93 days in jail for growing a garden?!

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 07/08/2011 ( 59 moms have responded )

12,224

26

264

Honestly, I hope code enforcement is forced to eat it's own codes on this one.


http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/dpp/news/loc...

Oak Park Woman Faces 93-Days in Jail For Planting Vegetable Garden
By ALEXIS WILEY
WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com

OAK PARK, Mich. (WJBK) - "The price of organic food is kind of through the roof," said Julie Bass.

So, why not grow your own? However, Bass' garden is a little unique because it's in her front yard.

"We thought it'd be really cool to do it so the neighbors could see. The kids love it. The kids from the neighborhood all come and help," she said.

Bass' cool garden has landed her in hot water with the City of Oak Park. Code enforcement gave her a warning, then a ticket and now she's been charged with a misdemeanor.

"I think it's sad that the City of Oak Park that's already strapped for cash is paying a lot of money to have a prosecutor bothering us," Bass told FOX 2's Alexis Wiley.

"That's not what we want to see in a front yard," said Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski.

Why? The city is pointing to a code that says a front yard has to have suitable, live, plant material. The big question is what's "suitable?"

We asked Bass whether she thinks she has suitable, live, plant material in her front yard.

"It's definitely live. It's definitely plant. It's definitely material. We think it's suitable," she said.

So, we asked Rulkowski why it's not suitable.

"If you look at the definition of what suitable is in Webster's dictionary, it will say common. So, if you look around and you look in any other community, what's common to a front yard is a nice, grass yard with beautiful trees and bushes and flowers," he said.

But when you look at front yards that are unsightly and overgrown, is Bass' vegetable garden really worth the city's time and money?

We asked Rulkowski what he would say to those who feel this is ridiculous.

"I would argue that you won't find that opinion from most people in Oak Park," he responded.

"I have a bunch of little children and we take walks to come by and see everything growing. I think it's a very wonderful thing for our neighborhood," said neighbor Devorah Gold.

"They don't have (anything) else to do (if) they're going to take her to court for a garden," said neighbor Ora Goodwin.

We did find one neighbor who wasn't a fan and thinks it needs to go.

"I know there's a backyard. Do it in the backyard," he said.

"They say, 'Why should you grow things in the front?' Well, why shouldn't I? They're fine. They're pretty. They're well maintained," said Bass.

It looks like this critical debate is headed for a jury trial and neither side is backing down.

"I could sell out and save my own self and just not have them bother me anymore, but then there's no telling what they're going to harass the next person about," Bass told us.

There's another pretrial scheduled for July 26. The next step could be a jury trial.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Charlie - posted on 07/09/2011

11,203

111

409

Nobody talked to anyone like anything it was an incorrect perception that caused offence , from time to time you get members in here who get offended over nothing, have stalking delusions and continuously open and shut threads on a whim simply because everyone isnt saying exactly what they want .

If people want to debate they need to stop over reacting ....it gets old.

[deleted account]

Style over substance. Meaningless codes over common sense. Waste over food. And conformity above all.



(Some places won't let you have a visible clotheslines either.)



P.S. Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski sounds like a pocket fascist, in his little pathetic office dictating over people's yards.

Lady Heather - posted on 07/12/2011

2,448

17

91

I'm not sure why having a front yard full of useless grass that's sprayed with pesticides and unnecessarily watered (like most people seem to have around here) is more "suitable" than a garden growing shit people can actually eat.

People are spreading out, agricultural land is being lost - we are going to have to start opening our fucking minds a little about this front yard nonsense. You have no idea how many times I've been tempted to just get a bunch of native plants and let them loose all over my lawn. I am so sick of fucking grass.

Kate CP - posted on 07/09/2011

8,942

36

758

Can we not drag crap from other threads into this one? Seriously, it's getting fucking old.

Isobel - posted on 07/09/2011

9,849

0

286

wishing uninformed voters wouldn't vote is not the same thing as saying you are stupid. Just sayin

59 Comments

View replies by

Constance - posted on 07/11/2011

2,651

24

146

That is the problem with city code enforcement they take it way to far. Harassing somone over a damn garden. Yeah I want to pay my hard earned money to pay for a trial over something so rediculous. I would be glad to pay for an attorney for her though.

Alison - posted on 07/11/2011

279

20

32

To trial over a garden?! crazy. And according to the definition of "suitable" cited, putting a toilet in the front yard would be totally fine if a lot of people were doing it, but because she's the only one planting a nice garden, she gets punished...stupid. I think people should get to do what they want with their property unless they bought into an HOA.

Yalana - posted on 07/09/2011

107

19

1

Also, if this person does go to jail, the garden will die...then what? more jail time for letting it die? bill the city for the time, effort, and supplies put into it if it dies...but that's just me...

Yalana - posted on 07/09/2011

107

19

1

Another example of a city forcing people to keep up with the Joneses...what next? everyone has to use the same lawn care company so that everyone's lawns can be chemically burned at the same time??? geez!

