Saturday, July 30, 2011

Garten Polizei: City tries to out HOA HOAs

Ms. Bass lives in the Detroit suburb of Oak Park, but her street of red brick ranch houses might be any mature neighborhood in America. Close set and tidy, the homes have front yards that for generations have embodied an iconic conformity of foundation shrubbery and unfenced lawns.

After her front lawn was excavated to repair the sewer this spring, she replaced the grass with five raised beds for vegetables. If she was going to water the yard, she figured, she might as well raise food for her husband and six children. Within a few days, the garden police came calling.

She said she was told to remove the offending garden and replace it with the municipal code's demand of "grass, ground cover, shrubbery or other suitable live plant material."

"We are sticking to our vegetables," she said in an interview.

This disobedience, inevitably, brought the might of the municipality down upon her. Facing more than 90 days in jail, she hired a lawyer. The charge was dismissed while the city studies its law. Ms. Bass says the case could be reopened. Meanwhile, she is harvesting tomatoes, basil and cucumbers.
The article goes on to note that municipalities while having the power to jail those who run afoul of the garden cops have nothing on HOAs as the "ace guardians of landscape behavior."

1 comment:

Mike Reardon said...

The city has to overcome those pesky due process and transparency requirements...
Give me an HOA anyday for real 'effective' persecutions!