WATERLOO — An ordinance change would address a growing problem with volunteer trees.
Code enforcement officials are asking the Waterloo City Council to amend the “weed and grass” ordinance to include measures addressing unintended, unsightly trees cropping up throughout the city.
“A volunteer tree is basically one that grows on its own rather that one that is deliberately planted,” said Maria Downing, code enforcement foreman.
“We are looking to use this as a tool to take care of the volunteer trees that are growing out of the foundations around the houses, around the garages, back by the alleys, trying to really enhance the looks of our neighborhoods.
“We get a lot of calls every year on volunteer trees,” she added. “Due to the fact there’s nothing in the ordinance there is nothing we can enforce on that.”
Council members discussed the ordinance during a work session Monday and could vote on it during their next meeting Tuesday.
“I think this is a great thing,” said Councilwoman Margaret Klein. “I’m glad we’re going to go after this.”
Klein said she was out knocking on doors in her ward recently when she saw a tree growing up through the deck of a home and blocking the front door.
Waterloo already has an ordinance that governs weeds and grass on private lots, including provisions that grass can’t be higher than eight inches on residential lots and one foot elsewhere. The ordinance also governs noxious weeds but does not cover volunteer trees.
Property owners receiving a notice under the ordinance have five days to remedy the violation before the city sends in crews to mow a lot and bill the property owner.
Councilman Pat Morrissey questioned whether property owners would have a way to appeal an order if they wanted to keep a tree tagged for removal.
Downing said there is an appeal process. She also noted she is willing to meet property owners on site if they have concerns about particular trees.
“We’re not going after volunteer trees that have been in somebody’s yard for two or three years and manifested into a tree,” she said.
The Courier Top 1-0 Most-Read Good News Stories from 2019
The Courier's Top 10 Most-Read Good News Stories from 2019
Here are the top 10 most-read stories about great people, places and events in The Courier in 2019, as measured in users to wcfcourier.com.
A tip came to the newsroom in January 2019 about a Dysart couple whose twins were born early. After my first phone call to the twin's mother, …
SPILLVILLE — As he was being laid to rest Thursday, a 63-year-old Northeast Iowa man’s obituary was going viral for his family’s wry sense of …
University of Northern Iowa President Nook has announced a $10 million gift to the university at Thursday’s meeting of the Iowa Board of Regents.
Five friends who chipped in to buy lottery tickets together shared a memorable moment Thursday as they claimed a $1 million Mega Millions prize.
A passerby pulled a woman from the Cedar River in downtown Waterloo on Wednesday afternoon.
WATERLOO — After 52 years working for John Deere, Gaylord Converse was ready to turn over the keys to his boss.
WATERLOO — “American Idol” 2018 winner and hometown pop sensation Maddie Poppe was back in Northeast Iowa on Monday, shooting a live music vid…
Nursing is a challenging profession, one that requires great skill, compassion and commitment to extraordinary patient care. This week, Nation…