Johnstown village officials have received dozens of nuisance control complaints in relation to an ordinance council passed two weeks ago.

Johnstown village officials have received dozens of nuisance control complaints in relation to an ordinance council passed two weeks ago.

The ordinance allows the village to charge property owners $200 per hour to mow tall grass and weeds that exceed six inches, as well as yard litter clean-up.

Village manager Jim Lenner told council on June 21 that the village received approximately 30 complaints against property owners since the legislation passed June 7.

"We've addressed those 30 and they've been voluntarily mowed," Lenner said.

He said the village has had to mow four lawns in the past two weeks. None of the four properties were bank-owned, he said, but most were in the process of being foreclosed.

"The people in their homes are still mowing their properties," Lenner said. "The four that we had, one was burnt and they (homeowners) left town, so it's been the vacant properties that we've actually gone ahead and mowed."

Lenner said the village is willing to work with compliant residents.

"If they're on vacation, we'll work with people. We're not out there just to charge $200 every time we mow," he said.

Part-time zoning inspector Sonny Whalen talks with property owners once a nuisance complaint is issued.

He said he doesn't come out to measure each property with a ruler.

"If it's obviously high grass I give them a certified letter stating such," Whalen said, "and I send the zoning code violation with that letter so they know exactly what I'm talking about and it gives them the time they have to correct the violation."

Property owners have five days to mow their yard once they receive the letter.

"It would be obviously to their advantage to have it done or get it taken care of on their own," Whalen said, "because if we do it they will be fined."

He said most residents have been fairly cooperative. In the cases of the four properties the village mowed, Whalen said, "The owners either failed to respond to us after certified letters or they were returned with no response and left for us to handle and that's what we've done."

Depending on the time it takes village officials to mow the property, it could end up a hefty sum.

"If the owners aren't available then we have the opportunity to take them to mayor's court and/or assess their property taxes with the county auditor," Whalen said.

Whalen said he would address all nuisance complaints because "obviously is a detriment to the village as far as appearance (is concerned)."

Lenner said residents seem grateful the village is taking action.

"We've got a lot of thank-yous," he said. "A lot of people appreciate that the yards have been mowed and they're not 20 inches tall."

Council on June 21 amended one section on the ordinance to include tall grass and weeds.

It had just said "nuisance" and the village wanted to straighten out any confusion.