A quick dispatch from the landscaping dispute prevention file:
Last week, the shubbery-conscious village of Southampton, N.Y., passed a law requiring property owners to manicure their boundary-line hedges at least once a year. Those defiant of the new legislation, created by the village board to minimize landscaping-related altercations between neighbors and “prevent such hedges from becoming overgrown and unsightly,” could face a $1,000 fine or a two-week stint in the slammer. Yep, two weeks in jail for not keeping your hedge up to snuff.
The Hamptons, exclusive summer playground of ultra-rich water hogs, has emerged as ground zero for hedge-related rows in recent years. Even domestic doyenne Martha Stewart has had her fair share of shubbery drama in the past. In addition to the hedge-grooming requirements that must be performed by July 31 of each year, the legislation states that property owners must seek written permission from their neighbors to trim the oft-neglected hedges that face their neighbors’ properties.
Southampton Village Attorney Richard Deptris describes the importance of the “pretty unique” law that’s due to go into effect next year to 27East.com:
It’s a practical matter. The adjacent neighbor has to either tolerate an expanding, growing hedge overhanging onto his property or has to cut it himself — or has to go out and hire somebody to cut it himself, and there’s no recourse for getting that expense back from the actual owner of the hedge.
Hmmm. The whole “overgrown and unsightly” thing is a bit vague (you can read the law here) but whatever keeps Southampton residents from tearing at each other’s throats is a good thing, I guess.
I've asked it before and I'll ask it again: what are your thoughts on city/town/village-mandated landscaping ordinances? Are they a necessary method of keeping up appearances within a community or totally unnecessary and intrusive? Have you been fined (or been threatened with jail time) for not keeping your yard "properly" groomed?
Google Maps screenshot of Southampton: Matt