, they can be a haven for snakes and varmints. No one wants to live by, or even see, property where the grass and weeds are out of control.

Some may complain that property owners' rights are being trampled with the stricter rules, but that doesn't really apply here. An isolated property in a rural area is quite different than one in town, where how a property is maintained can have a more direct effect on many people. Others say ordinances in town may not go far enough, that eyesores of any kind should not be tolerated.

The town has done a good job addressing these issues, as neglected property and structures have come under more scrutiny, and owners of these properties are being challenged more often. Property must be maintained to at least a minimally acceptable level, and that specific level is being redefined by town council.

Many county residents would like to see tougher restrictions on maintaining property outside town limits. Abandoned, dilapidated or burned-out structures garner a lot of attention, the unwanted kind. But little can now be done to force property owners to take action.

This is an issue that surfaces occasionally for the board of supervisors and it's one that probably should be explored further. We have certainly heard many complaints about various properties in the county that are considered eyesores.

There is no question that the county would be more attractive if all property owners were held to a higher level of responsibility for their land and structures. But any zoning ordinances have met with resistance in parts of the county.

However, dilapidated structures are not only eyesores, they can be dangerous for anyone who happens to enter them. The board of supervisors may at the very least want to discuss this issue and hear from constituents.

 
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