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City Council Moves to Protect Beauty Sleep

City council says no to early morning lawn mowing and cracks down on solicitors.

The City Council voted unanimously Monday to push back the time city residents can mow their lawn or use other such equipment to 9 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

City code officials initially proposed minor changes to clarify the city code, which Code Compliance Supervisor Steve Roberts said was confusing to some residents.

But some members of the City Council balked at the permitted 7 a.m. start time on weekends.

“Am I the only one that thinks someone starting a lawnmower at 7 a.m. is a wee bit early, particularly if it’s my neighbor,” said Mayor G. Frederick Robinson when the ordinance was discussed earlier this month.

The council agreed, voting Monday to move the start time to 9 a.m on weekends.   

The ordinance permits the use of lawn care equipment, snow removal equipment, household tools and portable appliances on Saturday and Sundays between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. Residents will be permitted to use such devices from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. Monday through Friday.   

Household generators are permitted for use during emergencies. Testing and routine maintenance of the generators can take place between the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Solicitors Must Be Licensed, Can Go Door-to-Door until 7 p.m.

Some door-to door solicitors in Bowie were getting around license requirements by claiming they were not selling a product or a service, but offering what they would describe as a free home survey or other free services, according to Roberts.

The most frequent offenders, Roberts said, were home improvement companies.

The City Council adopted an ordinance Monday that will require those solicitors who say they are not selling a product or service to be licensed.

“We believe their ultimate intent is to sell their product after the free home inspection has been conducted and therefore should be licensed with the city,” Deutsch wrote in a memo to the city council last month.

Solicitors must have a county-issued identification card as well as a city ID, Roberts said. There are some exceptions. Civic organizations, for example, are exempt, Roberts said.

Solicitors may go door-to-door between the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.

In other business:

The Council approved a resolution allowing the State Highway Administration to plant trees on 41.6 acres at four different sites in Bowie to replace trees removed during the construction of the Intercounty Connector by planting trees elsewhere on public lands. The sites include: land on Route 214 at Queen Anne Bridge Road, Collington Manor, Pope’s Creek and Glen Allan.

The Council waived bidding requirements to contract with a Boston-based energy management company that will provide an incentive program for the city to take its facilities off-line during peak periods of electric use and rely on generator power. The city—which had previously worked with another company for the past two years—could earn an estimated $94,500 for the coming summer season.

The City Council is sending a letter to U.S. Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), along with Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Donna Edwards (D-MD) urging them to help restore $150 million in Metro funding, cut from a House spending bill. An estimated 10 percent of Bowie's 58,000 residents use public transit to get to work, the letter states.

