North Charleston council passes 1st reading of edging ordinance

By Nikki Gaskins

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) Trim up or pay up. An edging ordinance in North Charleston could cost residents there some green.

The proposal passed first reading in an 8-2 vote Thursday night and could ultimately mean North Charleston residents and business owners have to do yard work or pay a hefty fine.

It would force homeowners and businesses to keep their grass trimmed if it's near a sidewalk. For those who don't do it, they could face a $1,000 fine.

It's a fee that doesn't sit well with some people.

"I don't mind doing my lawn, but the edging? I mean, it's difficult," said Joseph Raphael, who has lived in the Park Circle neighborhood for more than a decade.

Raphael believes the ordinance is a bad idea and just another way for the city to make money.

"If you can't afford an edger, what are you going to do? What are we paying property taxes for?" asked Raphael.

During Thursday night's city council meeting, Councilman Todd Olds was hesitant to support the ordinance, saying that many of his constituents are elderly.

"They don't have a problem cutting the grass, but it's the additional labor-intensive work that they're going to do at their age," said Olds.

After the mayor addressed the concern, Olds voted in favor of the ordinance.

"I can assure you if it is a legitimate case where the person is not able do it, they will not be cited or fined," said Mayor Keith Summey, adding that help would be provided for people who could not edge their yards.

Councilman Bob King proposed the ordinance after he said several of his constituents in the Park Circle neighborhood complained about the problem.

"They had problems walking in the area with sidewalk all covered up with sand, bushes, and all that stuff," said King. "It's a quality of life issue."

Angela McJunkin's department will be in charge of enforcing the ordinance if it passes.

"We will send out the notices, giving the residents warning that they do need to edge their sidewalks," said McJunkin, the director of code enforcement. "When the grass grows into the sidewalks, it does tear up the sidewalks from time to time, and it could pose a hazard."

In order for the ordinance to take effect, it must pass on second reading.