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New grass cutting rules could “bee” friendly

Those who are cultivating natural areas on their properties to attract and promote pollinating species may soon be exempt from grass cutting requirements.

Grass cutting and natural area buffer zones will come up for discussion by council at Committee of the Whole on Thursday.

Concern that the grass cutting bylaw may be in direct conflict with the County’s initiative to create pollinator-friendly zones, was brought to council Aug. 27.

Pierre Klein received a bylaw enforcement notice in July that his Cherry Valley property was not in compliance as growth of grass and weeds were in excess of the 8 inches (20 centimetres) allowed. The issue was directed to staff for a report.

Thursday’s report of the Engineering, Development and Works Commission recommends amending the bylaw on lots larger than one acre, where an owner has identified natural area on the lot designed to attract and promote pollinating species, be exempt from the cutting requirements of the bylaw provided the natural area has a cut buffer 2.5 metres in width when adjacent to a residential lot.

The bylaw is currently enforced on a complaint-driven basis and applies to all yards and vacant lots regardless of size, location and surrounding area. A complaint has not be received outside of the built-up residential areas in several years.

Klein’s property is a large parcel within the village of Cherry Valley and is surrounded by smaller residential lots.

“Since Mr. Klein’s deputation, it has been recognized that there is a growing trend where owners of larger parcels are opting to leave their properties more natural, reducing their carbon footprint and being more environmentally-friendly,” said Andy Harrison, chief building official, in his report.

“Allowing larger properties within the hamlets, villages and towns identified as pollinator friendly zones will be consistent with the County’s efforts.”

In 2014, the County piloted a concept on County Road 13 for Pollinator Friendly Roadside Zones. Staff have been asked to provide a report prior to the end of 2015 as to the viability and creation of other zones.

Filed Under: Local News

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