Can you imagine that this would happen? Aren't some laws just so silly? What are your thoughts about this?
Here is a link that might be useful: Newslink
total outrage in my garden community but the good news is that the charges have been dropped - it was just posted over on FB by one of my garden friends - looks like us gardeners won this battle :) .....
Here is a link that might be useful: charges dropped
Wow. So typical!! Nosy neighbors who have no right to dictate what this woman does in her own yard (THEY should be taken to court in my opinion) as well as corrupt township/city officials who don't care about the quality of life in their town and who would sell their grandmothers to collect their fees. (I lived next to a bar that started having rock bands till 1:30 am in a residential zone. What did the township do? NOTHING.)
Glad the chargtes were dropped. Now, she needs to visit this forum to see how to turn the area into a pretty and welcoming garden while maintaining those raised bed for veggies! I see a picket fence, paths, and flowers, too! Oh, and a bird bath!
glad to hear the charges were dropped. The thing is, this sort of thing happens too often. If Michelle Obama added a veggie garden in the White House's front lawn, then it shouldn't be a problem in anyone's yard. Perhaps by-laws should be ammended to dictate a nicely kept front yard regardless of what one plants there (except banned plants of course). I've seen unkempt front yards and so the objectives should really be about keeping things neat and eye friendly.
Just wanted to point out the charges haven't exactly been dropped. The city attorney is reviewing the case and she still has a court date on the 26th.
It definitely looks nicer than the neighbor's lawns. I've read several articles on this story and it seems they object to the raised beds no matter what is in them. Definitely a city should only be involved if public safety is at risk. An HOA is a different matter and some of them can be strict to the point of dictating specific plant lists so check before buying a house.
Yes, this was bad for America in general. Private property must be honored and gardens need to be encouraged! Most Americans have been kept in the dark about many things. It is easier on the government to control the general population that way. look up " Jury Nullification" It is even quoted in the Maine State Constitution. It is a very old practice that the founders of America wrote often about in their literature. According to the Maine State Consitution and the American founders, the jury has the right to judge BOTH the facts and the law. It was cited as the last defence of the people to respond to bad law or corrupt government. In other words, if there is a law making planting a garden or any other hurtful law against the people, then anytime a person goes to trail for breaking that law, the jury simply finds the person innocent and doesn't have to explain why. But if every person who gets charged with bad law, such as growing a tomatoe, or harvesting rainwater from their roof, is found NOT GUILTY soon the government gets the idea and changes the law or at the very least good people don't go to jail or pay heavy penalties for bad or corrupt law. JURY NULLIFICATION is something your government and especially lawyers don't want to average person to understand let a lone practice. If you find yourself on a jury you have the right to JUDGE BOTH THE LAW IN THIS PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCE AS WELL AS THE FACTS. This is true in every state of America. Americans had better start learning what the founders of this country provided us to keep our freedoms while we still can grow a garden without a permit or being haraased by officils...... or worse, by going to jail while the neighbors just talk about how terrible and unfair it was when they could have done something about it IF THEY KNEW ABOUT JURY NULLIFICATION!!!!!!!
The next thing you know, she might have a wagon or cart up on blocks with the wheels off. 'tongue in cheek" ;)
I live fairly close to Oak Park, MI and let me tell you it is not even a very affluent community! A lot of the southern part of the city borders Detroit and is fairly run down. They should be happy people are keeping up their yards, not worried about how they're doing it!
Amen, Blake. I'm not the least bit surprised that she was threatened with jail time. Communities commonly have ordinances about compost heaps while at the same time trying to figure out what to do with the local landfills and starting tax-hole urban greenery initiatives. But, using your own waste, biological and paper, to both reduce the landfill and increase greenery isn't allowed.
I have been hearing a little bit about jury nullification lately. Boy, if I had a chance to make judgements on stupid laws...it would only take a few years!
I notice the article says they got her for not registering her dogs. I'm sure they feel at least little satisfied knowing they got one nice jab at her.
Thank goodness for the internet and the ability to communicate it provides!
Yep, a city official saw the dogs through the window then decided to check the records. The dogs shots were current and they are always in the house or fenced yard so were not a threat. Even though they immediately corrected the dog license thing and showed the paperwork to the first judge, that's how the city is keeping the trial date open until they figure out another way to harass them.
