Council Sets Grass Height, Skips on Reverse 9-1-1

BLYTHEWOOD – At its regular meeting on June 29 Town Council passed first reading to sets the height limit of overgrown weeds in the town at 12 inches.

“In July of 2011, the Council adopted by reference the entire International Property Maintenance Code,” Town Administrator Gary Parker told Council members.

Section 302.4 of that Code, which addresses weeds and other overgrown plants, states that the local jurisdiction should insert the number of inches in height that the locality wants to set as the height threshold for such overgrowth.

Parker said the Town Hall staff proposed that the limit be set at 12 inches, which, Parker said, is the typical height found in municipal code sections that address the height of overgrown grass and weeds. After some discussion, Council voted unanimously to amend the code. The second and final reading will take place at the July 27 Council meeting.

Reverse 911

Council has discussed at its last two meetings the possibility of implementing a reverse 911 system for the town that would notify residents and businesses in case of emergencies. Parker suggested that such a system would be more appropriate for larger municipalities such as Columbia that have fire and police departments that respond to emergency situations. He said he felt Blythewood would be better served using another system such as email blasts.

“We would mainly be interested in sharing with the public the fact that there is an emergency or some other matter like a boil water alert,” Parker said. “Then, in the case of an emergency, it would be up to the public safety organization or public utility to advise its public information office of the incident so that information could be relayed to citizens.”

Councilman Eddie Baughman, who is a former firefighter, said that in case of an emergency in Blythewood, Columbia or Richland County is authorized to send out alerts at no cost to the Town. Council is expected to further discuss the issue at the July 27 meeting.