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Got weeds again? Manteca may slap $100 fine on you plus other costs
Weeds infest a vacant lot at Union Road and Crom Street on Wednesday. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Clear the weeds or face possible $100 fine.

Some 1,200 property owners who were cited in 2011 for weed abatement by the Manteca Fire Department are in line for at least a $100 fine if they get cited again this year.

That’s the bottom line of the city’s more aggressive weed abatement ordinance put in place back in 2010 to encourage people to abate weeds and other fire hazards before they become  problem. The ordinance calls for anyone cited two years in a row to automatically be fined $100. That is in addition to fees and other fines that could be generated if they don’t comply with a new order to abate fire nuisances.

Firefighters started their annual weed abatement inspections on Tuesday.

“It’s super important,” Fire Chief Kirk Waters said of the weed abatement. “It prevents fire from spreading from one property to another.”

Waters noted the Northern San Joaquin Valley is not immune from wind-whipped infernos.

A few years back, a brush fire along Interstate 5 in Stockton spread quickly to burn 30 homes due to wind-fanned flames. Two years ago, wind-driven grass fires along the 120 Bypass threatened several homes in Manteca.

“The Delta breezes can get pretty strong,” Waters said.

Since the imposition of the $100 fine for repeat offenders, the number of citations issued has dropped. There were 1,200 properties cited in 2011, down 15 percent from 1,400 properties in 2010.

The $100 fine for repeat offenders is on top of cost recovery charges that are in addition to the $102 penalty the courts typically slap on property owners for dragging their feet. The fine jumps to $200 if a property owner fails to abate their property in a timely manner for three or more consecutive years.

The Manteca Fire Department will inspect every parcel of land within the community.

After notification, if the fire hazard and/ or nuisance is not promptly abated, the property owner will be required to appear in court. This includes, but is not limited to weeds, rubbish, dirt, trash, grass, dead trees, vegetation or other materials which constitute a public nuisance.

Manteca’s weed abatement rules

Specifically, the following standards apply within Manteca’s city limits:

• Property of 1/2 acre or more: Mow all vegetation to a maximum of 4 to 6 inches in height. Remove all grass, weeds or debris from the property. Disc or till the entire property. (In the process of abating property, keep dust production to a minimum to ensure compliance with Manteca Municipal Code Section 8.17 - Prevention of airborne sand, soil or dust traveling to neighboring properties in visible amounts.)

• Property of 1/2 acre or less: Mow all vegetation to a maximum of 4 to 6 inches in height. Rake and remove all dry grass.

• Trees and shrubs: All dead trees, shrubs and bushes must be cut down and removed from the property. Prunings must also be removed from the property.

• Alleys: Mow all grass and/ or weeds to a maximum of 4 to 6 inches in height. Fence lines must be clean and free of weeds. Any and all combustibles must be removed. This includes, but is not limited to, trash, rubbish, dry grass, prunings, clippings, auto parts and furniture. Property owners are responsible for the maintenance of the alley from the property line to the center of the alley.

• All properties: All weeds, rubbish, excess dirt, trash, dry vegetation, discarded furniture, appliances, garbage, auto parts or other material which constitutes a public nuisance, must be abated from the property fence line to fence line.

If you have any questions, contact the Fire Prevention Division at 456-8340, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For abatement of inoperable and/ or abandoned vehicles contact the Code Enforcement Officer at 456-8156.