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Springfield Grass Ordinance

Updated: Wednesday, June 25 2014, 04:09 PM CDT

SANGAMON CO. -- A new ordinance has been proposed for unincorporated parts of Sangamon county. It would require residents to keep the grass in their yards mowed.

One local resident is not happy about this. He says it affects his livelihood.
This new law, if passed would also allow the county to come in and cut down any high grass or long weeds.

Arvin pierce says he's hoping they will  move cautiously before enforcing the ordinance.

Arvin Pierce has been keeping Honey bees right here in his yard for the past 12 years.

"We figured we'd just get a couple of hives. Well, I got  couple of hives and that turned out to be a whole lot of fun. I realized how fun they really are and I just couldn't stop."

And over time, a couple of hives has grown to 18.

Though Pierce says bee keeping isn't just a hobby.

"We decided to change our diet and we decided it was just gettin' too expensive to buy honey"

He also says it's become a business.

"I sell honey,so that's part of what I do. I market that. I'm not just a guy that just loves to keep bees and just loves to hoard them and stack them off in places."

But it's not the beehives in Pierce's yard that would immediately catch your eye. His house is surrounded with grass, some of which is 6 feet tall. Something pierce says helps his bees.

"They need to be able to access an area where there's wild flower. Something growing, blooming that they can get nectar and pollen to feed their young."
If passed, a new ordinance may force pierce to cut down on what's become such an important part of his life.

The Sangamon County Board recently passed a measure aimed to fix overgrown and unsightly lawns in unincorporated parts of the county.

If this goes through, residents in these areas will face a fine if their grass isn't cut and meeting the law's requirements.

Carl Huffman, Pierce's neighbor, says while it's an issue, Pierce's grass is actually benefiting him in some ways.

"It helps pollinate the surrounding area. My fruit trees especially benifit from his bees"

As for now, Pierce says he has no immediate plans to change a thing.

"C'mon, really all I'm asking for is a little understanding. I'm not hurting anybody here. This is my property. I'm out in the country."

Pierce says if this law takes effect, it's likely he won't be able to pay a fine.
He says he's not looking for any trouble from the county but wants to raise awareness on how important tall grass and weeds are for not only for his bees, but for other pollinators like bats, moths and ants.

Springfield Grass Ordinance

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