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Weeds and Trash


Weeds and Trash Abatement Program

General Information about Code Enforcement

Roanoke's weed and trash ordinance (Chapter 33, Article II, of the Code of the City of Roanoke) establishes a minimum standard for maintenance of parcels by 1) requiring that the height of normally cut vegetation (usually grassy areas) be kept to 10” or under and 2) by prohibiting the accumulation of trash. “Trash” is considered to be anything from paper litter to old tires, which has no value. Items that may have value, which are accumulating on a parcel and creating an eyesore are considered to be “Outdoor Storage” and are discussed in that section.

Generally, the weed ordinance does not apply to wooded areas or gardens except if trash is present. It cannot be used to force owners to cut or remove deliberately planted shrubbery, trees, or vines, nor does it address the issue of tree limbs growing over lot lines. The ordinance may apply in situations where chunks of wood, such as fallen tree limbs are littering a parcel and can be considered as “trash”.

Using the process below, the City will notify the property owner of a weed and/or trash violation. If the owner does not abate the violation, the City will have the parcel cut and/or cleaned and send the owner a bill for the cost of abatement, which includes an administrative fee of $100. Parcel owners are advised that the least expensive option is to provide their own maintenance rather than ignoring a citation, thus deferring to a City contractor for abatement.

During the “weed season” of April 1 to November 1 if a parcel is cited, that citation is the only warning the owner will receive for that time period. Even if the violation is abated by the owner at the beginning of the season, if maintenance is not kept up the City may send a contractor later in the season to abate a recurring violation without notice. Therefore, it is best to for owners to regularly check their properties to make sure that they are consistently maintained in accordance with the ordinance.

  • A Code Enforcement inspector discovers a violation through routine canvassing or receives a referral or citizen complaint.
  • If there is a violation, a “Notice of Violation” is posted and photos are taken to document the violation.
  • The inspector enters record of the citation, with the photos in the City’s database.
  • The “owner of record” (according to the latest real-estate information) is mailed a copy of the Notice and is given 7 days for abatement.
  • After 7 days the inspector revisits the property.
  • If the violation has been abated no further action is taken by the City at that time. If the violation recurs later during the “weed season” (as explained above) the citation step will be skipped and a contractor will be sent.
  • If the violation has not been abated more photos are taken.
  • A work order is given to a City contractor.
  • The contractor visits the property. If the violation has already been abated by the owner the contractor does no work on the parcel. The contractor informs City staff that the violation was abated.
  • If the work has not been done the contractor has 5 days in which to cut weeds and/or removes trash per the inspector’s instructions. The contractor must also photograph the lot upon completion of the necessary work.
  • The contractor returns the work order to City staff, noting the cost of abatement.
  • The inspector returns soon afterward and re-photographs the property to further document the contractor’s work. Photos are entered into the City’s database.
  • If the violation has been abated by the City’s contractor, the property owner will be billed for the work. The bill will include the cost of the abatement plus an administrative fee of $100. A minimum of two hours labor will be billed.
  • If the owner does not pay the bill, a lien will be placed on the property.

Note that it may take a few weeks for the process to play out before the violation is actually abated. During this time, the City is actively pursuing abatement of the violation, and we appreciate your patience.


      If you were cited for a violation and would like to speak with an inspector, please call the Code Enforcement Department at 540-853-2344. Our goal is always to obtain voluntary compliance. Requests for extra time may be granted, given the circumstances. Referrals for special assistance may be available.