LOL, Kathy. The planning guy actually said something like that in an interview! He said "who knows what she'll do next" if we let her off the hook.
Our neighbor had some pretty beat up trucks and stuff from their business in the driveway for several years. We planted a hedge and then they cleaned up their act.
This adorable photo was posted on Julie's fan page. Just had to share.
Here is a link that might be useful: Guarding the front yard garden
That picture is hysterical. Get 'em!
A new article says the dog issue our trusted officials have decided to pursue carries the exact same sentence/fine as the gardening issue. I am so glad our elected officials are smart enough to know when those tomatoes may post a threat to my and my family's safety. We all need more regulation and control, as we are all moronic and untrustworthy. Unless, of course, we get elected. If I get elected I'll have the wisdom to run my life AND yours, too! Comforting, isn't it?
And, one problem with jury nullification, which is the same problem this poor lady has, you still have to pay a lawyer thousands of dollars despite the fact that you are innocent. I wonder if anybody has started a fund for this lady, because she is sure gonna need it. That's the nice thing about it all--even though you're innocent, you can look forward to financial stress trying to prove it to those who "matter."
Yes, there is a fund and she has announced that folks were so generous they don't need any more donations now unless this continues out of control.
Their lawyer is working pro bono and is only reimbursed for actual expenses from the fund.
She started a blog that keeps things up to date and includes some general posts about her family life. She's very entertaining too.
Here's the link if you want to follow along. There's a link there to the FB fan page where I found that fun photo.
Here is a link that might be useful: Julie's blog
If I lived next door to the lady I would be delighted to look out my back door and see such a garden in her back yard, but not in the front. Her neighbors who are not happy looking at her garden probably have no choice as it is likely against city regulations to put up a privacy fence in the front yard.
What a waste of your tax dollars- huh!
Not liking what gardens we see in our neighbor's front yard gives us no right to dictate that she change it. Basically that's what many zoning laws have become, a way for others to dictate what people do with private property. It doesn't matter if most of the property owners disagree with the zoning. Zoning can only be changed by politicians, and they so rarely move in the direction of making things less regulated. Her property is her property, and she should have a right to grow what she pleases regardless of whether her neighbors are pleased.
The fact that a privacy fence might not be allowed is equally ridiculous. If a property owner wants privacy, they should have the right to have a privacy fence on their own property. It shouldn't matter that other people don't like how privacy fences look, etc.
I should stop posting because my soap box gets harder to dismount every time! Oh, well. Sorry for the rant. I often get so frustrated at the micromanagement of our governments at all levels, local, state, and especially federal. It would be nice if they knew what they were doing, but they rarely do...
deanna - You're doing great! You've nailed it exactly. I would go with a different look in my own yard, but it's not my yard.
Front yard fences in my city are regulated as a safety issue.
This is ridiculous. If you don't like the way something looks, and it's not a hazard to anyone, leave it alone!!!
This is the main reason I don't think I could tolerate city life. Whatever you're doing on your own property should be your own business!
Ianna, I so agree with you about a waste of our Tax dollars. We need to demand frugality and wise spending with each penny they take from us. Of course, I suppose its a little late with that, considering how governments have bankrupted so many countries, with the help of their friendly bankers.
Deanna, you are right on. Get up on your soap box more often. I think these rediculus charges happen all the time like this lady's harassing charges to "put her in her place" becasue we don't talk about it often enough. When we don't talk enough about our rights, that allows those in power who want to harrass private citizens and intrude on their private matters, and private property gets away with it very easily. Every day talk shines a light on these matters, helping to protect good people and using social pressure to try to keep those in power more in line with the stright and narrow. But that is all just my opinion.
Privacy fence would be out of place in that setting, but a short picket would set the stage beautifully for a cottage garden.
I do not live in an HOA area, but our city has bi-laws and one is fence zoning. We can have only a 4' tall (or shorter) front fence with 50% visibility. Personally, I would like less visibility from the street but I think they have the rule so that if in an emergency the police can see better into your yard at what is lurking in there. We can however have privacy fences from the set back around the back. I finally have one! We also do have some rules about planting. If you removed and graded (grading requires a permit, although for a yard nobody much gets one) your yard or had other work done, you need to establish greenery every square foot. A plant every square foot even if you have a large tree or plant trees....they are doing this for absorption of run off. When I saw that ladies' vegetable garden, that was honestly the first thing I thought which might be objected too. They may be concerned that her yard creates a run off pattern into someone elses or does not retain enough water.
