Violations warn Rowlett tornado victims to start cleaning properties

News 8's Marie Saavedra has more.

ROWLETT, Texas --  It wasn't that long ago that people in Rowlett were huddled in their homes as a monster tornado blasted through their neighborhood.

Many are still just trying to put their lives back together, including Kelsey Jirik, who hasn't lived in her house since December 26, 2015.

"Basically everything just kind of like caved in on itself," she said.

Five months after the tornado, she’s moving back in. But when she returned to her neighborhood, she noticed signs in yards from the City of Rowlett.

"It says violation, but then, in Sharpie they’ve written 'just a warning,'" she said. "It’s basically saying that the weeds and grass on the premises are taller than 12 inches."

It says if property owners have not mowed in a week, the city will do it -- and you’ll have to pay.

Not a very warm welcome home.

"I’m more concerned about getting my sidewalk repaired, getting my sidewalk rebuilt, [and] making sure that I’m passing all my permits and inspections," Jirik said. "The last thing on my mind is, 'I need to go mow my lawn that may or may not break my lawn mower.'"

To some, the signs may feel like a bright orange insult. But the City of Rowlett says it’s less about the actual weeds, and more about weeding out neglectful owners.

"We’re advocates for the community -- not trying to get anybody down," said Maria Martinez, community services manager for the City of Rowlett.

Martinez says if you’ve received the sign, but you’re working on rebuilding your property, give the city a call and tell them. They’ll back off.

Their real goal is to learn which property owners haven’t even started cleaning up their yard and to make sure they do.

"I see their point... Yeah," Jirik said.

She is all for cleaning up the block she’s moving back into, but she’s glad the city knows to be sensitive to the people who still have much more to do before they mow.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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