Weed Abatement Horror Stories

We have received and heard a number of reports and stories about the City's new weed abatement crackdown with the new, and changing, rules.

Most agree we needed stepped up weed abatement, particularly for vacant lots that are never cleared on time, or vegetation extending many feet into travel lanes. We need a phased approach, going after known violators first, not new more expansive rules that will change the appearance of the City and create large mudslides in the rain.

Weed Abatement will be on the City Council agenda Thursday July 14th. If you do not like the heavy handed and newly expansive weed abatement program NOW is the time to speak up or write your council members.

(Update: The Council continued portions to the August meeting, but passed an item directing the City Attorney to expand the roadside clearance requirement.. City Codes require Code Amendments to be done at a Public Hearing, but it was unclear if City will follow its own Codes in this case.)

As much identifying detail as possible has been removed from the stories below due to reasonable concerns about retribution or additional actions by the City.

The City Council has proposed raising the Fire Tax. At the last (June) Council meeting, the Fire Chief asked for more money so he can do more property inspections. This would mean more fines and citations.

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• 50+ year resident got Violation Notice and told to remove Compost piles within 10 days (5 days by the time they received notice), or else be fined.
City General Plan says, "Environmental Resource Management Element Policy 41. Encourage the reduction of green waste through composting, chipping, mulching, etc."

• 40+ year resident reports they removed lower branches of trees to meet dictates of weed abatement, then received Violation Notice from City to move an RV, now visible because the screening vegetation was removed to meet weed abatement!!!

• Posted on La Habra Heights Topix website July 22nd - "We just received a roadside clearance letter that gives us one week to comply or be fined. I hope no one plans on going on vacation this summer for more than a few days.."

• Multiple residences have been written up for having mulch on their property.

• A long time resident was told to remove Avocado leaves under an Avocado tree.

• One residence was approved by the firefighters, only to get a $300 citation from the Fire Chief.

• A 30 year resident received a $300 citation with no prior notice.

• New residents were told last year by the Fire Dept to use mulch to keep weeds away. Now the city wants them to remove it.

• Another resident spent $1200 having mulch removed.

• "What really disturbs all of us is the city HAS NOT COMPLIED with their OWN FIRE ABATEMENT CODE BUT EXPECT ALL the residents to COMPLY or be cited with $300 fines"

• Read a great letter to the City Council about proposed changes to the rules. Here

Proposed new weed abatement rules require 200 foot distance from structures for new trees. This means no trees for most lots of less than 3 or 4 acres! Do you want a treeless City?

• Thirty Five year residents called the new program "radical" and "over-done", and that it "doesn't make any sense".

• Reports of residents closing gates and locking doors when they hear the Fire Dept is in their neighborhood are heard across the City.
At the Weed Forum, the Fire Chief said you do not have to allow them onto your property, but if there is access they can go in.

• "My wife fears the Fire Dept and cowers behind the house when she sees them. The City shouldn't be putting the Firefighters in the position of villain."

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Other Weed Abatement Articles:

Roadside Clearance Mystery Deepens. What is it for? Arbitrary Enforcement?