The city has dropped the criminal gardening charges, but neglected to tell her or explain much about when or why that happened. She still has to appear on the dog license charge.
Apparently she's not allowed to have plants over 30" tall so she might have to trim the tomato plants. I couldn't imagine being under such scrutiny that I have to measure my plants.
Our fence ordinance is similar to yours in Atlanta.
We learned about our ordinance when a neighbor tried to build a barbed wire fence along our property line. Even in Texas barbed wire is not allowed in a residential neighborhood inside the city limits. They had already finished the section running beside a school by the time the city inspector showed up! The city made them get a permit and replace it with plain wire. There is a time to call the city and that was definitely it.
I choose to live on a private road. So I guess I don't have to deal with certain elements that those who choose to live on public roads do? But I thought private property was private property regardless of being on a public or private road.
It amuses me, but sadly so that a town or city would make a rule that a plant can't be higher than thirty inches high. Why would any city care about a plant being 38 inches high as opposed to thrity inches? And keeping the fences low so that the police can see into the front yard to see what is lurking there? That too sounds very intrusive to me. Is privacy not recognized or honored. Why do the police need to see what is happening in anyone's front yard. What about all those million dollar mansions? I am wondering how did they get the city ordinaces written to allow them to build such high fences that the police can't see over to see what is lurking in their front yards? Also are back and side yards immune to what can takes place in a front yard?
But getting back to plants not being higher than thirty inches, that would get a lot of gardeners in trouble!I don't think I could keep many of my plants under thirty inches!
Apparently she's not allowed to have plants over 30" tall
That can't be right. What about shrubs? They have to enforce laws on the books ... not create new ones for this particular situation.
If it is true that no one in her town on that particular housing zone cannot have a plant over thirty inches, then I am wondering how many people are breaking that law that officials are not pressing charges on. I think if the thirty inch rule is really on the books, then it would be very American for her neighbors to circle the wagons and grow all their plants over thrity inches!
I am pretty sure that many officals never press charges to everyone that knowingly or not breached a minor code, they usually only charge the ones they want to harass.
If they charge one person for having a plant over thrirty inches then they have to charge everyone in that housing zone that has a plant over thirty inches. The officials can't be selective in who they charge and don't charge, although that happnes everyday across America.
Many times laws or codes are written because it gives officials a legal excuse to intervene when desired. I have always seen the illegality of attempting suicide as being a common example of that law. When somebody attempts suicide it gives law the opportunity to charge (and convict) them of a minor crime. This then gives the legal system a legal right to force them into treatment regardless of their own desires. It is merely a law that gives the judicial system a legal right to intervene when needed. Naturally, many suicidal people do not wish to be committed to treatment and continue living, which is the justification used for the laws--you can't trust a suicidal person to makes sound judgements, hence the law is good in many people's eyes. That's one example of that type of law most people won't argue with. However, I have a feeling these zoning codes are along the same lines. It wouldn't matter if her neighbor had 6' sunflowers growing. This particular code gives them permission to intervene when they desire to do so. Otherwise the law/code remains unenforced. I don't know the name for these types of laws, but they're numerous.
When I read about having to keep the tomatoes at 30" I didn't get it either and thought the same thing. She wrote it on her blog, but there wasn't much detail as she is a bit overwhelmed right now.
It's hard to say what the city officials are thinking. There was a city council meeting last night and the citizens were not impressed with the attitudes of the mayor and the council.
I just got caught up with this lady's blog. She's hilarious.
This actually had happened to a home in our area but in this case the guy wanted to create a wild life garden in front of his house -- in honour of his mother who had passed away. It was admittedly looking like a patch of tall weeds but it was in fact a naturalized yard and filled with native plants. It wasn't a junk yard. There were complaints, lawsuits, etc.. the guy won eventually. This was years ago and as far as I know - no harm to the neighbors had been done. I don't think it brought down the housing prices in his area.
Yes, definitely enjoying her blog. That poem someone wrote for her is great.
