Former Tim Horton site among properties in violation

Tall grass complaints blossom in Rockland

By Stephen Betts | Jul 13, 2017
Photo by: Stephen Betts The former Tim Horton's restaurant at 168 Camden St. in Rockland has grass and weeds that exceed the property code that the city uses.

Rockland — Complaints about tall grass, junk piling up in residential neighborhoods and other property code issues have poured into the city early this summer.

The most recent monthly report from the Rockland Code Enforcement Office listed 19 property maintenance complaints filed with the city during June.

Some of those involved tall grass.

The international property maintenance code adopted by the city restricts grass to no more than 10 inches tall.

Assistant Code Enforcement Officer William Butler said there are multiple reasons to keep grass cut. Shorter grass reduces the prevalence of ticks, bugs and rodents but also reduces the risk of fire.

Most of the complaints received by the city come from neighbors, he said. Other times, the code staff will notice the violations and file the complaints. In other instances, people who have been the subject of earlier complaints will point out people who they suspect of also being in violation.

Most people cooperate with the city once they are notified, Butler said.

The difficulty comes when the owner of the property cannot be reached.

That was the instance in two current cases -- a vacant mobile home on South Main Street and the former Tim Horton site on Camden Street. The grass at the mobile home was mowed over the past weekend.

The former Tim Horton restaurant is located at 168 Camden St. The property is owned by Tim Donut U.S. Limited Inc.

Code Enforcement Officer John Root said the city has had no success in getting the company to cut the grass because it can't even get the company to respond to calls. Root said the real estate agent is even unable to reach the company when there have potential buyers interested in the commercial property.

The city ordinance calls for a fine of up to $100 per day if the city goes to court and the court determines the property owner is in violation.

Root said, however, the route he will propose is for the city council to declare the property abandoned and then the city can mow the properties and bill the owner. If the bill is not paid in 30 days, the city can levy a tax on the property owner. If that tax is not paid, a lien would eventually be filed so the city could recover its expenses when the property is sold.

A total of 13 property maintenance violations were filed during June which also included excessive junk, unsanitary living conditions, property in disrepair, and excess vehicles and machinery. Three of them were regarding un-permitted signs. Two of them were regarding un-permitted work having been done.

Comments (10)
Posted by: David E Myslabodski | Jul 18, 2017 22:11

Hi there J M L & N R,


Are you questioning Rockland's council priorities?


Their highest priority seems to be a new $90,000.00 toilet for the tourists walking the breakwater . . .

For that price I hope it will be some sort of Japanese toilet that will wash and wipe with warm perfumed water . . .


Posted by: Nina Reed | Jul 17, 2017 11:53

Jeannette, these things will never be a priority.  For decades now, Rockland has only cared about the interests of the tourists and the wealthy citizens in Rockland. I do not begrudge anyone having a good experience here, however I feel that if you are are going to try to improve a city, it needs to be for all people who live in it, not just a few. ~Melanie Keene

Posted by: Jeanette Marie Lombardo | Jul 16, 2017 16:07

hmmmmm........lets see.....I would think and hope that Rockland residents would be a little more concerned about other issues in Rockland, like how bad the roads are, homeless people, high property taxes, exempt organizations that do not pay taxes, just to name a few things that would take priority over tall grass......


Posted by: Valerie Wass | Jul 16, 2017 09:58

I really have to agree with the Code Enforcement Office on this one.  10" is quite tall.  I would put myself in a neighbor's shoes who "Squealed on a neighbor" and I really would not like my neighor's yard having overgrown grass.  It does invite ticks, which is quite a thing now a days what with the new virus that they carry.  Of course, if  the neighbors are concerned about that, they can get in touch with me and I will "Rent" out my chickens hourly to eat the darn things.   LOL


Posted by: Dale Hayward | Jul 14, 2017 10:01

There is enough embarrassment coming out of city hall to satisfy your concerns without neighbors squealing on each other, and encouraged to do so. Help your neighbor by asking them if you can cut their grass. Did you notice the beautiful flowers growing at TH, very nice display, and very harmless. Maybe code enforcement can come up with an ordinance to prohibit, ticks, fleas, bugs, spiders, ant, and the like from infiltrating our city so that we can become a sterile community. Nothing else to do, I suppose.

Posted by: Nina Reed | Jul 13, 2017 11:37

This is the most ridiculous thing I have read all year. Like, seriously ridiculous. No offense to the author, it is the content and source that is just asinine. ~Melanie Keene

Posted by: Dale Hayward | Jul 13, 2017 10:48

Why not squeal on your neighbors and make the code enforcement job easy. They also use city employees to go around sticking their noses in where they don't belong. Tear down the Tim Horton or sell it for past taxes or sewer bills, or something I am sure they can come up with. Mow the grass and charge it to their tax bill, 10 fold. Everybody wants everybody to conform to their standards. Even the city council wants to dictate who we like and who we dislike, who we can tolerate, and who we can not tolerate. A warm and fuzzy world, not.

Posted by: Nina Reed | Jul 13, 2017 08:31

another way tto deflect from important issues facing tax payers. i  will run out and measure my grass.  patricia williams

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Jul 13, 2017 08:05

Image result for tall grass complaintsWHOOPS. Was going to wait for a good rain so it wouldn't turn brown. Maybe not. :)

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Jul 13, 2017 08:05

Why not list the addresses and owner names? Maybe it will embarrass them enough to care, but somehow I doubt it.

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