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City offers mowing assistance for some residents in tornado-affected area
With the 2012 mowing season now in full force, many vacant lots and unoccupied homes in the tornado-affected area of Joplin are in need of maintenance. Residents in the EDR area who are living back in their homes or have received a permit to repair or rebuild their home are required to follow existing mowing regulations, which limit grass or weeds to no more than 12” high. Residents who are not at that point in their recovery but are able to maintain their lot or hire someone are encouraged to do so. But for those residents who have not yet received a permit to repair or rebuild their home and lack the necessary means to maintain their lot, the City of Joplin is offering mowing assistance at no cost to them. This assistance is being offered for the 2012 mowing season only.

Starting this week, city crews will begin mowing any properties in the tornado-affected area with grass or weeds in excess of 12” high, under authorization granted by existing city ordinance. This first cutting will be performed at no charge to the property owner. During this time, property owners who lack the means to maintain their lot on their own or hire someone to do so will be able to sign a valid Right-of-Entry form that will grant access to the property for city staff, volunteers or work crews to maintain the lot.

Property owners who wish to participate in the mowing assistance program have until 5:00 p.m. on May 18, 2012, to sign a Right-of-Entry form to allow for mowing assistance following the initial cutting. These forms are available on the fourth floor of City Hall, 602 S. Main Street. As long as a valid ROE form is signed, there will be no charge to participate in this program, which will continue until either the property owner can resume maintenance responsibilities or until the end of the 2012 mowing season, whichever comes first.

After May 18th, property owners who have not signed the ROE form will be required to maintain their lot on their own or hire someone to maintain it, regardless of whether or not they have applied for a permit to repair or rebuild their home. Failure to sign the ROE form will subject them to current code enforcement regulations, which will include a charge for work performed by the city on lots with grass in excess of 12” high.

Said City Manager Mark Rohr, “One of the reasons why our community has been so successful in our recovery efforts is because of our common sense approach and willingness to help each other through the challenges we’ve faced. As volunteers, dignitaries and the media return to Joplin around the one-year anniversary, we would ask residents to continue to do their part in welcoming our guests with a warm smile, heart-felt thanks, and a well-maintained yard, which all help to present our city in the best possible light.”