Subd. 1.   It is unlawful for any owner, occupant or agent of any lot or parcel of land in the city to allow any noxious weeds as defined in M.S. §§ 18.77 and 21.72 or grass growing upon any such lot or parcel of land to grow to a greater height than eight inches.
      A.   The following areas and types of vegetation are exempted from this provision if managed in a manner so as not to become infested with weeds or to create a stagnant, foul-smelling condition:
         1.   Non-noxious weeds and grass vegetation in wetland areas;
         2.   Non-noxious weeds, grasses and herbaceous vegetation within 50 feet of designated storm water ponds or within 50 feet of natural or altered creeks, rivers and stream corridors, including riparian buffer strips, that convey water, provided they are cut to less than ten inches at least once per year if located within 200 feet of an occupied residence or developed property;
         3   Non-noxious weed and grass vegetation growing on land that has been agriculturally zoned land or has a history of being agriculturally zoned land, including pastures that are fenced and contain animals, provided that a buffer zone of ten feet between the agricultural land and any turf grass area will be required;
         4   Temporary erosion control grasses;
         5   Maintained and weeded prairie, meadow or natural landscape vegetation that does not contain noxious weed growth and that includes the cultivation of native grasses indigenous to the state, provided that the property owner applies for, and is issued, a natural landscape permit, and maintains the property in a condition sufficient to maintain the permit. Natural landscape permits are required if a proposed landscape includes native grasses that exceed, or are expected to exceed eight inches in overall height. Natural landscape permit applications shall be submitted to the Park Department. No natural landscape permits will be issued unless the following requirements are fulfilled by the owner:
            a.   They are set back not less than 20 feet from the front lot line. For the purposes of this section, corner lots shall be deemed to have two front yards;
            b.   They are set back not less than five feet from the side and/or rear lot lines to provide a transition zone. No set back is required on the side or rear lot lines if (1) there is a fully opaque fence at least five feet in height installed between the native plants and the side or rear lot lines or (2) the native plants abut a neighboring native plant landscape area;
            c.   The native plant landscape area is cut at least once annually between April 15 and July 15 to a height no greater than ten inches;
            d.   Turf grass is eliminated and the native plants, trees and shrubs are planted through transplanting or seed by human or mechanical means. Soil erosion should be controlled while the ground is bare of plant growth that is sufficient to inhibit erosion and is the sole responsibility of the owner or occupant; and
            e.   Written authorization from the City Administrator, or his/her designee, is obtained for work within conservation or scenic easement areas, including planting, mowing or cutting;
         6.   A violation of any of the requirements set forth above will result in the revocation of the natural landscape permit by the city;
         7.   Grass and non-noxious weed vegetation in publicly owned parks designated as natural preserves or private property so designated by the City Council or natural undisturbed areas where the land and vegetation appears not to have been graded, landscaped or otherwise disturbed by human or mechanical means in recent time;
         8.   Grass and non-noxious weed vegetation on natural or altered slopes steeper than 2:1;
         9.   Ornamental grasses; and/or
         10.   Natural wooded lots.
      B.   No such person shall cause, permit, or allow poison ivy, ragweed, or other poisonous plants or plants detrimental to health to grow on any such lot or any such land in such manner that any part of said weeds or plants shall extend upon, overhang or border any public place, or in such manner that said noxious weeds or plants are allowed to seed or to emit pollen or other poisonous particles into the atmosphere in a manner such that said particles are carried through the air into any public places.
   Subd. 2.   If any such owner, occupant or agent fails to comply with this height limitation and, after notice given by the designated weed inspector, has not, within seven days of such notice, complied, the city shall cause such weeds or grass to be cut and the expenses thus incurred shall be a lien upon such real estate. The City Clerk shall certify to the County Auditor a statement of the amount of the costs incurred by the city. Such amount, together with interest, shall be entered as a special assessment against such lot or parcel of land and be collected in the same manner as real estate taxes.
   Subd. 3.   All individual notices provided for herein shall be served in the same manner as a summons in a civil action in the District Court or by certified mail. Service on persons living temporarily or permanently outside of the city whose property is vacant or unoccupied may be made by sending the notice by certified mail to the last known address of such person, to be ascertained, if necessary, from the last tax list in the County Treasurer’s office.
(Ord. 610, passed 4-21-14) Penalty, see § 1.99