The Sedalia City Council on Monday night approved 13 revisions to property maintenance codes and processes, as requested by the Community Development Committee.

According to Committee Chairman Andrew Dawson, the changes were necessary to streamline the process, while also adding clarity and removing variability.

As it relates to City Code, Council approved an amendment to Section 10 (property maintenance), and Section 11 (Dangerous Buildings and Conditions) of Chapter 10 (Buildings and Regulations).

Previously, yard growth was required to be eight inches or less. Those property owners in violation would be notified and cited. The City would schedule an abatement and get the property mowed. A ten-day notice is required each time it is mowed.

The new revision specifies that yard growth can be no higher than six inches. The abatement process has been reduced from 15 to 10 days (in accordance with state statutes).

At that point (after notification) the owner previously had 15 days to mow the grass. The code enforcement officer would check on the property to see if it was mowed, and if not, Public Works would be notified to add the address to its list of properties to mow.

“The way we were going, if everything went ideally, you're looking at a month and a half,” Councilman Dawson noted, “ and the grass is growing the entire time.”

“So the City comes in with equipment and it's difficult to mow, and you've got stuff in there you can't see, and you're hitting it with equipment, tearing up the equipment,” Dawson told KSIS.

“So now the process starts at six inches (of growth) … and you've still got a reasonable amount of time to get in there and mow it,” he said of the 10-day process.

Normally if the City mows the property, the property owner receives an invoice for the cost of the mowing. Dawson said that a new idea includes a special tax assessment that would get attached to the annual property tax bill.

“That way, we've got a better way to recover those costs,” Dawson said.

The vote Monday night was seven yes, and one absent (Councilwoman Tina Boggess).

Randy Kirby