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Is Bethel's lawn maintenance bill an example of government overreach?

Friday, November 04, 2016
Time: 10:04 AM

Personally, I think this is a a little over the top...

Homeowners could be fined for unmowed lawns under an amendment the town is considering to its blight ordinance. The target of the change is banks who have foreclosed on properties and aren’t maintaining them.

The amendment would allow the town to fine homeowners whose grass is longer than 12 inches and left that way for 30 days or more. But First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker said these specifics could change as officials are working on the language of the amendment for a public hearing before the end of December.

The town’s current blight ordinance was passed in 2013 and had originally included language that would have enforced lawn maintenance. Residents requested this language be removed because they did not want the “grass police” telling them to mow their lawn, Knickerbocker said.

But this amendment, while it would affect all property owners, is meant to prevent banks from ignoring maintenance at foreclosed properties.


With the amendment, neighbors would be able to file a complaint to the town, and a blight control officer would inspect the property to see whether it is a problem. The owner would then receive a letter saying the property was out of compliance, then a warning notice saying he or she could be fined, followed by potential fines.

I understand First Selectman Knickerbocker's concern...unkept lawns on foreclosed property in Bethel has been an annoying issue for some time but this proposal affects ALL property owners, not just the foreclosed property....and as the Newstimes noted, residents in Bethel already rejected this idea when they requested that the lawn maintenance language be removed from the 2013 blight ordinance.

The town might be better off if they focused their attention on unkept lawns on foreclosed properties and not place law-abiding taxpayers owners under this "lawn maintenance" umbrella that many describe as government overreach.

posted by ctblogger at 10:04 AM | Permalink|


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On September 26, 2007, ten plaintiffs filed suit in response to an arrest of aday laborers at a public park in Danbury, Connecticut. Plaintiffs amended their complaint on November 26, 2007.

The amended complaint states that plaintiffs sought to remedy the continued discriminatory and unauthorized enforcement of federal immigration laws against the Latino residents of the City of Danbury by Danbury's mayor and its police department.

Plaintiffs allege that the arrests violated their Fourth Amendment rights and the Connecticut Constitution because defendants conducted the arrests without valid warrants, in the absence of exigent circumstances, and without probable cause to believe that plaintiffs were engaged in unlawful activity. In addition, plaintiffs allege that defendants improperly stopped, detained, investigated, searched and arrested plaintiffs. Plaintiffs also allege that defendants violated their Fourteenth Amendment rights when they intentionally targeted plaintiffs, and arrested and detained them on the basis of their race, ethnicity and perceived national origin. Plaintiffs raise First Amendment, Due Process and tort claims.

Plaintiffs request declaratory relief, damages and attorneys fees.



Danbury Area Coalition for the Rights of Immigrants v.
U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security
3:06-cv-01992-RNC ( D. Conn. )

(02.25.08) Court docket

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Barrera v. Boughton, No. 07-01436
(D. Conn. filed Sept. 26, 2007)

(02.25.08) Court Docket

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Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

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