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Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:17 AM

Couple to be fined $500 a day for having a garden

For Jason and Jennifer Helvenston of Orlando, Fla., having a garden on their property could turn out to be a costly amenity. The city is planning on fining the couple $500 a day for the 25-by-25-foot garden in their front yard if they don't get rid of it. Why? Because apparently it doesn't comply with the city's codes, which require a garden to have a "finished appearance."




http://now.msn.com/jason-and-jennifer-helvenston-to-be-fined-for-having-garden?ocid=ansnow11+

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Reply Couple to be fined $500 a day for having a garden (Original post)
littlemissmartypants Jan 2013 OP
BainsBane Jan 2013 #1
Sirveri Jan 2013 #121
HappyMe Jan 2013 #2
tridim Jan 2013 #14
HappyMe Jan 2013 #15
tsuki Jan 2013 #94
freshwest Jan 2013 #95
defacto7 Jan 2013 #127
freshwest Jan 2013 #128
niyad Jan 2013 #3
rrneck Jan 2013 #4
obamanut2012 Jan 2013 #5
robinlynne Jan 2013 #6
LancetChick Jan 2013 #7
obamanut2012 Jan 2013 #13
barbtries Jan 2013 #24
Tommy_Carcetti Jan 2013 #30
obamanut2012 Jan 2013 #32
barbtries Jan 2013 #33
obamanut2012 Jan 2013 #36
tblue37 Jan 2013 #85
Baitball Blogger Jan 2013 #8
Kolesar Jan 2013 #93
progressoid Jan 2013 #9
Demeter Jan 2013 #18
TreasonousBastard Jan 2013 #10
NJCher Jan 2013 #27
Scuba Jan 2013 #11
SunSeeker Jan 2013 #92
PurpleEngineer Jan 2013 #12
dlwickham Jan 2013 #16
Recursion Jan 2013 #25
Occulus Jan 2013 #111
jmowreader Jan 2013 #115
randome Jan 2013 #17
Jeff In Milwaukee Jan 2013 #19
Orrex Jan 2013 #20
RC Jan 2013 #26
Ikonoklast Jan 2013 #86
Melissa G Jan 2013 #123
Javaman Jan 2013 #21
MineralMan Jan 2013 #28
NJCher Jan 2013 #29
tblue37 Jan 2013 #84
Occulus Jan 2013 #112
TreasonousBastard Jan 2013 #125
SummerSnow Jan 2013 #37
sabbat hunter Jan 2013 #40
obamanut2012 Jan 2013 #41
Occulus Jan 2013 #113
randome Jan 2013 #42
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #72
Renew Deal Jan 2013 #57
barbtries Jan 2013 #22
MineralMan Jan 2013 #23
former9thward Jan 2013 #45
MineralMan Jan 2013 #53
tblue37 Jan 2013 #88
SummerSnow Jan 2013 #31
obamanut2012 Jan 2013 #38
SummerSnow Jan 2013 #48
Little Star Jan 2013 #52
obamanut2012 Jan 2013 #67
bvar22 Jan 2013 #87
kiva Jan 2013 #122
niyad Jan 2013 #34
obamanut2012 Jan 2013 #39
SummerSnow Jan 2013 #35
Oilwellian Jan 2013 #99
littlemissmartypants Jan 2013 #116
0rganism Jan 2013 #119
Ian_rd Jan 2013 #43
AndyA Jan 2013 #44
randome Jan 2013 #47
AndyA Jan 2013 #51
DreamGypsy Jan 2013 #46
bigtree Jan 2013 #49
HappyMe Jan 2013 #55
bigtree Jan 2013 #77
Oilwellian Jan 2013 #103
bigtree Jan 2013 #104
geardaddy Jan 2013 #71
bigtree Jan 2013 #79
tblue37 Jan 2013 #89
IDemo Jan 2013 #80
bigtree Jan 2013 #83
NBachers Jan 2013 #50
Fla Dem Jan 2013 #54
tblue37 Jan 2013 #90
Fla Dem Jan 2013 #91
tblue37 Jan 2013 #96
TexasBushwhacker Jan 2013 #106
Renew Deal Jan 2013 #56
HappyMe Jan 2013 #61
obamanut2012 Jan 2013 #69
Earth_First Jan 2013 #58
randome Jan 2013 #65
HappyMe Jan 2013 #66
Earth_First Jan 2013 #70
LeftInTX Jan 2013 #98
BronxBoy Jan 2013 #102
SilveryMoon Jan 2013 #120
hunter Jan 2013 #124
Historic NY Jan 2013 #59
Liberal_in_LA Jan 2013 #60
Wait Wut Jan 2013 #62
former-republican Jan 2013 #63
tularetom Jan 2013 #64
McCamy Taylor Jan 2013 #68
Earth_First Jan 2013 #75
Brigid Jan 2013 #73
Puha Ekapi Jan 2013 #74
Earth_First Jan 2013 #76
supercats Jan 2013 #78
randome Jan 2013 #82
tblue37 Jan 2013 #81
ChisolmTrailDem Jan 2013 #97
Silent3 Jan 2013 #101
hughee99 Jan 2013 #100
Tierra_y_Libertad Jan 2013 #105
appleannie1 Jan 2013 #107
randome Jan 2013 #109
HeiressofBickworth Jan 2013 #126
DreamGypsy Jan 2013 #110
DreamGypsy Jan 2013 #108
Flying Squirrel Jan 2013 #114
Mimosa Jan 2013 #117
smirkymonkey Jan 2013 #118

Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:24 AM

1. Florida . . .

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 08:39 PM

121. I've seen the same thing in Oakland CA, and in Canada.

So it's not just Florida. I don't personally believe that the cities should have the right to actually make laws like this, but hey, whadda I know.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:25 AM

2. Looks 'finished' to me.


Unless by 'finished' they mean shrubs pruned into perfect spheres and pyramids.

