City Inspectors Are Busy With Grass Complaints

Friday, June 16th 2006, 3:59 pm
By: News On 6

Every rainy spell leads to a flood of calls to "neighborhood inspections" at Tulsa City Hall. It's the city department that polices high grass and trashy yards. Not just eyesores, but dangers too.

News on Six Reporter Emory Bryan explains how it's all driven by calls from neighbors.

It's a typical complaint for city neighborhood inspections. This run down house has piles of trash in back. Vernon Lane drives by every day.

Vernon Lane, Neighbor: "Oh it's terrible, an eyesore that runs the whole neighborhood down, you could probably find rats and all sorts of things."

The grass was waist high, but it's been cut. That's the only effort apparent at the otherwise abandoned property.

Tim Cartner, Tulsa Neighborhood Inspections: "There are mounds of trash in the backyard, and on the backside of the house there's an open crawlspace."

Homes that have holes in them can't be secured and violate city ordinances. Dangerous places take top priority with the city, which takes tips from the public about where to look. The Mayor's Action Center takes those calls, which drive almost all of the work for neighborhood inspections. Inspectors follow up on violations and start a timeline that forces action either by the homeowner or the city.

High grass is the most common complaint and summer is naturally the busiest season, though calls come in every season - 40 thousand of them each year.

Vernon Lane is happy to see something happening in his neighborhood. He's got a few others he'd like to turn in.

Vernon Lane, Neighbor: "You shouldn't have it if you can't take care of it, sell and move to an apartment."

This yard is going to be picked up by the city and the mortgage company will get the bill. And it all started with a call from the neighborhood who wanted to see it cleaned up.
Emory Bryan, The News on 6.