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New ordinance limits grass height to 6 inches

THORNVILLE – People in Thornville don’t just sit around watching the grass grow – or do they?

Thornville Village Council has adopted an ordinance to enforce a lawn height of six inches or face a $150 fine. While this may sound harsh at first, council members explained the ordinance is aimed at habitual violators who refuse to manage their lawns. Violators will receive warnings before being fined and council members urged those who need help mowing their lawns – such as those who are elderly or ill – to contact the village for assistance as soon as possible.

“Nobody’s going out there with a ruler,” said Village Administrator Ron Koehler. “We’re going to ease into this.”

“This is something we’ve talked about for a year, now,” said Mayor Beth Patrick. The ordinance was approved as an emergency, meaning it was effective immediately upon passage and there’s no 30 day waiting period. It also requires residents and property owners to maintain shrubbery, flowers, trees, vines, and to remove unreasonable amounts of weeds (i.e. those that are spreading all over the property).

Resident Gene Raab said he mows five properties in the village and could help people who are physically unable to maintain their lawns, but “There are some people who just won’t take care of their properties,” he said.

Council member Terry Lynn also said the village would work with people who have extreme circumstances.

“This is for repeat offenders. These aren’t old people,” said council member Dick Krumlauf.

In other council news:

• Angela Dunson of the Perry County Health Department said the county will help coordinate farmer’s markets in Thornville, New Lexington, Somerset, and Shawnee. “This is to keep all the farmer’s markets on a level playing field,” she said. Dunson said people at the health department identified a need in Perry County for fresh produce and they want to do all they can to help local farmer’s markets to be successful. She said the county would hire a person to coordinate the markets, and the county would provide advertising and some booths.

Thornville’s market will be each Saturday starting June 20, 8 a.m. to noon through September, at the corner of Church and Columbus streets. Patrick said eight vendors are currently registered. The county requires that vendors grow 51 percent of the items sold, and crafts may only be 20 percent of sales. The goal is to market as many vegetables as possible. “This is something we think is going to grow and take hold,” said Dunson.

“I don’t see that there’s a downside to it,” said Krumlauf.

• Koehler said he’d like to remove school bus traffic from Maple Street. Council members and residents agreed. Koehler said the bus traffic is damaging the road surface.

Former Mayor Dale Brussee said school buses were never supposed to use Maple, but began to use it to control traffic within the Thornville Elementary School’s parking lot. “That’s what they agreed to when they built the new school,” he said.

Patrick said she’d write a letter to the school board and encouraged council members and concerned citizens to attend a school board meeting. She wondered if the school could stagger the bus schedules so all the buses could enter and exit through a common entrance.

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