Leslie March 24, 2011 at 11:29 AM
So persons who work in the service industry, police, fire, hospitals can't use a snow blower if they work on the weekend. They have to work on the weekend, can't call in when it snows, and now can't use a snow blower - nice.
Susan March 24, 2011 at 12:53 PM
I agree - I think snow blowers should have been exempted from this. When we get hit with big storms, you have to keep up with the snow 1-2 hours can make all the difference. Example - the blizzard we got last year. I don't think the council thought this through.
Uncle Blue March 24, 2011 at 01:28 PM
A great example of our esteemed Mayor being out of touch with working man and families in Bowie. Robinson has been long removed form the daily grind of the typical working person and/or a parent with young children. This is ridiculous. Reminds me of the old Marine advertisement, most of us get more done before 9am than the Mayor gets done all day. Yes, 7 am is a bit early, but I see no problem at all with cutting grass at 8 am on a summer morning before the heat and humidity hit. I'd like the Mayor to opine and disclose if he cuts his own grass or if he has a landscaper complete the work for him. Anyone who does not like the sound of a lawn mower on a weekend morning should question their decision to move to suburbia. Is like the people who buy a house next to an airport and then complain the planes are too loud.
Joe Neighbor March 24, 2011 at 03:34 PM
I'm not quite sure why it matters whether the mayor cuts his own grass or not. This ordinance applies to landscapers as well as private citizens. And the mayor does have a working class background, and he probably had to work during snowstorms when others had the luxury of staying home. He's paid his working class dues. Also, the mayor has grandchildren and working class children, so I don't buy the "out of touch" remark. Uncle Blue just likes to beat the mayor up any chance he can. Having said that, I'm not sure why they wouldn't exempt snow removal equipment, unless you had a delusional idiot trying to snowblow his driveway in July. I read the document on the city's website, and they used the term "snow removal equipment." I suppose that's generic enough to be a shovel. The council did receive input from the public, and some citizens did voice the concern about wanting to cut their lawn before it got too hot. I'm not sure if the snowblower issue was raised or not. So not sure if it was intentional or overlooked. I wouldn't say that they are out of touch. They did solicit input from the public, so they clearly wanted to be "in touch."
Uncle Blue March 24, 2011 at 05:29 PM
Joe, The reason I ask if the Mayor cuts his own grass is that if he did, he'd appreciate how difficult it is to arrange and schedule one's day to include yard care. Especially, when on most days in the summer, we are dealing with humidity and temperatures that are not the most comfortable. This is now made even more difficult now that you can't begin until 9am. If the mayor cuts his own grass he would understand this. If he understands this and still supported the ordinance, well then his judgment should be questioned. Purely logical to ask the question: I wonder if the mayor cuts his own grass? You state a lot of facts about the mayor and you make many assumptions. That is your right, but they'd probably be better served and more accurate if they came from the mayor himself. In the end, this is a restrictive ordinance that is unwarranted and restrictive. Just another example of government interfering with our lives.
Joe Neighbor March 24, 2011 at 06:03 PM
Fact: The mayor was a police officer Fact: The mayor has a son who is a police officer Fact: The mayor has young grandchildren Assumption: I mentioned that he probably had to go to work in the snow at some point in his career. Assumption: The mayor has paid his working class dues, although that's pretty subjective and difficult to prove/disprove So much for my "many" assumptions. By the way, I've never tried mowing my lawn before 9am anyway. I don't like disturbing my neighbors, and the dew on the grass that time of day makes for a bad cut. I don't want to make any more assumptions, but I wonder whether or not you have either. Most of your posts are anti-city, so I never know when you truly believe something or if you just like to be a thorn.
C. Murphy March 24, 2011 at 06:59 PM
Agree with Blue. This is an unwarranted intrusion. Albeit minor it is still unwarranted. Side note: Joe, get your head out of the mayor's trousers.
Joe Neighbor March 24, 2011 at 07:08 PM
Please Murphy. I would never do that. At least, not before 9am on weekends and 7am on weekdays. If you don't mind me asking Blue and Murphy, what is warranted in your opinion? 8am, 7am, no noise ordinance at all?
Uncle Blue March 24, 2011 at 08:23 PM
Joe, have not stated this, but appreciate the respectful dialogue back and forth. To answer your question, if it must be legislated, I would suggest an 8am restriction. Picking hairs between 8am and 9am reminds me of the inane argument over what's better, the 6 minute abs workout or the 7 minute abs workout. I'm not sure what bothers me more, the government intrusion or the time chosen. I notice the golf course, with some of the greenest and lushes grasses in the area, routinely cut their grass at dawn - dew and all. Will this restriction apply to Fred Ryder? I wonder aloud if the mayor and council would support creating an ordinance that prevented my neighbor's dog from barking before 9am. That mutt is much more offensive than their Toro. To your suggestion that I am anti-city, that is not true. I love this city. I am however, anti-big government.
Joe Neighbor March 24, 2011 at 09:22 PM
Uncle. I don't mind the city telling me that I shouldn't mow my lawn before 9am and that my grass shouldn't be 1 2 inches long. I'm fine with that. I also have faith that the city is not out to get anyone, and I don't expect an enforcement officer to be standing over my lawn with a watch at 8:59am on a Saturday morning. I also don't expect them to install sound monitors on light posts to catch offenders. Although I'm not fortunate enough to own a snowblower, I would still use it at 6am if I had to, and I don't agree with the city's restriction on snow removal equipment. The need to use a snowblower in Bowie is so infrequent, and if people have to get to work, people have to get to work. I see that as different than mowing the lawn. I think being in city government is at time thankless. If there's no ordinance, people will say, "that jerk shouldn't be aloud to do that!" And if there is an ordinance, people say, "how dare they tell me I can't mow my lawn at 7am!" I think the best option is to have an ordinance in place, and enforce it sparingly. Most people will figure out how to get along by themselves, but the ordinance is in place if they can't.
pgcoresident March 25, 2011 at 10:03 PM
Joe your comment brings to mind a question. What hours do the code enforcement officers work? Are they even going to be around to enforce this? I mean, they can hardly issue a citation based simply on the word of a complaining neighbor..
Joe Neighbor March 28, 2011 at 02:28 PM
Good question, pgcoresident. I don't know when they work. I imagine they would have to see someone in action in order to issue a citation. This speaks to my earlier point. Although the code can be enforced and fines levied, I think the main purpose is to provide guidelines for residents to follow. And most residents will probably follow the rules.

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