ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s that time of year when overgrown weeds are taking over sidewalks and people’s lawns, and this year, more people seem to be complaining about them. The city believes there are a few reasons why.
Spring is typically when code enforcement gets more requests to check out homes that have weeds grown past the four-inch mark, according to the planning department. “Things are going to get crazy and because they’re crazy, inspectors during this time period are being reactive to those complaints that are coming in,” Planning Director Brennon Williams explained. “They’re not actively out searching for properties with overgrown weeds.”
The city has received a total of 835 overgrown weed complaints from January through March. That’s about 50 more than the same time frame last year.
Williams said the slight uptick could be because of the early snowfall bringing in moisture to get the weeds to sprout early. People may also have had less time to work on their yards now that we’re no longer in lockdown.
Looking ahead, it could also be a longer weed season considering everything sprouted early, which could lead to more citations across the city. Homeowners are given up to two notices over a 30-day period to clean up their mess.
Williams adds that about two-thirds of people who are warned, come into compliance within about 15 days. Most everyone else takes care of their weeds before their month is up. “Only rarely, and we’re talking maybe two to three percent of all the complaints that we receive, does the inspector have the file a criminal complaint with the metropolitan court,” Williams said.
Online court records show 26 criminal complaints have been filed so far this year for weeds.
KRQE News 13 went to 10 of those homes today and saw that most of those front yards were weed-free. The city expects another big uptick in complaints come mid-June through August when they say they get about 100 weed complaints a day. In the rare instances when people do go to court, a judge could give the homeowner up to a $500 fine. People can report overgrown weeds through the city’s 311 app.