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Things you didn’t know are illegal in Winston-Salem

Your guide to being an upstanding Winston-Salem resident.

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Abiding by the rules ensures that every resident feels respected which creates a stronger sense of community.

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How well do you know the laws in Winston-Salem? Thanks to one of our readers, Richard L., we’ve done the digging for you to find some unusual laws, ordinances, or regulations that citizens may not know about. We’ve listed them in no particular order. Let’s test if you’re a good citizen.

Rule 1: Burying trees and plants

It’s illegal to bury any trees, brush, stumps, limbs or other organic material within the city, except where a demolition landfill permits. (Sec. 10-35)

Rule 2: Hosting a bonfire

Having a bonfire on private property or public ground is illegal unless approved by the city to prevent fires. This does not apply to outdoor cooking and other recreational purposes.

Rule 3: Setting off fireworks

Some fireworks including firecrackers, aerial fireworks, and bottle rockets are illegal to possess in the state of NC. Violators could be fined up to $500 and face imprisonment of up to six months.

Rule 4: Lawn parking

Parking on front yards is illegal. It is only allowed during a special event or circumstance, but will require a permit by the Neighborhood Services Department. Permits are limited to two approvals per calendar year, per residence. Violators could be fined $25. (Sec. 42-173)

Rule 5: Parked vehicles at residence

If you live on a lot zoned residential and have two or more untagged vehicles, you can be cited by code enforcement. The city could consider your yard a storage yard, which is legally known as a motor vehicle repair and maintenance facility.

Rule 6: Letting your yard grow wild

You are responsible for cutting weeds or high grass over eight inches on your lawn. Failure to maintain curb appeal can result to fines over $380. Homeowners will also be fined for uncut shrubs. Exceptions apply to those who register their yard as a natural landscape with the city.

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Rule 7: Tampering with roads

It is unlawful for anyone to remove sand, dirt, or any stone from any street, road, or sidewalk within the city without permission of the assistant city manager/public works. Violations will be classified as a class 3 misdemeanor and offenders may be fined up to $500. (Sec. 74-9)

Rule 8: Driving with high beams

Motorists should control how much light they project while operating their vehicle. It’s unlawful to project glaring or dazzling light to anyone in front of your vehicle. (Sec. 42-81)

Rule 9: Removing recyclable objects

It is unlawful for anyone to remove recyclable materials from recycling containers, whether it’s at a curbside location or at a recycling drop-off center. Violators may be fined a civic penalty of $100, which must be paid within 15 days of the date it’s issued. (Sec. 26-10k)

Rule 10: Noisy dogs

Any person living within incorporated city limits with one or more dogs who habitually bark, howl, or whine for at least 15 minutes may be fined up to $500. That applies in cases where the noise is of serious annoyance for neighbors and interferes with their personal enjoyment on their premises. (Sec. 6-9)

Here’s how to report a code violation:

  1. File a complaint
  2. The city will follow up with an inspection and send a notice to violator(s)
  3. The recipient will have eight days to fix the issue
  4. If the issue is not fixed, the resident will be charged fines.

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