Hate mowing your lawn? Whatever you do, don’t move to Canton, OH.

The Canton City council decided to increase the punishment for overgrown lawns by making a second offense a fourth-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $250 and up to 30 days in jail. A first offense is punishable by a $150 fine.

The amendment passed second reading, and is up for passage next week.

I am so astounded that anyone would think it is appropriate to put someone in jail for not mowing their lawn that I’m not quite sure what to say about it.

While I understand that there are laws concerning what one can and cannot do with his own property, tossing someone is jail for not mowing his lawn is just absurd. There is no public safety issue (unless, of course, there are wild animals nesting in your two-feet tall grass), so it boils down to cranky neighbors. I don’t like your “lawn” (or unkempt field of weeds and unidentifiable greenery), so I’m going to call the city on you!

Look, I live right next door to a hippie whose lawn can only be described as a jungle with various and sundry “art projects” scattered around the property. It’s not my style, for sure, but she likes it and it’s her property. I try to enjoy the fact that it’s different from the lawn Nazi on the other side of us – I’m pretty sure he measures the length of his grass after each mowing. This is all actually really good for us “normal” folks who get around to mowing every couple of weeks or so – we don’t have 1 inch high grass, nor do we have a hayfield. I think we strike a nice balance for the neighborhood…

What we (or, more accurately, what the Canton City Council) need(s) to remember is that there is a difference between regulating one’s property for the sake of public safety and regulating to satisfy the fussy notions of neighbors who want everyone’s property to look like their’s. You don’t like your neighbors lawn? Move.

I know someone’s going to say that an unkempt lawn affects property value and that very well may be. But, come on…how far are we going to take this? Don’t like the color of your neighbor’s house? Get the town council to force them to paint it! Got an ugly mailbox? The City Commission will decide on a uniform mail receptacle! The ugliness of your property makes mine worth less, so I’m gonna whine until something is done about it!

I say let’s boycott lawn-mowing to show support for our brothers and sisters in Canton, OH. Let that grass grow, folks, without fear of prison!