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Can A City Charge Homeowner For Mowing The Grass?

Creative Commons

A homeowner in Howell has to pay the city for cutting the grass in the public right of way in front of his house. That’s the decision  Wednesday from a federal appeals court. 

Lawn-mowing in Howell became a federal case after the city pulled a tree from the strip between the sidewalk and the curb and replaced it with saplings without the homeowner’s approval. The homeowner said, fine, then you cut the grass. After it grew over eight inches in violation of a city ordinance, neighbors complained and citations were issued. The city paid a lawn company to cut the grass and tried to bill the homeowner. The US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the fees. The court said the city and the homeowner share ownership of the grass strip, and the ordinance is not unreasonable. 

Rick Pluta is the managing editor for the Michigan Public Radio Network.