- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 11, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A Lincoln resident barred from letting some plants in his garden grow to their full height says the city’s system of yard policing needs significant reform.

The city has ordered Bob Kuzelka, an associate professor emeritus at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln’s School of Natural Resources, to cut the tall-growing bromegrass at his home earlier than usual for the last three years, the Lincoln Journal Star (https://bit.ly/2sLVWqk ) reported.

“They forced me to kill the grass I liked in my backyard,” Kuzelka said.

County Weed Control Authority Superintendent Brent Meyer said the bromegrass needs to follow the city’s 6-inch rule because it is habitat for rodents and can be a fire hazard. The plant can grow 4 to 6 feet tall.

The orders are in response to complaints from a neighbor about Kuzelka’s woolly yard. Kuzelka said the system is complaint-driven and allows differences of opinion over what is appropriate.

Kuzelka said Lincoln’s method of regulating what homeowners can grow in their own yards needs an update to be based on health and safety rather than aesthetics. Doing so would allow the city to make people cut down tall plants that block driver views at intersections but leave everything else alone, he said.

Kuzelka suggested that instead of handling nontraditional lawns through complaints, homeowners should be allowed to submit a plan for lawn maintenance that can be reviewed and approved by a landscape practitioner.

Meyer said he understands both sides of the situation and will enforce whatever is city code.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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