Being a Better Neighbor

The following information was obtained from the LFUCG’s Booklet entitled “How To Be A Better Neighbor”. You can obtain a copy of this booklet as well as many other informative publications including the Citizens’ Guide to Services booklet by contacting Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government: 859.258.3012.

Nuisances are prohibited under the Code of Ordinances and are generally defined in Chapter 12. They include, but are not necessarily limited to the appearance of any of the following conditions on a property:

  •  Weeds or grass taller than 12 inches
  • Trash, garbage, building debris, refuse or waste of any kind
  • Any readily visible wrecked, junked, partially dismantled or otherwise non-operating motor vehicle, or any motor vehicle not properly licensed if it has remained on the property longer than 10 days and is readily visible from surrounding property
  • Water which is directed or discharged across a public sidewalk, and which forms ice on the sidewalk
  • Furniture, equipment, or appliances that are upholstered, or not designed for outdoor use, that is used or stored outdoors

The Division of Code Enforcement (258.3270) normally enforces nuisance violations. A civil penalty lien may be filed against the property under certain circumstances or a criminal citation may be issued for up to $500 per violation. In addition, after providing notice and an opportunity to correct the violation, the UCG may elect to abate the costs and expenses incurred. An administrative appeals process has been established which allows property owners to appeal notices of violations and civil penalties.

Certain noise disturbances are prohibited and should be reported to the Division of Police for enforcement. Noise disturbances are defined as sounds that endangers or injures persons or property or which annoy or disturb a reasonable person of normal sensitivities. Specifically prohibited noise disturbances include, but are not limited to the following activities, if the noise disturbance also crosses the boundary of a dwelling unit:

  • Operating tools or equipment including lawn mowers, between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. any day and between 11 p.m. and 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday
  • Loudspeakers, public address systems, powered model vehicles, miscellaneous (loading or handling boxes, crates, building materials, etc.) between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.
  • Music by radio, television, musical instrument or similar device
  • Repairing, testing or operating a motor vehicle, motorcycle, motorbike or motorboat
  • Barking dogs, anytime, or any animal that creates a noise disturbance [Sections 14-70-80]

In addition, noise disturbances across public ways or in public places are generally prohibited including playing of a motor vehicle’s stereo or similar device in such a manner that a noise disturbance is created at least 50 feet away. Info: Division of Police, 258.3600.

Barking Dogs: It is unlawful to have a dog whose barking or yelping creates a noise disturbance across the boundaries of your residence. Violators may be charged under the noise ordinance [Section 14-72] and fined $25 to $500. Violations of this ordinance are handled by the Division of Police, 258.3600.

Dog Litter: Owners should not allow dogs to deposit dropping in public places or on the property of others [Section 4-23.1]. When you walk your dog, make sure you take something with you to clean up after it. Make sure to clean up your dog’s droppings in your own yard, too, so they don’t accumulate and create a health hazard [Section 4-23.2 and 11-6]. Be sure to double bag droppings or put them in a container before placing them in the trash [Section 16-8] and never dispose of dog litter in a creek or storm sewer.

Leash Law: Dogs must be confined behind a fence or otherwise securely restrained while on the owner’s property. A dog may be kept unleashed and unconfined on the owner’s property only if the owner is present with the animal and the dog is under the owner’s direct control and supervision. Violators of this Ordinance [Section 4-19] can be fined $10 to $50 for each offense.

[Section 4-21] of the Code of Ordinances authorizes animal control officers to impound dogs running at large. Dogs may run off the leash only in certain marked areas of Masterson Station and Jacobson Parks. It’s always a good idea to leash or otherwise restrain dogs when maintenance or utility workers are expected on your property.

Street Trees
Are located within a public right-of-way, such as the strip between the sidewalk and curb. A FREE permit must be obtained from the UCG’s Urban Forester before a street tree may be planted and before any street tree larger than three inches in diameter may be removed [Section 17B-2 & 17B-3]. The property owner or occupant is responsible for maintaining street trees and may not allow them to interfere with the sidewalk or obstruct the view or passage on the sidewalk or street [Section 17B-8]. There should be a 12 to 14-foot clearance under trees hanging over a street and sidewalks require a 7-foot clearance.

