Charlottesville's Code of Ordinances, section 5-149, prohibits vegetation over 18” high, not including shrubs, trees, cultivated gardens, or vegetation along natural watercourses required to prevent erosion. It also prohibits vegetation or tree limbs from extending into the sidewalk or public street. Also, section 5-155 establishes that it shall be the responsibility of the property owner to cut from their property line to the public right-of-way, including any portions between the sidewalk and the street.
Using the process outlined below, the City will notify the property owner of the violation. If the owner does not abate the violation within the allowed 10-day time period, the City will have the property cut by a contractor and send the owner a bill for a minimum of one half-hour of labor plus an administrative fee of $75.
A violation is reported to the City by a citizen or spotted during a neighborhood sweep.
If the violation was received via citizen complaint, the inspector for the area performs an inspection to determine whether a violation exists, and takes a digital photograph of the violating vegetation.
The inspector updates their inspection records.
The inspector sends a notice of violation to the “owner of record” for the property, as determined by the Real Estate Assessor’s Office records. This notice will usually be accompanied by a photo of the violation, and it allows ten days for correction.
During this ten-day period the violation may be appealed if the property owner feels that the notice was issued in error for any reason.
After the ten-day period has expired there may be no new appeals, and the inspector performs a re-inspection of the property to determine if the violation has been corrected.
If the violation has been corrected, the investigation is closed and records updated to reflect correction.
If the violation remains uncorrected, the inspector notifies one of the City’s mowing contractors to cut the offending vegetation – this usually occurs within 5 days of the expiration of the correction period.
The property owner is billed through the City’s Finance Department for the contractor’s costs plus an administrative fee of $75.
If the bill remains unpaid for thirty days, it may be converted to a lien against the property as provided for by the Charlottesville Code of Ordinances, section 5-4.
Please note that it may take several 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.
NATURAL LANDSCAPING WITH "VEGETATION MANAGEMENT PLAN" (VMP)
The City has established a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for establishing natural landscaping areas on private properties. Establishing such natural landscaped areas requires submission of a Vegetative Management Plan (VMP) Permit Application. Citizens wishing to establish such a plan can find the SOP and a printable copy of the application here:
TO REPORT A VIOLATION
To report a violation, call Neighborhood Development Services at (434) 970-3182 and provide the address or general location of the violation so that your call may be forwarded to the appropriate inspector for that area.
IF YOU WERE CITED
If you were cited for a violation and would like to speak with an inspector, please call Neighborhood Development Services at (434) 970-3182 and request to speak with the inspector who issued the notice. Our goal is to obtain voluntary compliance; therefore reasonable requests for extra time or for referrals for special assistance are granted when applicable.