Hopewell may step up rules for cars, grass
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Apr 19, 2013, 13:57
HOPEWELL — City residents could soon have to comply with new ordinances meant to help keep the city clean.
The ordinances are currently being drafted and are scheduled to be voted on by City Council at the upcoming meeting on Tuesday night.
At the City Council meeting on April 9, March Altman, assistant city manager for development, presented possible changes that can be made to the city code. Altman said he spent time researching existing city code to make sure it was consistent with state code and then looked at the changes that could be made by council.
The first change would be to city code 25-54, or state code 15.2-904. Currently the city code states that residents can have an inoperable vehicle parked outside as long as it has a car cover. Council made the change to eliminate the car cover provision.
The change would be that residents can now own an unlimited number of inoperable vehicles, however they have to be stored in a fully enclosed building or structure and they have to be screened from view.
As defined in the state code, shielded from view is defined as “means by not visible by someone standing at ground level from outside of the property on which the subject vehicle is located.”
Council also made the decision to move forward and pursue an amendment to the state code 15.2-905, which will allow the city, if approved, to limit the number of inoperable vehicles on a property, without having the car cover provision. Currently, if council were to limit the number of inoperable vehicles, they would have to allow residents to utilize a car cover.
If found in violation of the new ordinance, residents would only have seven days to comply versus the current 10 days. If a resident is found with three civil penalties in a 24-month time period, it will now be considered a class 3 misdemeanor.
The other change to city ordinances would be to city code 18.1, which regulates unlawful accumulations or growth. Right now, residents are not considered in violation until their grass is 12 inches or higher. Council made the change to lower the height of the grass to 10 inches.
Not only did council reduce the height of the grass but also the time to comply if found in violation.
If a resident is served with a tall grass violation, they have 10 days to cut their grass and be in compliance. Council changed the time to comply to five days. Just as with the violation of inoperable vehicles, if a resident is found with three civil penalties in a 24-month period, it is now a class 3 misdemeanor.
Altman said he is not just researching and drafting changes to city codes, he is also looking to other organizations in the city to begin changing the appearance of the city.
“We are looking at programs that can assist with neighborhood improvement enhancements,” Altman said.
Right now, Altman said Keep Hopewell Beautiful is wanting to working with neighborhood watch groups to organize cleanups around the city.
The drafts of the changes to city code is scheduled to be presented and voted on at the council meeting on Tuesday night.
Today begins “Spring Clean Up Week” in the city. Hours of operation during “Spring Clean-Up” Week at the Citizen Convenience Center are from Monday to Friday 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Citizen Convenience Center is located at 507 Station Street. During Clean Up week, Hopewell residents may dispose of trash and yard waste at no charge at the Citizen Convenience Center. The normal $10.25 fee for the removal of CFC/HCFC gases from air conditioners, refrigerators and dehumidifiers will remain in effect.