We've all seen the occasional property that's let its landscaping go to the point where tall weeds and overgrown bushes seem to be the only features on the lot. It makes the property very unattractive, unsightly, and also a potential fire hazard during the dry summer months. To reduce this risk, lawns should be kept mowed and all yard waste such as dry grass, cut tree limbs and brush should be properly disposed of.
A well-maintained yard is also an effective crime prevention tool. Lawns that are not being cared for give criminals the impression that the property is unattended and might be an easy target. Did you know that the City of Concord has municipal codes that pertain to weeds, overgrown lawns, trees, shrubs and hedges? These ordinances are in place to increase the livability, safety, desirability and appearance of all of our neighborhoods. Let's take a few minutes to answer some of the most commonly asked questions relating to overgrown vegetation.
Q. My neighbor doesn't mow his lawn regularly so it becomes long and turns into unsightly weeds. What can I do about it?
The City of Concord has declared tall grass and overgrown weeds a public nuisance and enforces the removal of such plant materials that are higher than eight (8) inches. It is the duty of property owners to properly maintain their property and to cut and remove the material to prevent the accumulation of such nuisances. In addition to any civil and criminal remedies available for violations, overgrown weeds and shrubs may be abated according to provisions stated in the City's weed ordinance. If you have concerns about a neighboring property, contact the City's 24-hour Neighborhood Services hotline at (925) 671-3282 or our main line at (925) 671-3075, Monday through Friday, 8 to 5. We'll send an inspector out within two business days. If conditions represent a violation of Concord's Municipal Code, we'll work with the property owner to bring the property into compliance.
Q. What about piles of cut brush and tree limbs?
The accumulation of cut brush and tree limbs are also deemed detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of inhabitants of the City of Concord and are declared to be a nuisance. If there's a property in your neighborhood where brush and tree limbs have been accumulating over a period of time, please contact Neighborhood Services at (925) 671-3075 for follow up.
Q. My neighbor has shrubs that block the sidewalk and trees that hang over the street. Every time I take a walk, I have to step off the sidewalk and into the street. Can something be done about that?
Yes. If such foliage obstructs the view or access of any public right-of-way, such as a sidewalk or street, the foliage needs to be trimmed or removed to provide adequate visibility. Trees need to be trimmed so they provide an 8-foot clearance over the sidewalk and 12 feet of clearance over a public street. You can contact the Neighborhood Services Division for assistance.
Q. My neighbor's tree drops leaves and branches into my backyard. The tree is so big that it is pushing the fence over and breaking it. What should I do?
The City does not have legal authority over the condition of trees, shrubs or other foliage on private residential rear or side yards, unless they encroach on a public right-of-way or are diseased or dying. If the issue is one between two private residences, then these issues are considered a civil matter rather than a public nuisance. We suggest you talk to your neighbor about your concerns. You can find helpful tips on resolving neighborhood disputes on the City's web site at www.cityofconcord.org. If that doesn't work, you might want to contact Alternative Dispute Resolution at (925) 646-2127.
Q. I heard that the City requires property owners to keep vegetation such as bushes, hedges and shrubs cut down to a certain height along the front yard. Is that true?
That is true. Any shrubbery and vegetation located within 10 feet of a driveway and sidewalk need to be trimmed to a height of no more than 3 feet. This helps ensure proper sight distance to pedestrian and vehicular traffic and keeps everyone safe.