The town of Medaryville’s mowing ordinance is under review after an appeal by taxpayer Brian Capouch, who claimed he received notices of 10 violations on what the town claims is his property, though he raised a number of questions and complaints regarding the ordinance. Capouch told the council that he has been mowing his properties on a regular basis but still received notices of violations, and when he tried to find out what the violations were, he said he was unable to get anyone to give him a straight answer.
Capouch asserted that he asked a town council member, the maintenance director, and a number of other town personnel who informed him that they had no information that they could provide and encouraged him to attend the town council meeting last night to raise an appeal. He said numerous times that he would fight these violations – and the threatened lien on his property if he did not comply – as vehemently as possible.
He said he received no indication of what the violations were; rather, the letters simply mentioned what parcels were affected. He said the ordinance is not specific at all, merely stating that trees, bushes, and agricultural plants are allowed to exceed the height of five inches, though no other plant is allowed to do so. This, he said, effectively renders illegal any flowers that grow to a height taller than five inches. In addition to that, Capouch said the violations specified may not actually be on his property, as the plants that might be considered violations could be on a parcel that he does not own due to the confusing nature of how the property in that area is divided. On top of that, he said the ordinance violates state code in that it does not include circumstances to allow for “continuous abatement.”
Capouch said he has been personally violated by their notices and threat of lien and said he has been denied due process by a defective ordinance. The town attorney said she would review the ordinance, and the state law associated with it, to ensure that it is legal. Capouch, however, said that would leave his properties under a “cloud”; that is, he claimed the threat of lien is a cloud upon his property and he wanted the notices to be rescinded or he would seek litigation.
The town attorney assured him that if the council tables the matter, no action will be taken on his property.
Councilman Derrick Stalbaum said he would not be comfortable rescinding it, but would rather table it until the next meeting so the violations could be double-checked and the town attorney could review the legal documents in question. The council approved a motion to table the discussion until the next meeting on July 17, at which time, Stalbaum said, the council could provide specifics on the violations.