Michigan Homeowner Julie Bass Faces 93 Days in Jail for Growing Vegetables in her Front Yard
Hats off to Julie Bass of Oak Park, Michigan, our Hero of the Day…
Incredibly, Bass could face 93 days in jail for refusing to remove a vegetable garden from the front yard of her home.
According to WXYZ and the Huffington Post, Bass planted the ‘forbidden garden’, which features fresh basil, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers and more, after her front yard was dug up to replace a sewer line. Rather than replant with grass, Bass decided to grow her own food, saving money and the environment in the process.
But she couldn’t save herself from the wrath of the city government.
“We thought we were minding our own business, doing something not ostentatious and certainly not obnoxious or nothing that is a blight on the neighborhood, so we didn’t think people would care very much,” she told WXYZ.
But they did care. The city dispatched code enforcement authorities, who told Bass she had to remove her garden. “They warned us at first that we had to move the vegetables from the front, that no vegetables were allowed in the front yard. We didn’t move them because we didn’t think we were doing anything wrong, even according to city code we didn’t think we were doing anything wrong. So they ticketed us and charged me with a misdemeanor,” Bass told WXYZ.
According to the Oak Park city code, unpaved yard should be “planted with grass or ground cover or shrubbery or other suitable live plant material.” If vegetables aren’t “suitable live plant material,” then what is?
Kevin Rulkowski, Oak Park’s Planning and Technology Director and our ‘Douche du Jour’, thinks otherwise. “If you look at the dictionary, suitable means common,” he explained to WXYZ. “You can look all throughout the city and you’ll never find another vegetable garden that consumes the entire front yard.”
Moral Low Ground just so happens to have a dictionary in our office, and we looked up “suitable”:
suit·a·ble (so͞otəbəl): meant or adapted for an occasion or use; meeting adequate standards for a purpose; qualified for or allowed or worthy of being chosen. Hmmm… nothing about “common” here.
The matter may be decided by a jury trial. Bass’s pre-trial hearing is scheduled for July 26.
Bass has created a blog, oakparkhatesveggies.wordpress.com, where you can see photos of her “criminal vegetables” and read her musings on the parallels between her forbidden garden and other civil liberties issues.
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