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Ask Mr. Answer Person: "Does Decorah have a "lawn-mowing ordinance"?

Posted: Fri, Aug 3, 2012 8:17 AM

Denise e-mails Mr. Answer Person: "Does Decorah have a "lawn-mowing ordinance"?   If so, why are the empty lots on the south side of East Broadway allowed to be overgrown with weeds?  The new stone wall with nice railing was a great improvement.  Shouldn't the owner be required to mow it just like everyone else?  It certainly doesn't help the neighborhood image."

Mr. Answer Person replies: Decorah does not have a "lawn mowing ordinance" as such.  It does have a "public nuisance" ordinance, however, which covers, "Any weeds declared to be noxious, as defined in the Code of Iowa, found growing in any lot or tract of land within the city. All weeds, vines, brush or other vegetation which constitutes a health, safety or fire hazard. Any weeds or plants other than trees, bushes, flowers or other ornamental plants which exceed twelve inches in height, and/or any grass exceeding eight inches in height located on any lot improved by a dwelling, residential or other structure or on a lot that is bounded on at least two sides by an improved lot."

But have you considered contacting the property owner and resolving your issue without resorting to contacting city officials or even attorneys?  You can learn who owns a particular property in Winneshiek County by visiting the County Assessor's website (check the "Links" section of  Get their name and give them a call--you might be surprised how reasonable they are!

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