ROCKLAND — The City Council will consider an ordinance that would allow the city to remove vegetation that encroaches on public streets or sidewalks and then require the private property owner to pay for the work.

There are instances across the city where hedges, shrubs and other vegetation significantly extend into sidewalks.

City Councilor Nate Davis said he received one complaint, but that complaint led him to realize the city does not have a mechanism available to recoup the costs of removing vegetation that should be the private property owners’ responsibility.

The property owner would be notified first before the city does the work and given an opportunity to cut the vegetation.

The ordinance states “Whenever the City Manager or their designee determines that any vegetation encroaches upon the limits of any street or sidewalk in a manner that obstructs the street or sidewalk or obstructs vehicular or pedestrian views, they shall issue a notice to the owner of the property on which the vegetation is located that such vegetation be removed within a reasonable time as specified by the City. If the owner fails to comply voluntarily with the City’s request, the City may remove the vegetation and the owner shall be responsible for all costs incurred by the City for said removal of vegetation.”

The City Council will consider a preliminary vote on the proposal at its Monday, Sept. 12 meeting.

The sidewalk in front of the Maine State Ferry Terminal on Main Street in Rockland. Photo by Stephen Betts