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Charlottetown homeowner who refused to mow lawn receives 'excessive' bill from city

Mike Ross paid the $789.42 bill to the city on Friday. (Tony Davis/CBC)
Mike Ross paid the $789.42 bill to the city on Friday. (Tony Davis/CBC)

Michael Ross knew he would be receiving a bill from the City of Charlottetown for yardwork on his property last fall.

What he wasn't expecting was a bill for almost $800.

His lot, after all, is less than one-tenth of an acre and it took the workers less than hour to cut the grass and clean it up, he said.

"I was thinking it was maybe going to be around $500 or something, and even that I would have thought excessive," he said.

Ross was ordered to mow his lawn last summer due to a city bylaw that dictates grass can't be more than 150 millimetres high.

Ross refused, saying he likes the look of his natural lawn, and it also provides food for birds and pollinators like bees.

Nonetheless, municipal workers arrived in the fall with trimmers and did the work themselves.

Michael Ross says he wasn't expected the bill to be so high because his lot is less than 300 square metres. (Tony Davis/CBC)
Michael Ross says he wasn't expected the bill to be so high because his lot is less than 300 square metres. (Tony Davis/CBC)

At the time, Ross said he planned to challenge the bylaw in court, saying it is unconstitutional. He did not want to discuss any legal action when speaking with CBC last week.

"I'm much more concerned as a taxpayer than I am as somebody who has to pay the bill once," he said.

In an email, the city said the unsightly premises bylaw helps "maintain Charlottetown's picturesque and safe reputation."

It said the bill is based on the number of people, amount of equipment used, and the length of time it took to cut the lawn.

Ross paid the total amount of the bill — $789.42 — on Friday, but at least it did not cost him his sense of humour.

He joked that if that's the going rate for mowing lawns, he might consider a new career.

"I was thinking about starting to cut grass for the next summer. ... For $800 I'll cut grass the whole day."