SAND SPRINGS, Okla. - On Tuesday night two young boys tossed a baseball in their front yard, working on their fielding, "grounders or pop flies," one of the boys said.
A common springtime sight.
Watching the two young baseball players was one of their dads, Brad Shields. At Shields' home he is the head grounds keeper.
"Yeah, as you can see I like to keep it like the infield of a baseball field, so my boys can practice out here whatever time they want to," Shields said.
While the boys kept playing catch, he worked on the edges of his major league quality lawn. Shields takes pride in his yard, but Sand Springs city workers say not everyone does. They want to remind people overgrown grass and weeds can lead to a visit from code enforcement if reported.
Grass longer than 12 inches can be met with a warning. The code violation warning lets the homeowner know they need to cut their grass in seven days or start to pay $154 for each day the fine continues. The maximum fine for violations after that can reach $500 per day.
After 10 days, the city can send out a contracted crew to cut the lawn for the homeowner. The crew and fees can cost the homeowner on average $300 or more.
Not a worry to Shields as he trims his lawn.
"For my lawn, my lawn has to pass my inspection," he said.
That means mowing every three days when the grass is growing fast. A while back though, some overgrown grass in Shield's backyard led to a visit from a city worker and a $200 fine. It is something he said he now works to avoid.
"Oh yeah, I argued with him a little bit," Shields said. "But I got it cleaned up. I wasn't going to win the battle."
The cities of Tulsa and Broken Arrow have similar codes. Homeowners in both cities are required to keep their grass shorter than 12 inches.
In Tulsa, after a 10-day warning, if a lawn is abated by a contractor it runs the homeowner $77 to $125 or even more depending on the size of the lawn. Then there is also a $300 administrative fee on top of the abatement.
In Broken Arrow, a 10-day warning is to be given to a property owner if the owner's grass is longer than 12 inches. The warning tells the owner to cut the weeds or grass to the required height.
After 10 days, as in Tulsa or Sand Springs, a contracted crew will take care of the lawn. Any work and administrative fees are then billed to the homeowner.