Messy lawn: owner faces legal action

A council document said the City had received ongoing complaints since 2008 regarding the ‘unsightly and unkempt visual appearance’ of the front yard at 5 Periwinkle Road.

In November 2009, the City issued a notice to the landowner to remove all disused materials within 28 days. The owner objected and took the matter to a council meeting in February 2010.

Councillors voted to allow the landowner to keep the children’s play equipment. He was granted a three-month extension to clear away the materials, which he did, but not until August 2010.

By April 2011, the man’s yard was again unkempt. The City issued a notice for him to build a front fence, which he did not do and was fined $5000 in July 2012.

‘The City has been monitoring the site on a weekly basis and the landowner has continued to bring more disused materials onto the property,’ the document said.

In September, the City issued another notice requiring the removal of all materials, to which the landowner is again objecting.

‘I am not encroaching on anyone. I am not causing any health or safety issues. I am not being treated fairly or reasonably,’ he said.

At the November 12 council briefing, planning and community development director Dale Page said the City had compassion for the landowner and had provided skip bins to help.

Cr Tom McLean asked if the City should be taking more robust action to which Ms Page replied that they were exploring alternative methods and seeking legal advice.

At the November 19 meeting, Mayor Troy Pickard also requested officers look into creating an ‘unkempt land local law’.

‘It is difficult for us as a City with our current legal frameworks to have a speedy resolution to unkempt properties and indeed this particular resident has taken advantage of that over many years,’ Mr Pickard said.

The City will prosecute the landowner if the September notice to remove all materials is not complied with.

It is also currently prosecuting the landowner again for not building a front fence, with a court trial date set for December 5.