CLEVELAND - Cleveland council members and residents report a spike in the number of homes and vacant lots that are filled with overgrown grass and weeds.
Cleveland Councilman Kevin Conwell said he found more than 50 homes, in just two hours, that are in violation of the city's high grass ordinance and are a potential safety and health hazard.
Conwell said homeowners found with grass over 8 inches could be faced with a ticket and $95 fine for a first offense.
"We're dealing with open fields, as well as side lots and abandoned houses," said Conwell. "So it's a huge issue."
"If it looks unkempt, crime will end up creeping into your neighborhood," Conwell said.
Cleveland Councilman Tony Brancatelli said high grass issues are also a problem in his ward. Brancatelli said if a homeowner ignores a violation or a fine, the city could step in and cut the grass and send the property owner the bill.
"That means you're going to pay $400 for us to come by and clean your lot," said Brancatelli. "And that's expensive when you could have paid a neighbor $25 to come by and keep it clean."
David Imbordino said he's tired of dealing with two homes in his East 72nd Street neighborhood, which are filled with high grass and weeds. Imbordino said he's contacted the city about cutting the lawn and issuing a citation, but he's said there's been no response.
"It's pretty bad, a lot of bad animals out there," said Imbordino. "Big ones, like raccoons.
"The city hasn't cut these two lot in at least a couple years, I never see them."
Conwell said he's going to take a list of homes that are in violation and submit them to the city department of building and housing this week.
Conwell said it's critical residents report high grass hazards to the city as soon as possible and be persistent if they don't get a quick response.
"If they haven't followed through, you call them again," said Conwell. "Make sure you keep that complaint number, and please, please request the person's name that is taking your complaint on anything."