OTTUMWA-Ottumwa property owners are responsible for the mowing and maintenance of vegetation on their property, including the area commonly known as public right-of- way to the edge of the street or alley. There are approximately 180 private lots where the City has been mowing grass and weeds in the right-of-way along private property, particularly near wooded lots and land being used for agricultural purposes. An analysis is being conducted to identify those areas with the purpose of reducing the amount of mowing performed by City staff.
City Administrator Andy Morris said, “In most cases, the City started mowing these private property right-of-way areas to address a nuisance, unusual terrain or visibility issue for drivers. These areas are clearly private property; the responsibility of the property owner. We don’t believe it’s appropriate to ask the taxpayers of Ottumwa to pick up the tab for mowing private property.”
City code requires residential properties to be mown prior to growing to ten inches in height. Land used for agricultural purposes are required to have a twenty foot mowed buffer between crops and adjacent streets, alleys, public rights-of-way and neighboring lots. Wooded area must have a mowed buffer along the public right-of-way and adjacent private property. The City will be sending notification letters to a number of property owners reminding them of their legal obligation to maintain their property.
Ottumwa Municipal Code Chapter 24 section 3. – Enumeration of nuisances
(10) c. The abutting property owner shall maintain all vegetation on the owner’s property and on all property outside of the lot and property lines commonly known as public right-of- way to the edge of the street or alley. Where private property abuts a frontage road right-of-way, said property owner shall maintain all areas between the traveled or paved portion of the frontage road to the highway.