Summer rain means weeds growing problem

CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson A house located at 600 Maple, which neighbors said has long been vacant, is overrun with weeds in the front yard.

Kevin Wilson

Melissa Newman, or anybody else in Clovis, might take a day off from weed pulling. The weeds, thanks to a summer full of rain, aren’t taking any breaks from growing.

“We have a severe weed problem in our yard,” said Newman, who lives with her son on 21st Street. “We don’t go more than a day without pulling weeds in our garden. They grow two inches a day.”

The summer has seen so much rain that 14th Street has more than once been closed near Dennis Chavez Park due to overflow from the lake. That kind of rain is good for farmers and possibly umbrella makers, but it’s also optimal for weeds to grow well beyond what the city’s ordinances allow.

According to city code, it is unlawful for anybody supervising or controlling a piece of land within the city, “to suffer or permit grass, weeds or any plant that is not cultivated to grow to a greater height than 12 inches on the individual lot, tract or parcel or to grow in profusion upon the premises or otherwise, in, along, upon or across the adjacent sidewalk, street or alley to a height greater than 12 inches.”

Marcus Brice, the city’s chief code compliance officer, acknowledged the problem is growing well beyond his staff’s capabilities.

“They’re generally our biggest problem every year, but this year is outstandingly difficult,” said Brice, who spends half of his day taking phone calls about problem areas. “Right now, we’ve got a log where we enter complaints. We address them in the order we receive them.

“We’re approximately 100 to 150 behind. I think there are a couple from the end of June we haven’t got to yet.”

In addition to being an eyesore, Brice said, weeds also give mosquitos a hiding place when the city does spraying.

Brice said once a complaint is received, the department — which includes three code officers and Brice —