New Bedford Sidewalk Grass Rules and How It Affects Homeowners
It's been just about a year since I moved to the West End of New Bedford and periodically, when the grass on the front sidewalk gets too tall, I'll trim it down neatly.
For the longest time, I've wondered if it was my responsibility to maintain the small patch. I know for a fact that when it snows, I have to be on top of the removal process so that no one slips and/or hurts themselves, so could this be the same thing (minus the injury part). The property is yours, but the sidewalk is city property, as is the street in front of your house – hence why parking is an absolute free-for-all.
To clear up the burning question I've been longing to have answered, I reached out to City Councilor At Large Ian Abreu if he had any clue where to begin searching, and he referred me to the Department of Facilities and Fleet Management. With just a simple Google search, I was able to locate Sec. 22-18- "Removal of grass, bushes, weeds, etc." and instantly found my answer. Here's the summarized version:
If you're a homeowner or a tenant, you must remove any grass, bushes, weeds, or plant growth protruding from the sidewalk or concrete area in front of the property where you reside. According to Chapter 22, anyone who doesn't abide by this rule will be given 72 hours to clean up or remove any grass that was reported by 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 representatives."
The grassy area must be no more than three inches tall without being subject to a fine. If the grass is not cut or maintained within the 72-hour grace period, a $20 fine will be issued with an extra $5 tacked on for every week it is not taken care of once the 72-hour warning has timed out. The only time the city will take responsibility for a property is if the owner is nowhere to be found or for municipal properties only.
To answer the question simply: if there's a sidewalk in front of your house and it's overgrown with grass, to avoid paying a minimum of $20, simply cut the grass and call it a day. It shouldn't take more than 40 seconds.