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Village, resident grapple with weeds, clover

by David Fleet

September 04, 2013

Goodrich-An area landowner is appealing village action regarding a possible violation of the local weed ordinance.

Tom Gordon owns a five acre parcel with 650 feet frontage on Hegel Road about a quarter mile west of Ridge Road. A small section of the property along Hegel Road was planted with clover as ground cover to enhance the natural appearance of the land, he said.

"It's maintenance free landscaping on my property," said Gordon, a former village council member. "The village ordinance specifies noxious weeds as part of the violation; however, they do not identify just what a noxious weed really is—it's not an aggressive plant."

Gordon said he purchased the property in the 1980s and has since upgraded the land. He planted clover as a plant material that is resistant to drought, consistent in height, and a food source for wildlife.

"It was a dump when I bought it," he said. "It was basically the village dump with left over concrete and other building materials scattered. Since then, I've filled in and leveled the land off. I also provided an easement for the township to place a tornado siren."

Gordon added that the unimproved land has also become a popular parking spot during village parades.

"It's really not public parking," he said. "I'm going to post no trespassing signs before the next parade."

"Why am I singled out?" questioned Gordon. "It's easier to harass me than deal with those that complain. I purchased the property and maintained it—maybe someone else would like to own it."

David Lucik, village code enforcer, said the village is not singling out Gordon; rather, attempting to be consistent across the community with regard to the height of grass.

"We're not asking him to cut the clover off completely or get rid of it— only to cut it down to eight inches or less," said Lucik. "Vacant property, whether in a subdivision or anywhere, is included. We have many lots in subdivisions that have some clover in them and they are cut by the owners. Granted, clover is not considered noxious, but there are other weeds involved that are."

Lucik said that in August the question regarding Gordon's property was voted on by the council to have it mowed.

"Right now, one cutting of the lot this fall will be enough to keep it looking good for the rest of the year," he said. "We are just trying to make it the same for all residents."