Around here you get city and state encouragement to let your yard go wild. They'll even present you with a yard sign to celebrate.
Remove lawn grass in favor of flowers, veggies, or even gravel and mulch and you could be rewarded with a $100 gift certificate plus up to $300 rebates on your water bill.
Julie's organized raised bed garden isn't what you typically see around here, but if someone called the city they would just laugh.
There are far more serious problems to deal with.
Here is a link that might be useful: Texas Wildscape
If you are right, and there is a type of law on the books or codes that can be enforced selectively at will by officials when they desire, then that sounds quite unconstitutional to me. However, my understanding is that laws and codes can not be selective in enforecement. And if they are the officials can get in quite a bit of trouble for it.
To my understanding, and I am hardly an expert, I beleive that a victim can force an issue about selective enforecement if the town is picking on them, but ignoring the person down the road doing the same thing. Fundamental American law, to my understanding, takes th eposition that if it applies to one person it applies to everyone. But if you are correct, and certain laws and codes are put on the books that can be used selectively against specific indiviuals that officials desire, for whatever reason, then I think we all in in trouble. If what you say is true then we all need to watch and guard our privacy and every word and opinion we utter or write because it could be used against us, if some official, or a friend of an official, decided he didn't like us or how we thought or how we lived our lives. Officals having laws and codes that they can enforce at their decretion at one person but not everyone, sounds very unamerican to me. Do you think the founders of freedom for America wanted us to live in such fear by encouraging such laws on the books that were to be used on the selective few, at various official's discetion, in order to control or harass a specific individual? I wonder how Thomas Jefferson would respond to such selective enforcement tactics.
I do beleive there is a law making sucide illegal. I also beleive that it applies to everyone, not just a selece few that officals may desire to enforce it on. So I am a bit confused by your example. If I tried to commit sucide, they have a law to use against me. And if the lady down the street tried to commit suicide, the same law would applies to her. If a complaint is made, or the offense comes to the attention of officals, the officals must enforce the same law on all people commiting sucide. But that suicide law doesn't seem to be the same as officials selectively enfocing a code on one person and not others. If officals claim there is a code that an individial cannot have any plant over thirty inches and charge you with that offense, while allowing your neigbor to grow sunflowers in the front yard that are obviously more then thirty inches high, then to my undersatnding that victim who was charged has every right to charge the Town officials with harassment for not enforcing the same law on everyone.
I think the example of the sucide law, and the selective enforcement laws are two different things unless I misread or misunderstood you. I also think it is important for all Americans, considering how vulnerable we all are becoming with how officals are invading our personal and private rights to grow food and gardens, that people in general understand that indeed they can circle the wagons and turn the table on officals if they become unreasonable by selectively enforcing a code on some but not all. But that is all just my opinion.
Blake, you're right. Anybody who commits suicide would be subject to that law. It's not a good example.
All laws, however, only matter if they are enforced, and there are certainly laws that are selectively enforced. This past spring NJ passed a law requiring minors to wear helmets at ski resorts. They did not as far as I know specify any specific methods of enforcement for the law. The bill even states that enforcement is the obligation of parents and local police, and NOT the duty of the ski slope. Some speculate that it is a law that allows authorities or ski slopes to step in only when desired.
In addition, a fellow skier has already gotten her NJ season pass notification for next season. It stated the this new law was in effect, but said, "Enforcement of this law is left up to parents and guardians. The parent or guardian of youths who fail to wear helmets would face a $25 fine for the first violation, and $100 fine for subsequent violations." I feel pretty sure that the ski slope isn't going to request a police force begin handing out fines. The ski slope did, however, provide an easy way for season pass purchasers to add helmets to their shopping cart! It is a completely inane law that takes the "nanny" state that much farther and creates a mess regarding enforcement. Some places might apply the law more than others. Other places might call police to enforce the law only if they want to target a troublesome skier/snowboarder.
