EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – A Northeast El Paso resident received a notice from Code Enforcement officers about the native golden poppies covering her front yard and a part of the sidewalk, asking her to clean them up or face fines.

Jody Walker’s front yard has been popping out yellow poppies, each year more than the last one, but this spring it earned her a notice from the city’s Code Enforcment for overgrown weeds.

These flowers are native to the area, especially the Northeast.

Not far from Walker’s home, they grow at the Castner Range on Franklin Mountains and are celebrated each year with a Poppy Fest. Caster Range was recently designated a national monument by President Biden after a 50-year effort by Borderland activists.

Walker never thought they would be considered weeds especially because you can see signs at Castner Range that warn visitors not to pick or step on them.

“The irony was not lost there. I was a little surprised, especially because we just celebrated the entire month of March, four weekends of a poppy festival with no poppies,” she said.

She believes the city should be clearer about what constitutes weeds.

City’s Code Enforcement Director Steve Alvarado said any plants that are not native to El Paso and have grown over 12 inches are considered weeds.

“Plants, brush, flowering, plants, any fruit-bearing plants are not weeds. Anything you’ve planted, bought from a local nursery – that’s not considered a weed,” Alvarado said.

However, in Walker’s situation, he explained, the poppies should not be an issue as long as they are maintained, they don’t obstruct the sidewalk and the weeds growing around them or among them are cleared out.

“We just ask that they would keep the public right of way clear, meaning the sidewalk, curb, gutter things along that line,” he said.

Walker said she has since cleaned up some of the poppies hitting the sidewalk but does not plan on getting rid of all of them, especially from her front yard.

“We’re covered in concrete here and that doesn’t help the [global] warming. It’s nice to see a little bit of green,” she said adding that she will wait for the poppies to wither on their own in the next couple of weeks and then clear them out.

If you receive a notice from Code Enforcement, you will have seven days to clean up.

The officers will check and if you don’t comply you will receive a final notice to which non-compliance will result in a city crew cleaning your property, but you will have to pay for the services.

Your property could also be put on lien.

Alvarado explained that they are willing to work with each resident and will provide extensions for cleaning if needed.

Residents can call 311, the non-emergency number, and request an extension or report any overgrown weeds.

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