Division of Park Maintenance & Properties

Vacant Lots and Structures

Weather permitting, the Division begins cutting grass and weeds on City of Cleveland-owned vacant properties during the last two (2) weeks of April. The objective is to keep vacant properties within the City aesthetically pleasing while eliminating health and safety hazards through the removal of debris from vacant lots and structures.

The Division systematically proceeds through the 17 wards within the City of Cleveland. After the completion of the first cycle of cutting vacant properties and structures, the process is resumed for at least two (2) more cycles over the course of the summer.

Vacant Lots

Using industrial-strength tractors, crews cutting grass and weeds proceed through the main and side streets of each City ward, systematically cutting vacant lots owned by the City of Cleveland. A hand crew follows behind the tractor within a few days, ensuring that any trimming is done and any remaining debris are prepared for pick-up.

If, while inspecting, it is determined that a vacant lot is privately owned and needs to be cut, the city will cut that lot and invoice the owner for services.

Vacant Structures

Comprised of workers with industrial-strength lawnmowers and trimmers, crews proceed along a systematic cycle, ensuring that tree lawns and both front and back lawns of city-owned vacant properties are landscaped.

If, while inspecting, it is determined that a vacant structure is privately owned and needs to be cut, the city will cut grass and weeds surrounding that structure and invoice the property owner(s) for service. Like the Vacant Lot crews, Vacant Structure crews also prepare debris picked up at the work location for pick up. 

Protesting Charges

Annually, a Legal Notice is published advising owners, operators, and persons in possession or control of vacant parcels of the requirements of the City of Cleveland Codified Ordinances Chapter 209. For further information, download the Notification Letter and read Chapter 209

Consistent with Chapter 209, a privately owned vacant structure/lot that has been cut will receive an invoice for the services rendered. The property owner must pay the invoice or protest the charge(s). To protest the charge, the property owner(s) must complete the protest form found on the back of the invoice within 10 days of receiving the invoice, then deliver the original copy and any supporting documents to:

Division of Park Maintenance & Properties 
4th Floor 
500 Lakeside Ave. 
Cleveland, Ohio 44114

Once the protest is received, the investigation is started. Contingent upon the content of the protest and whether or not associated documents are provided, the protest can be granted, denied, or adjusted. A granted protest means the charges will be removed in full. A denied protest means that the charges on the invoice remain as-is. An adjustment means that the invoiced charges may be reduced based on the information that has been provided.

If the protest is denied, a Hearing Form will be sent to the property owner(s) along with the Denial Letter. An in-person hearing may be granted to allow a property owner(s) to bring any documents that may dispute the invoiced charges. The property owner(s) will receive, in writing, a hearing date which will be scheduled for 30 or more days into the future. If the property owner(s) does not attend the hearing or the information they provide is insufficient, the protest is denied.

After a Hearing Denial Letter is issued, the parcel owner(s) has 30 days from the decision date to file an appeal with the Board of Zoning Appeals (BOZA). To request an Appeal of a Denial Letter, contact BOZA at 216-664-2580. 

Occupied Structures

Vacant Structure crews do not service occupied structures. If the grass has grown to a level that could be a safety or health violation, it is referred to the City of Cleveland Department of Health for inspection. 

For questions about the Vacant Lots and Vacant Structure operations, contact the City of Cleveland’s Citizen Support Specialists by dialing 3-1-1 (within the City of Cleveland city limits) or 216-664-2000 for assistance.

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