Overgrown grass poses problem in Prairie Village

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PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. -- For anyone who regularly mows their lawn, it can be downright infuriating living next to someone who doesn't. But negligent neighbors are a perennial problem in the metro, particularly if the house next door is in foreclosure and your neighbor is now a bank.

An overgrown yard at a vacant house in Prairie Village, Kansas, has turned into a nightmare for neighbors. They worried that the tall grass was becoming a haven for snakes and wildlife.

Neighbors told FOX 4 that complaints to the city had produced no results. One neighbor even asked the city whether he could mow the lawn. But he says the city told him he couldn't.

FOX 4 Problem Solvers called the city's one and only code enforcement officer wondering what the city planned to do. The news was encouraging. She said that in accordance with Kansas law, she had already sent a warning letter to the property owner.  That warning was just returned to the city as undeliverable, giving Prarie Village the legal right to clean up this mess and charge it to the homeowner, who's still listed as owner of this property, but hasn't been since in months.

The day after FOX 4 Problem Solvers talked to Prairie Village, the city sent a yard crew out to clean up the lot, solving this particular problem.

Which brings us to another overgrown lot. This one is in Clay County on North Oak near 81st street in Kansas City. The grass is so tall that driver Gage McGarry said he has a tough time pulling out into traffic.

"I think something needs to be done with it because when I look I don't know where oncoming traffic is or see the curb where I need to turn. So to me it's a hazard."

FOX 4 Problem Solvers called the company selling the parcel and a woman told us that the owner was letting the grass grow because he planned to mow it for hay. An interesting idea, but something Kansas City spokesman Danny Rotert says is completely illegal because the lot is not zoned agricultural.

"You don't get to decide what you want to do with your lot because your neighbors have rights to," said Rotert, who said the city had already mailed the owner a warning letter and if the lot isn't mowed by this week, he will be fined.

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