December 17, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
31°F
test

North Ridgeville looks to curb ‘yard art’

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — City Council is looking to rein in yard art.

Council is considering an amendment to a city law addressing outdoor residential property that would limit excessive lawn displays.

Councilwoman Bernadine Butkowski, R-at large, introduced the measure, which would restrict displays of permanent, nonholiday lawn ornaments or other items to 25 percent of the front or side yards.

The proposed yard-display limits come in response to complaints by residents in certain areas of the city about what they believe are yard displays of items that go overboard.

Butkowski declined to identify any specific properties but said the number of yards targeted by the measure is relatively few.

“It’s a small number of homes in different areas of town that have had this issue for a number of years,” Butkowski said. “These are instances in which people junk up their yard with everything, with whatever they think looks nice. They make the yard look messy and unattractive.”

The ordinance would not target landscaping or anything natural such as trees or shrubs.

The proposed amendment, which will be discussed 4 p.m. Thursday by Council’s Buildings and Lands Committee at North Ridgeville City Hall, could end up including items such as statuary, birdbaths, furniture, garden ornaments, large rocks or boulders and permanently parked vehicles.

Imposing limits on how much of a person’s yard can be taken up with displays is not intended to be restrictive, Butkowski said.

“We have to be reasonable,” she said. “When 25 percent of your yard is covered with things, it’s time to stop. We’re just trying to protect everybody.”

Butkowski said she was unaware of any instances in which such displays had led to serious problems between neighbors.

Areas of the city where such displays are not found include major developments such as Meadow Lakes and Waterbury, where they are regulated by homeowners associations.

Properties with too much displayed in their yards over long periods of time could also tend to lead to reduced property values “or problems when people try to sell their houses,” Butkowski said.

Councilman Robert Olesen, R-4th Ward, who chairs the Buildings and Lands Committee, agreed there are a number of properties in the city that have brought complaints from neighbors.

“Some yards have been built up under the ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure idea,’ ” Olesen said. “Where the problem lies are people who just put out too much in their lawns. Things rust and deteriorate and nobody moves them.”

So far, holiday decorations aren’t included in the legislation, but the discussion Thursday could include whether to target extreme ones. That, however, seems unlikely, Butkowski said.

“I don’t think anybody is going to bother those displays,” Butkowski said.

Next meeting

The proposed amendment will be discussed 4 p.m. Thursday by Council’s Buildings and Lands Committee at North Ridgeville City Hall.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.