Landscape maintenance ordinances call for yards to be neatly tended, though not necessarily lush.
Joan Hacker thought she was being a good neighbor.
When the construction industry ground to a halt, so did her work doing energy calculations for new homes. So she ended up cutting back on her yard watering to save money.
But then, Cathedral City's code compliance department cited her almost a year ago for lack of yard maintenance.
“I spent four hours in the sun in August cleaning up dead branches, leaves and other debris,” she says. But underneath it all was dirt, weeds and withered grass.
“I was very proud of myself, but the guy said ‘Oh, this is not green enough,'” Hacker says.
She and other Coachella Valley residents who are trying to save money are occasionally coming up against so-called landscape maintenance ordinances, which hold homeowners to a standard that calls for yards to be neatly tended, though not necessarily lush.
Cathedral City currently has 751 open cases involving violations of the landscaping ordinance, Fire Chief Bill Soqui said.
Hacker said she talked to her neighbors when she stopped watering her lawn, explaining the situation. She said they were sympathetic and didn't raise any objections.
The code enforcement division also was understanding, to a point, she said. She was not assessed the $100 fine last year.
But the code compliance officer returned in May, and it looked like she wouldn't be so lucky the second time around.
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