New Bedford Can Fine You If Your Lawn Exceeds This Height
The problem of unkempt vegetation on personal property in New Bedford was apparently so out of control that in 2003 the city council approved an ordinance requiring residents to keep things tidy, or pay the piper.
Sec. 22-18. of the New Bedford Code of Ordinances "Removal of grass, bushes, weeds, etc.," enacted on July 21, 2003, established fines for property owners who do not meet the city's guidelines for proper yard grooming.
The law gives the city the authority to cite a property owner whose grass, bushes, weeds, or other plant growth, except city-approved trees, are "directly above" sidewalks and streets abutting their property "at the point where the sidewalk or curb meets the street, except grass itself, within seventy-two (72) hours of being given written notice of same by either a building inspector, fire prevention inspector, health inspector, police officer, traffic meter person, forestry division head or public infrastructure department commissioner or his or her designated representative."
The rules also require property owners to keep their lawns trimmed to no more than three inches in height or face a potential fine.
Failure to comply with a notice that your lawn is too tall or that your yard is simply a hot mess could net you a $20 fine "with an additional fine of five dollars ($5.00) for each week" after an initial 72-hour grace period has expired.
For the record, the City of New Bedford "shall be responsible for municipal properties, for those being taken for nonpayment of municipal assessments and for those for which no owner can be located."