Vacant Lot Maintenance Program
- Q – Why am I receiving a Courtesy Letter?
A – You are receiving a letter because the City has received a complaint for vegetation overgrowth on a vacant property. A courtesy letter may be sent to vacant lot owner to allow them addition time to bring the property into compliance prior to a Special Magistrate hearing being scheduled. Additionally a copy is sent to the complainant to inform them of the City’s actions to obtain voluntary compliance.
- Q - What do I need to do to come into compliance?
A – Please trim your overgrowth back per the City Code of Ordinance Sec 43.04(a);
(a) Any condition of the following to remain or continue by act or omission shall constitute a public nuisance:
(1) It shall be unlawful for owners of unimproved real property located within the City whose property line adjoins or abuts improved real property to permit weeds, grass, vines, Brazilian pepper trees and other invasive species, undergrowth or other vegetative matter to grow thereon to a height of more than twenty-four (24") inches within ten (10') feet of the side and rear lot lines, provided the lot line is within thirty feet (30') of a permitted residential dwelling unit or principal commercial structure.
(2) If a tree, as defined in Chapter 153 of the City's Code of Ordinances, has branches which have grown within four feet (4') of a permitted residential dwelling unit or principal commercial structure, the owner of the unimproved real property is required to trim the tree branch back to the property line to prevent further encroachment. Nothing in this Section shall be in conflict with the provisions of Chapter 153 of the City's Code of Ordinances.
- Q - How much time do I have to come into compliance before I could be fined?
A - The courtesy letter was a notification of the complaint which should allow ample time to comply the violations. Once the Code Compliance Division formally addresses this compliant, you will received a certified letter for a Notice of Hearing for the case to be seen by the Special Magistrate. This gives you typically 30-45 days to comply the violations. Please keep in contact with the Code Specialist that is assigned to the case.
- Q – What do I do with the tree debris that is cut back from my neighbor’s property line?
A – Since unimproved (vacant) lots do not pay for waste removal, you will need to contract with a waste removal company and have the debris hauled away.
- Q- What happens if I leave trimmings/debris at curbside?
A - All trimmings and debris must be hauled away. Unimproved lots are not assessed for solid waste services. Placing yard waste in vacant lots is considered illegal dumping and against city ordinance. Code Compliance will investigate to determine if illegal dumping has occurred. If illegal dumping is evident, the property owner will be notified and asked to come into compliance. If the property owner fails to cooperate, the city will follow standard Code Compliance procedures such as issuing a citation and/or placing a lien on the property.
- Q – Can I place or leave the cut branches and debris on my lot?
A – No, this is a violation of City Code and could result in a fine.
- Q – I am from out of state, where can I obtain a list of companies that can help me?
A – The best option would be to search the internet for a local licensed landscaper, arborist, or tree trimming company. The City cannot recommend or provide listings for services.
- Q – What happens if I don’t take any action?
A – The case will be referred to our field staff and will be brought to a hearing in front of a Special Magistrate. If found in violation the City could be given authority to abate (fix) the violation and pass the associated fees onto the property owner as an assessment on the property.
- Q – What do I do after I correct the violations?
A - Once the overgrowth is cut back from the neighboring developed property, please notify Jackie Basile at VacantLot@cityofpsl.com The Code Division will then send out a Code Specialist to re-inspect the property and advise us of their findings. If in compliance the complaint will be closed out.
- Q – Once complied, could I be found in violation again?
A - Yes, a property can be found in violation every 12 months. Annual maintenance is required.