Got weeds? Village says cut ‘em down …

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX — Even though the weather has been dry and the grass is not growing, the weeds are still doing very well.

In fact, in some parts of Colfax, weeds are becoming issue, said Mark Halpin, village trustee and acting village president, at the Colfax Village Board’s July 22 meeting.

 Halpin said village residents should be reminded that Colfax does have a weed ordinance.

According to the ordinance, the village clerk-treasurer must publish a noxious weed notice on or before May 15 every year.

This year, the noxious weed ordinance was published in the May 1 edition of the Colfax Messenger.

The ordinance states that every person is required to destroy noxious weeds on land within the village limits that he or she owns, occupies or controls.

If the owner or occupant does not destroy weeds as required, the village’s weed commissioner shall give five days’ written notice either by mail or personal service, and after five days, the weed commissioner will destroy the weeds or cause them to be destroyed, and the cost will be assessed as a tax.

Weeds growing in the village must be destroyed before the plants mature and bloom. Weeds in excess of eight inches high are prohibited within the village limits.

Noxious weeds that must be destroyed include Canada thistle; common ragweed; great ragweed; leafy spurge; creeping Jenny or field bind weed; goat’s beard; poison ivy; bull thistle; burdock; cocklebur; pigweed; lambs quarters; curly dock; hemp; English plantain.

Noxious grasses also must be destroyed: redtop grass; Johnson grass; foxtail.

Smartweed, dandelions over eight inches tall and milkweed over eight inches tall also are included on the list.

Any occupant or property owner who receives a written notice from the weed commissioner can request a hearing before the Board of Appeals.

The request must be made in writing to the clerk-treasurer’s office within five days of the weed commissioner’s notice.

The Board of Appeals must hold a hearing within seven days from the written request.

If the Board of Appeals determines that noxious weeds exist, the BOA can order that the weeds be destroyed, unless the owner or occupant has destroyed the weeds with 48 hours of the decision.

Anyone who violates the weed ordinance on a first offense, upon conviction, can be fined anywhere from $25 to $1,000, and also must pay the costs of prosecution.

If the convicted person does not pay the fine and court costs, he or she will be imprisoned in the county jail until the fine and costs are paid, but not jailed for more than 90 days.

For a second offense, an owner or occupant will be fined anywhere from $50 to $1,000, and if the fine and costs are not paid, will be held in the county jail until the fine and costs are paid, but not jailed for more than six months.

According to the ordinance, each violation and each day a violation continues constitutes a separate offense.