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Tuesday - February 13, 2007

From: Westlake, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Laws
Title: Sample city ordinances to incorporate into city code
Answered by: Joe Marcus


I am looking for a source of sample city ordinances that will allow wildflowers such that we can incorporate it into our city code. My city is rural and per its master visionplan was originally published August 1992: " 1. Maintain a rural character throughout the township. 2. Ensure a stewardship of the natural features of the land. 3. Protect the quality and character of existing development. 4. Provide services and amenities for both resident and employee populations that come to Westlake. 5. Ensure that new development is in the best long term interests of those who choose to live and work in the community." But recent ordinances are in conflict with that in preserving the native wildflowers: Sec. 46-116. Height of grass and weeds on lot or parcel of land. "It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, corporation, partnership, association of persons, owner, agent, occupant or anyone having supervision or control of any lot, tract, parcel of land, or a portion thereof, occupied or unoccupied within the corporate limits of the town to suffer or permit grass, weeds or any plant that is not cultivated to grow to a greater height than 12 inches. This section does not apply to the growing of grass for grazing purposes." Wildflowers are often over 12 inches in height and the city so far has not accepted that reseeding wildflowers and caring for wild flowers (even on 1/2 acre or larger fields) is not "cultivated". And that wild flowers do not make good "hay". Specifically, some guidelines as to allowing ample time for the growing season, blooming season, and natural reseeding seaon (when they look the "worst") before the fields can be mowed again.


The best source of information that we know of regarding weed laws is published on the website of Wild Ones, a non-profit, native plant advocacy group. In addition to providing sample ordinances and amending legislation, they also give excellent practical advice for dealing with municipal weed laws.

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