Thursday, April 15, 2010

Antelope Valley Weed Abatement Notice and the Responsibility to the Vacant Land Investor

Los Angeles County via the Dept. of Agricultural Commissioner Weights and Measures has increased its Annual Weed Abatement Notices. There have been a number of properties in Lancaster and Palmdale California which have gotten this notice for the first time. The Abatement Notice levied to properties when an abundant amount of weeds, brush, neglected vegetation or trash has accumulated on properties. This includes homes and vacant lots. In addition, properties were sited if these weeds are located near a house or structure as they create potential fire hazards to all homes. Specifically in Antelope Valley there is a special notice. If your property has a large amount of tumbleweeds, which can roll onto roads, damage agriculture crops or build up near homes and fences then your property can be sited. If you are sited then the responsibility of the property owner is to clear the dry weeds or brush within one hundred to two hundred feet from a home or structure, and ten feet from a road.

Some owners are getting this notice and they do not have an abundant amount of weeds on the property. It is because of the special information regarding tumbleweeds. Because of environmental factors, inspections and abatement of the current season’s growth of tumbleweeds on parcels in the Antelope Valley will not begin until Oct of 2010. We surmise the Department of Agriculture will wait until the end of the summer season to see if tumbleweeds have rolled onto your property.

There have been hearings in late February for property owners who wish to present objections to their notice. After April 1, 2010 the County will be inspecting properties for excessive weeds and brush. If property owners have not inspected their parcels and cleared bush per the notice then the county will begin enforcement of the notice and clear excessive weeds, and the cost of the county abatement will be assessed to the property tax bill. If the property owner has not cleared the property themselves by March 15, 2010 then the county abatement team is on its way. The county has already assessed an inspection fee of $45 even if the property owner cleared the brush themselves. If the county hires independent firms to enforce the notice then the abatement fee will be much more expensive then if the property owner were to maintain their own parcel. In addition, if you received the notice and sold the property then the sited property owner will be liable for the assessed abatement fees, and not the new owner.

These abatement notices may increase over the years as Antelope Valley grows, so it is important to view your property periodically and maintain any debris and vegetation. The debris issue is a separate issue as people have used remote parts of the valley as a private dump. The land investor has less issues then the home investor but still must invest with responsibility.