Dana - posted on 07/09/2011

11,264

35

495

Amen, Kate!

And now somewhat back on topic...That would be hilarious, Elizabeth!

[deleted account]

I think all their neighbors or friends should put toilets in their front yard for protest!

Rosie - posted on 07/09/2011

8,657

30

321

this is ridiculous. what about a veggie garden isn't suitable live material? now in my city you have to have a permit to plant anything on the side of the sidewalk closest to the road. i can see fining someone or whatever if they did that, but jail? and this doesn't seem to be that same type of thing anyway. this particular story for what we've been shown here is fucking ridiculous.

Isobel - posted on 07/09/2011

9,849

0

286

Nobody hates you...this all just seems like a lot of over-reaction (on both your parts to be honest)...

Shannintipton - posted on 07/09/2011

36,025

50

681

I DONT KNOW. (In a panicked voice) I just know if someone said talked to me like that, I would cry. I am a whimp. Sorry I said anything. Please don't hate me.

Shannintipton - posted on 07/09/2011

36,025

50

681

Pleas be nice to me, I have had a hard life. Honestly I don't know that much about debates so this will be the last time I post in one, but it makes me feel bad when I see a friend get bashed. At least I think that is what is happening. But I have a real thin skin. I can dish it out but I can't take it. So I am going to take it and leave now. Sorry to have said anything. P.S. Please don't leave my community. :)

Shannintipton - posted on 07/09/2011

36,025

50

681

I have know idea what I am talking about. Haven't you figured that out about me yet. LOL ;)

[deleted account]

Yeah, the kicker about one of the lemonade stands was, this group of kids were trying to raise money for charity.

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 07/09/2011

12,224

26

264

There is no twist to my words. You really said 'I hope you don't vote' and then there was the head exploding comment too......

I'm not trying to attack anyone. Just saying, after you feel the need to speak to me like that, please leave me alone from here on out. I don't want to associate with drama

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 07/09/2011

12,224

26

264

Yeah, I don't think that's fair at all to need a business license for a simple lemonade stand. They should at least have the decency and heart to let small stuff like that go.

I also think they are too hard on crafters, street fairs and the like.

There's a local Thursday Market Night in a town over from us that my boyfriend and I thought would be cool to walk around at. Something fun and small to do. I was expecting a bunch of small businesses and local crafters to be gathered selling everything. That would be fun.

It was such a dissapointment. There were people trying to sell 100$ plates to a benefit in order to help a charity. Ok. Mainly the entire street was full of produce though. Only two food venders offering hot dogs where available.

I wondered why there wasn't much, so I checked into it because I make jewelry. Thought I might sell it there. Found out I would need a business permit, a selling permit just for that city and their fees to pop a booth every Thursday are 40$, weekly. Wow, just the 40$ made me realize why there wasn't anything there but produce. Produce doesn't have to follow the same regulations as crafts, or other things being sold. So it actually has a chance to make money, whereas everyone else has a very big barrier to cross making it for the most part not worth it.

Think how much better it would be if they were more lax - the Market Night could be fun. Help the community out, give more people something to do, and help small businesses if only there weren't all these stupid laws and expenses.

Dana - posted on 07/09/2011

11,264

35

495

Oh Jesus...I did not insinuate you were too stupid to vote. I would appreciate it if you didn't twist my words and then publicly attack me for it, thank you.

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 07/09/2011

12,224

26

264

Shneck, that's noble of you to stand up for her. But this is between me and her, thanks. We've fought before, we don't get along. So it's more than it appears on the surface of 'just a quip'.

Besides, I remember you telling me the other day I shouldn't be voting by insinuating I was too stupid. So....... I really don't trust you anymore seeing as how you personally attacked me.

Therefore, I ask both of you to please just leave me alone.

[deleted account]

Ill give another example... TWO lemonade stands have been "shut down" within the last couple months be cause the children didnt have a business license and a permit for their lemonade stand. I never said it was new i was implying that the rules are getting more ridiculous as we go, and if people would bother to realize that, we could begine to work to try to make it better but everybody is so delusional anymore they all wanna believe this is still the land of the free, its not. Oh look another example, my husband and I took our two year old daughter to see fireworks... we didnt buy any, well because thats illegal to, and we were told to move from the spot we were parked in because we didnt have relatives that worked in that building... REAL american and patriotic let me tell ya. As to your comment about its not singled out to just the US, well sorry but thats where im trying to raise my children therefore thats the only reason it affects me. As to "voting" again im sorry but it doesnt matter... whoever has the money is who's going to be winning regardless of how many votes thats just the way it is.

Dana - posted on 07/09/2011

11,264

35

495

Nicole, she's just joking around, hence the "winking face". Chatty is always goofing off, it's part of her personality.

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 07/09/2011

12,224

26

264

Maybe if you'd stop harassing me?!! ;)
Why are you in here, Dana? You still haven't commented on the topic which leaves me to believe with your first comment in this post directed snidely at me, you are just in here to...... harass.

