Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) – For many months, Calcasieu Parish officials backed off enforcing ordinances dealing with cleaning up junk and cutting grass since almost everyone was overwhelmed with hurricane cleanup.
Now, the parish is beginning to notify people they must bring their property up to code.
When it comes to forcing people to clean up property, it’s a process that starts with a letter. If your grass is too high and there’s enough junk in your yard, you may be violating parish ordinances.
Over the last few weeks, Calcasieu police jurors listed dozens of legal ads in the newspaper, to help notify those whose property violates parish code due to tall grass or too much junk. They have more than 500 open cases.
Calcasieu Code Enforcement Supervisor Dana Watkins says those listed in the paper should already have received a certified letter.
Watkins says ignoring the notices could cost property owners more than if they do it themselves.
“Typically, a grass cutting will be anywhere from about $110 to $220. So, that’s a typical grass cutting,” Watkins said. “If we have to file a lien, that’s an additional $105 on top of that amount.”
And Watkins says junk costs even more.
“You might have some cases where they’re about $800. Then you’ll have some that are in excess of $1,500, $2,500 – depending on the amount we’re dealing with,” Watkins said.
The longer you ignore notices, the more it’s likely to cost you. And if you ignore it indefinitely, a lien will be eventually placed against your property, but Watkins says they try to work with people.
“If we can see progress of things being cleaned up on your own, we’re more than willing to do that,” Watkins said.
Eventually, the same type of enforcement will start for unsafe structures outside the cities – but not yet.
Again, if you’re struggling with financial issues or can’t find a contractor, the parish will work with you.
And under certain circumstances, you may be eligible for help.
Written by Theresa Schmidt