Street trees that are removed by the property owner because of damage or disease must be replaced and fallen trees must be removed by the property owner. The Division of Streets & Roads (425.2255) may remove fallen trees only for emergency public access.

For more information or a brochure on street trees, call the Urban Forester at 258.3286.

Creek & Detention Basins
Property owners are responsible for maintaining the ditches, creeks and detention/retention basins on their property. Refer to your record plat and deed for details on these requirements. For information about maintenance, call the Division of Engineering at 258.3410.

House Numbering
The Urban County Government has a very specific ordinance for numbering property, buildings and fire gates [Section 17-2]. Having your property marked properly could save your life in case of a police or fire emergency, and it certainly makes it easier for delivery people to find you. The Division of Code Enforcement has the authority [Section 14-10] to cite property owners who do not comply with this ordinance. For specifics about the house numbering ordinance call the GIS/Mapping office at 258.3386.

Blocking Driveways: Parking in front of a public or private driveway is prohibitied [Section 18-119]. Violations of this ordinance are handled by the Division of Police, 258.3600.

Large Vehicles: Large vehicles may not be parked on residential streets for longer than two hours except when loading or unloading. Additionally, such vehicles may not park in front yards (except in driveways) and may not block sidewalks. Limited exceptions exist for recreational vehicles [Section 18-129]. Parking a vehicle that is used for commercial purposes on a regular basis is generally prohibited in residential areas.

Parking on Sidewalks or in Yards: It is unlawful to park any vehicle on the sidewalk, utility strip or other area designated for pedestrian use. It is also unlawful to park in the front or side yard of a corner lot except on an approved residential driveway [Section 18-129].

Twenty-four Hour Parking: Vehicles may not be parked on any street for more than 24 hours. The Division of Police will issue a 24-hour warning notice and the vehicle may be impounded if it is not moved within hours after the notice is issued [Section 18-122].

Sidewalks & Safety
A sidewalk is a public right-of-way, but the owner or occupant of the adjoining property is responsible for maintaining it.

Road or Sidewalk Obstruction: It is unlawful to allow any tree, bush, other vegetation and items like basketball goals to obstruct the view of a street passage on a sidewalk. Please follow the neighborly policy of not leaving objects on the sidewalk, and always direct lawn sprinkler spray away from the sidewalk.

Sidewalk Repairs: The owner of the real estate abutting the sidewalk is responsible for replacing or repairing defective sections of the sidewalk [Article 7 Chapter 17]. If the owner or agent cannot be found, the caretaker or occupant is responsible for sidewalk repairs [Section 17-147]. If the sidewalk is not repaired a civil penalty lien may be assessed against the property owner. It is important that manholes not be covered when sidewalk repairs are made because access to manholes is necessary for maintenance and repair work. The sidewalk inspection program is complaint responsive, meaning an inspection is done when a citizen files a complaint with the Division of Code Enforcement. The Urban County Government has a sidewalk replacement grant program that provides financial assistance to residential owners. Information about this program is available by calling the Division of Code Enforcement at 258.3270.

Snow & Ice Removal: When it snows, the owner or occupant (or caretaker) of the property abutting sidewalks is responsible for clearing them [Section 17-31]. All snow should be removed within four hours after daylight and after the snow has stopped falling. Ice must also be removed or covered with sand, salt or another suitable substance. Violators of this ordinance are subject to fines of $5 to $100 per day.

Whom Should I Call?

Street Lights Out: 1.800.981.0600

Kentucky Utilities: 255.2100

Columbia Gas: 288.0215

Verizon: 255.0200

Kentucky American Water Company: 269.2386

Mosquitoes: 231.9791

Humane Society: 233.0044

District Court: 246.2228

County Clerk: 253.3344

Board of Education: 381.4100

Property Valuation: 246.2722

Health Department: 252.2371