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Lathrop adds muscle effort to fight weeds

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POSTED June 15, 2014 10:02 p.m.

LATHROP – The Lathrop Manteca Fire District offers no breaks when it comes to weed abatement.

If you’re not in compliance you need to get there. And if you don’t, then the proper legal and administrative steps will be taken to make sure that you do.

It’s not that they want to be restrictive or unfair. Just a month ago a grass fire on the outskirts of the district’s boundary ripped through a field and burned the portion of two occupied buildings.

And if the Lathrop City Council gives its blessing tonight, that strict enforcement – which was only relegated to residents that lived outside of the city in the San Joaquin County limits – would apply to city residents as well.

Currently Lathrop’s municipal code names the building inspector as the chief officer of the weed abatement program. But the city has been growing so quickly in the last year – and there are so many houses on the horizon for the next year – there simply isn’t enough time to double-up on the duties. r

The options for the council are relatively clear – either they turn to contract, at a relatively affordable rate, with the fire district or they look at the expensive proposition of hiring a full time code enforcement officer or part-time building inspector. The difference between the two — one would keep the process in-house and the other would out source it.

In order for the pitch to the district to work, Lathrop’s municipal code sections will have to be amended to include the Lathrop Manteca fire district marshal as designated code enforcement official that can represent the City of Lathrop in official proceedings.

Doing so would cost the City of Lathrop nothing.

Most Central Valley communities have weed abatement programs that are more of a safety issue for residents than something that’s intended to maintain the appearance of yards. Rural residents on larger lots are required to disc the land around their homes.

The property that burned last month was not disced and had dead, ankle high grass – taller in some places – throughout the areas.

The issue is pressed within city limits because of the close proximity of houses.

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