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Grass has neighbors searching for an answer
By MARGO HORNER
Southwest 313th Street in Federal Way is a quiet cul-de-sac off Dash Point Road with billowing trees, well-fed cats, blooming rosebushes and abundant bird feeders.
Its the kind of neighborhood where each house bares a friendly Welcome sign, a carefully manicured lawn and a shiny SUV out front.
All except for the house on the corner.
Neighbors on Southwest 313th Street are furious about their neighbors overgrown lawn.
The lawn, a mixture of grass, weeds and sticker-bushes, stretches waist-high.
Its an eyesore, neighbors say. And theres not much they can do about it.
Neighbors have tried to reason with the man who lives there but to no avail. Theyve placed a sign in the yard reading Dude, cut your grass. Theyve called the city. Theyve called the newspaper.
And still the lawn grows.
Maybe hes using it as a wildlife preserve, quipped one neighbor who asked that his name not be used.
Its a disgrace. I dont know why something cant be done about it, said Rick Hughes, who lives across the street.
Hughes worries that the lawn is a fire hazard and that it might attract rats and various wild animals.
Im very angry about it, Hughes said. Everyone else takes care of their yards except for this guy here.
Hughes said he considered calling the city to complain. He doesnt want to get the city involved in what should be private matters, he said, but he doesnt see any other way.
I hate to see it go to laws where you have to do something to please the city, but on the other hand, thats gotten out of hand, he said, gazing across the street. The other neighbors shouldnt have to put up with it.
The weeds, such as dandelions, spread, Hughes noted.
His yard is all weeds. Theres no grass. And those weeds blow over into my yard. It causes a lot of problems for the other neighbors too, he said. Its a constant problem.
Karen Depew, who lives a few houses down, is less worried about the weeds invading her yard. But she is worried about living near such an offensive lawn.
Its embarrassing when you tell somebody where you live and thats the first thing they see when they drive around the corner, Depew said. I know it brings the property value down. Im glad Im not trying to sell my house.
Other neighbors, who asked not to be named, noted that the man who owns the house is not physically unable to mow the yard nor is he living in poverty. He has a job and owns two nice, newer vehicles and a fishing boat, one man pointed out.
Its pretty pathetic, the neighbor said. Its not like he doesnt have the money where he couldnt hire somebody to come cut his grass.
The neighbors on Southwest 313th Street arent the only Federal Way folks fed up with a neighbors grass.
At a city council meeting last week, four angry neighbors complained to the council about a house on Southwest 325th Street that has an overgrown yard, junk cars and garbage.
Several neighbors complained about rat and carpenter ant infestations as a result of the overgrown, unkept property.
Pat Roragen, a real estate agent who lives nearby, said the house diminishes property values of other homes nearby. Houses in the neighborhood take longer to sell than those in other areas of Federal Way, Roragen said. She blames the overgrown lawn and the junk.
According to Becky Lemke, a code compliance officer for the City of Federal Way, there is no city code regarding the length of a residents grass. A portion in the code regarding overgrown grass and noxious weed was deleted as part of an amendment in 2004.
The city is currently considering revising the code and could include a portion about grass and lawn maintenance, Lemke said. Until then, the best way to get involved is to contact your local city council member.
Staff writer Margo Horner: 925-5565, firstname.lastname@example.org