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Public's Responsibility for Abatement Gets in the Weeds

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In her first five months on duty, Lewiston's code enforcement officer Janie Schaefer received 245 complaints about overgrown weeds. Now officials are finding out, a lot of people don't know what they're responsible for cleaning up.

At Monday's work session, public works director Chris Davies explained that there's very little the city is responsible for regarding weed abatement.

Since 1993, city code has made residents responsible for weed control not only on their property, but also up to public-right-of-way like alleys and roadways.

Officer Janie Schaefer says most people are compliant when she informs them of violations, but most are surprised to find they're responsible for more than just their own property.

She explains, "Your property line, you're responsible from where it ends to the roadway. Whether it be a major road like Burrell or 21st Street or if it's an alley running behind."

Property owners are also responsible for clearing any sidewalks between their property and the roadway.

City council is now working on revising city code regarding weed abatement, and will also start a new weed abatement program that includes more public education.

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