Officers posting notices in crackdown on weeds, debris

By Tonya Garner: CNJ staff writer

The yellow and blue yard signs seen around town recently are not advertising real estate or garage sales. They are part of the city’s effort to beautify Clovis by strictly enforcing codes related to weeds and debris.

According to city officials, the “code crackdown” began on Nov. 1.

The code the city is cracking down on states weeds must be kept below 12 inches and alleyways must be kept clear of debris. City Inspector Pete Wilt said the city started the clean-up effort because property owners were not complying in a “timely manner.”

Compliance officers started posting noncompliance signs in offender’s yards this month. “We’ve posted between 50 and 75 noncompliance signs so far,” Wilt said. “We ran out of the original blue signs we were using, so we had to go to yellow.”

Residents receiving notices have five days to bring their property “up to code,” Wilt said. Failure to comply will result in the city hiring a weed-control service to mow the property. Wilt said bid sheets have already been picked up by companies interested in mowing the weeds on noncompliant properties. The bids will close at 2 p.m. on Dec. 5.

Noncompliant homeowners will be responsible for paying all applicable service fees along with a $100 administrative fee. The city inspector said a lien will be placed against the property for failure to pay, but the city is willing to work out payment plans.

Len Vohs, Clovis Pride Committee chairman, said he fully supports the city’s “code crackdown” because we live in a land of laws. He stressed everyone not just a few should be held responsible for not complying to mandated codes.

Vohs said he believes the city should follow its own codes as well. “The parks and city-owned properties should be inspected by the same people currently inspecting residential properties,” Vohs said. “They should have to pay for noncompliance too.”

Vohs added weeds are not only unsightly, but are a nuisance for individuals with breathing problems, including asthma. “These codes are a pretty good thing,” he said. “Everyone should be considerate of their neighbors.”

According to Wilt, the system is still in the beginning stages so it is too soon to judge its effectiveness. The inspector said he met with compliance officers on Monday morning and they reported the system is “going good so far.” The officers plan to continue their efforts, and said they expect to start seeing results after the first of the year. “I think after the holidays are over, we will really start seeing some changes,” Wilt said.

Vohs said he believes Clovis will be a better place to live once people start taking pride in their personal property. “Clovis has a lot of pride when it comes to the high school band and the Wildcat football team,” Vohs said. “Until we start taking that same pride in our personal property then we aren’t going to be as progressive as other communities.”