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 07/09/2011

12,224

26

264

I'm glad to see I have your support for that, Dana :)
Will you be the first to fund my cause? Send money to P.O. Box.......... :P

Jenny - posted on 07/09/2011

4,426

16

129

This has to be a human rights violation. Or maybe it's not. Does anyone know if providing our own food is considered a right?

I didn't plant any flowers this year, only what we can eat. My front bed is all tomatoes, peppers, tomatillo, herbs and sunflowers. Hope the cops don't bust me.

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 07/09/2011

12,224

26

264

If there's even a candidate on the ballet who will work towards achieving that.

Dana - posted on 07/09/2011

11,264

35

495

Well, for one, you can get rid of old "stupid" laws and two, you can make sure new "stupid" laws aren't made.

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 07/09/2011

12,224

26

264

What would voting in new local government do to help pre-existing stupid laws?

Dana - posted on 07/09/2011

11,264

35

495

Brandi Traxler - posted 2 hours ago

"Shenkers- Whats lame is how many idiotic rules and regulations there are in this country anymore, maybe people should start reading up on all these new laws and regulations, not just in your own state but everywhere and you'll see that in fact yes america as a whole is no longer that free beautiful country we once loved. Perfect example suicide... is illegal. That means someone decided they were taking it upon themselves to dictate when and how a person can die. Its nobodys business, just like this lady with her garden, she was thrown in jail for doing something creative, healthy better for the enviorment all because it wasnt pretty enough and didnt conform to the idea of the idiots that jailed her"


There have been stupid laws in this country since the formation of this country, this is not something new. Nor is it singled out to the US only. If people don't like the stupid laws then they need to VOTE IN new local government.

[deleted account]

This reminds me of the reaction my mother had when i told her eventually we were going to raise livestock and slaughter it ourselves(well hubby will do most of it as he already knows how to do it). She actually acted as if it were disgusting and that it is better to get the meat at the store. All I could think was are you f-ing kidding me are you serious? And wow I am having second thoughts that we are actually related.lol

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 07/09/2011

12,224

26

264

Maaaaaybe it's the same shock to them as those who first see how animals are treated in corperate run farms? A plant?! It cannot be...............

[deleted account]

I am completely and utterly appalled. I mean wtf is this garden harming? It must be bothersome to those who think fruits and veggies only come from the grocery store.

Desiree - posted on 07/09/2011

910

17

13

Now thats stupid. We have a suburb in South Africa where some of the owners are growing Veg on the pavement outside their homes. The families struggling in the area are welcome to come to the gardens at take what they need to feed their families. The result is that these needy families are bringing the seed back to the houses to be replanted and help with the maintenance of the beds. The result being that the "food gardens" are starting to maintain
themselves"
In a world where food is getting scarce you would think that people would become a little more self reliant and it is a fantastic teaching tool. How many kids in cities have ever seen a vegie patch. Come spring my 2 will be diging one for me. Veg is geting very expensive and not enough varity.

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 07/09/2011

12,224

26

264

There was a law passed in WA state that made any speakers in a car not bolted down a felony. Seriously, a speaker box?! All because of a fluke accident where a kid died from one hitting him in the head that wasn't bolted down.

Stupid laws everywhere indeed..

[deleted account]

Shenkers- Whats lame is how many idiotic rules and regulations there are in this country anymore, maybe people should start reading up on all these new laws and regulations, not just in your own state but everywhere and you'll see that in fact yes america as a whole is no longer that free beautiful country we once loved. Perfect example suicide... is illegal. That means someone decided they were taking it upon themselves to dictate when and how a person can die. Its nobodys business, just like this lady with her garden, she was thrown in jail for doing something creative, healthy better for the enviorment all because it wasnt pretty enough and didnt conform to the idea of the idiots that jailed her

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 07/09/2011

12,224

26

264

"Just goes to show how far america has and is continuing to fall."

I'll second that notion.

Teresa - posted on 07/09/2011

522

34

35

How stupid. Let's catch some real criminals and leave this poor woman alone to grow her veggies. How retarded.

Dana - posted on 07/09/2011

11,264

35

495

Katherine, I was thinking Oak Park outside of Chicago. That's a whole other ball of wax.



And I wanted to reply to this comment:

Brandi Traxler - posted 8 hours ago



"Just goes to show how far america has and is continuing to fall."



America is a HUGE country, you can hardly judge one city's stupid law as the whole US. That's rather lame .

Katherine - posted on 07/09/2011

65,420

232

5195

Sounds like their law is flawed and of course this happens to be in my state. They are money hungry bastards.

Yay, he defined suitable. Good for him, but what does that have to do with the ordinance? Suitable is not made clear in it. I consider that "bad" law making.

I know she has to pay $30 a day to be in jail. Poor woman.





***Edit to add: No Oak Park is in Detroit, not a good neighborhood.

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 07/08/2011

12,224

26

264

Veggies are apparently evil. Quick, someone plant Rice Crispy Treats.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms