11/19/13. Florida Couple Forced to Rip Out Their 17-Year-Old Vegetable Garden or Pay $1,500 a Month to the City.
A new zoning ordinance supposedly designed to “protect the distinctive character” of a community in Miami Shores, Fla., has forced a couple to rip up their 17-year-old vegetable garden.
Sure, they could have defied the city’s ordinance, but it would have cost them $50 a day, or $1,500 a month.
Hermine Ricketts and her husband, Tom Carroll, have maintained a modest vegetable garden in their front yard for the past 17 years. When the city passed a new zoning ordinance in May, they suddenly found themselves in violation, according to Watchdog.org.
The zoning ordinance specifically prohibits vegetables from appearing in front yards. Other things, like “fruit, trees or even plastic flamingos” are not regulated, Watchdog.org notes.
After being confronted by the local code enforcement officer and being denied an exemption twice by the Miami Shores Code Enforcement Board, the Florida couple gave in and ripped their garden up. They just couldn’t afford to give the city $1,500 a month so they could continue growing vegetables.
However, they are now taking the city to court.
The Institute for Justice, a nonprofit libertarian leaning legal aid group, filed a lawsuit Tuesday on the couple’s behalf. They aren’t suing for money, but rather the right to grow vegetables on their property.
“If the government can tell you what you can and can’t do in your front yard, what else can they decide is off-limits?” Institute for Justice attorney Ari Bargil said.
Attempts to contact the Miami Shores Code Enforcement Board after hours Tuesday to get additional clarification as to why vegetables are specifically targeted were not successful.