CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A Charlotte man says he’s being unfairly targeted by the city’s Code Enforcement office, being cited repeatedly for tall grass on a piece of property he didn’t even know was his.
John Mack moved in to this property in November of 2019. For the past five months, he has been cutting the grass and taking care of the property, so he was a bit surprised to get a citation from Code Enforcement for high grass in early June.
“The area here in the back of our yard was not maintained, so to our knowledge, it wasn’t even part of our yard,” said Mack.
Mack looked at the pictures sent with his citation from code enforcement and cut the grass the next day. He thought everything was fine until 2-weeks later when he received another citation from an inspector indicating, “the entire yard had not been cut.”
This time the inspector indicated the problem was actually at the back of his property (not next to his home) as shown in these code enforcement pictures. Mack says it’s been like this long before he moved in to the home.
“As soon as I get to the edge here, there’s about a 12, maybe even more than a 12 foot drop,” said Mack.
Mack says, he tried to explain that he had broken his arm and that it was impossible for him tackle that type of physical project and due to COVID-19 economic challenges paying someone would take time.
“I told him I didn’t know how we were supposed to get a lawnmower down there without damaging the lawnmower and he fully acknowledged that if he were asked to do it, he wouldn’t be able to but his exact words were we needed to figure it out,” said Mack.
According to the City’s Code Enforcement manager, Jane Taillon, there has been multiple notices for this property over the years. In regards to the recent situation with the backyard, there was a total of two received.
I asked Taillon why Mack’s yard has become such a priority in the middle of a pandemic.
“We are sworn by the city to do a specific job for the city so it’s important even with COVID 19 happening that property owners make sure that their properties-the maintenance continues,” said Taillon.
She pointed to two complaints from neighbors, worried about the high grass.
Code Enforcement admits, there was confusion about the sloped area at the back of Mack’s yard.
“If we look at the history of the property over approximately the last 18 months, we have been involved in a lot of properties, not just the property that Mr. Mack lives in,” said Taillon.
Mack has now hired a landscaper to come in to deal with the rocks and weeds that have been there for years. His point - why was it critical to tackle this problem and issue citations and spend money he didn’t have during a pandemic?