You know what? Helmets saving lives is actually pretty uncommon since so many ski deaths are due to trauma to the torso, but there's no denying they save lives occasionally. Their biggest advantage is they are a serious protection from head injury. Some ski accidents that would have ended with brain injury before helmets now end with a sore neck and a new helmet bill. That's why so many parents insist that their kids wear one. Some take away the skis if they see the kid without one. Some teens take the helmet off when mom and dad aren't looking, and that's a bad thing for them. But, putting not wearing a helmet in the same league as true crime is bogus and ridiculous. It also makes parents liable for their teens behavior even if the teen was breaking the parent's rules, too, so the parent becomes a criminal, as well. Not wearing a helmet has never endangered another skier, so they aren't a threat to other people at all. Not enough reason to make the parents of kids without helmets criminals. So, this law is a perfect example of both selectively applied law and ridiculous law.
Zoning laws are no different. They are selectively applied too often when the zoning requirements begin to get into stupid minuscule details like plant height. They join the ranks of hundred and hundred and thousands and thousands of unconstitutional laws.
Complaining about selectively applied laws and ordinances is like complaining about the weather. It just happens that way.
rock oak is right about that.
Hello Rock Oak and Ianna,
I wish everyone was just nice and left everyone else alone unless they were really doing harm. Unfortunately, in my opinion, humans, for whatever reason, although they can be kind, they also can be predatory and cruel, among other nasty traits. I love gardening for so many reasons, not the least is that plants offer me back more than I give them with my tender loving care. In a way, I understand why you both may be thinking that complaining about selectively applied laws is like complaining about the weather... it just happens. From my perspective I don't see this thread as complaining about it but rather about helping me become more aware that this happens all the time, so that maybe I or my family or my friends or my neighbors won't be caught out in a lightning storm as this poor women has been who they decided to pick on with the initial excuse that she was growing a front yard vegetable garden. What happeded to this women could happen to you or your adult children in a much worse fashion. I read about a lady who had her life time home taken from her becasue she owed almost ten thousand dollars in back taxes. She was unemployed. There were over two hundrd and fifty properties in town with the same issue that were not bothered about the back taxes. The feeling is that whe the property was sold or when the person died hey would get their money. What person wants to put another person out on th estreet for society to take care of. But the town officals, at that time, didn't like her. So they took her house and sold it, making her homeless. Plus they took away her only source of income since it was a three family home. The sale paid off the ten thousand dollar tax issue but it also brought the town over eighty thousand dollars in profit. They did not give the poverty stricten woman her eighty thousand dollars, the town kept it. That is morally wrong if not legally wrong. That was really bad weather. But I think human nature can sometimes be controlling to feed the egos of those in power and they will push people around to show who is boss. And yet those in power say they are "public servants". There is a saying, I forget who said it but it goes like this, " bad things happen when good people do nothing" Well I am not very powerful, or connected but at least I can particpate in a discussion that talks about this type of political weather power. I think most people think it won't happen to them or a member of their family. But when it does, they suddenly become an activist about this type of weather. I guess I want my community to be preppers against this type of political weather than seems to just happen. Well tornados just happen and hurricanes just happen, and Nor'easters just happen. Isn't it nice to be aware that that weather can just happen and be prepared for it so one doen't lose what they worked so hard for all their lives or even worse their life or the life of a loved one. Political weather just happens, in my opinion, when good people just gossip about it as entertainment releived that its not happening to them. My personal opinion is that if we all talked about it, then maybe it won't happen as much, becasue it is unconsititional and it does not support the American fundamental legal and moral philosophy of freedom. Sadly, where ever we go in America, our lost of freedom is in our face. When I read about local law officials harassing someone for collecting their own rainwater off their roofs to water their gardens, that makes me understand how vulnerable we all are, especially when an offical will say" well its on the books but we don't enforce it". This is hard to face. Who wants to talk about political weather when we could be laughing and exchanging war stories about what we are going to be doing with all our zuccini. The reality is, soon, if we all don't pay attention to these selective laws, and what personalities have been put in power to decide who these laws are goin gto apply to and who they won't, few of us will have gardens to share zuccini war stores with. The farmers are hurting but since the farmers feed us, if they loose , we loose. It is my opinion that we all need to be at least more aware of this. I just don't see this as complaining. I see this as helping us all pay attention more to what is going on around this country that will soon affect all of us if we all don't start talking about it on a grass root level. My aplogizes in advance if I offended anyone with this post.
Deanna, I guess we were actually talking about the same thing. I just misinterpreted your point. I wholly agree with you.