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Response to HappyMe (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:37 AM

14. I'm guessing it really means... "Perfectly flat, perfectly green, perfectly manicured grass"...

"with flowers arranged conservatively around the perimeter of the house, just like everyone else in the neighborhood."

This is the kind of crap that made me give up architecture.

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Response to tridim (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:41 AM

15. Yeah. I used to do landscaping.

It was a nightmare when it came to condo land or a homeowners association neighborhood. We switched to a maintenance only policy in those places.

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Response to tridim (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:05 PM

94. With flowers conforming to the approved palette. nt

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Response to tridim (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:05 PM

95. Yes, I've seen this video game quality landscape installed in woodland areas. Out of staters move in

and complain while living next to a forest that deer ate something... in conversations, you find that they came from arid locations that didn't have diverse woodlands and wildlife.

I kept wanting to say, if you didn't want to have trees on your property or the wildlife whose habitat those created, why did you move here...

The newer subdivisions have big houses on hills they clear cut, all with these Mario Brothers yards, that they nevr go outside to see anyway, as they while away their lives indoors.

I see this more as a home association idocracy, and a bit of snobbery. The garden is rustic and atractive to one class of people, but just too 'poor' to some.

Saw the same thing in rural areas taken over the nouveau riche, who object to the yard sales, fruit stands, roadside memorials and small businesses along the road to their mansions. They want to control everything, and they run out those they consider who don't belong.

And if the runoff from previously forested hills flood the people who lived there longer in the plains, they could care less.

I've seen local city councils move up to be with them and ignore what is happening below, just as they do in third world countries. They vote to close down parks, community centers, public transportation and everything else that held the older, now 'lower class' communities together.

Prosperity is a two-edged sword. Everyone wants some of it, but those who get is don't always respect how they got it. Then when they get it, they add religion or poltiical theories to say why they should not pay taxes or do anything but profit off the rest of the people in their area.

That home looks like a modest 'starter home,' as they were once called. Many people, myself included, at this juncture in our economy would find that to be a palace. But the class war goes on and people wear blinders to that.

These stories are typically spun as government oppression by teabaggers for their purposes, but they are simply enacting the will of those who voted for such laws. And while they scream against this, they still enable it.

I doubt if they'll ever be able to collect this fine, but I've seen wealthy newcomers shut down businesses that had existed for many decades and provided small town employment because it didn't match the aesthetics the rich wanted to see on their drive home.

Notably, these are usually in Republican strongholds. They accuse goverment when it's their 'neighbors' who want them gone.

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Response to freshwest (Reply #95)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 12:35 AM

127. Thanks freshwest...

It's nature and the natural that the teabaggeresque anal-retentives want to subdue... to subdue the earth, to tame the unwieldy wilderness. I mean, you can't make money on the natural. And don't forget, cleanliness and Scott's Turf Builder are next to godliness.

It makes me sick.

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #127)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 01:06 AM

128. Agreed. In an area such as where I live, where nature abounds in diversity from native plants, they

want astroturf yards and every shrub is turned into a round ball. Used to call them poodle trees. They don't let anything have a natural growth habit, they keep cutting trimming them until there is never any new growth.

The landscapers now cut to make sure their boss can see they did some work instead of taking care of the plants. Half of what they work on drops dead after a while.

The people who loved to see vines, groundcovers and native plants grow in their different habits are dying and new people don't appreciate it, or so it appears. They don't appreciate natural beauty at all. The places are all starting to look like they're plastic. It's depressing.

God or Dog, what I'd give to have my own place and a garden again, best days of my life.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:25 AM

3. what isn't "finished" about it? looks fine to me

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:26 AM

4. Looks finished to me. nt

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:26 AM

5. That is very pretty and very well-maintained

WTF? Unfinished how???

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:27 AM

6. It is a lovely garden!

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:27 AM

7. Not only should they be allowed to keep their garden...

the home owners association, or maybe just a panel of neighborhood judges should award a prize to the best looking garden every year. Land is precious in a lot of ways, and if you own or rent a plot of it you should be able to USE it! Mind you, eyesores really do devalue property in a neighborhood, so I'm not suggesting there be no rules. Just saying that there are many other beautiful ways to landscape than grass and privet bushes.

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Response to LancetChick (Reply #7)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:37 AM

13. There is no HOA

The City is doing this.

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #13)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:56 AM

24. that shocks me.

i'll have to go note what city it is so i can steer clear.

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Response to barbtries (Reply #24)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:04 PM

30. Orlando, whose nickname is ironically called....

....The City Beautiful.

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Response to barbtries (Reply #24)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:05 PM

32. From comments, it sounds like because the garden can be eaten

That it isn't "finished."

I agree: this is because of a neighbor(s).

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #32)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:06 PM

33. it's got to be

a neighbor with a grudge.
but under any circumstances how can they possibly fine them so much money?

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Response to barbtries (Reply #33)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:08 PM

36. I think they would win this

"Finished" is too vague. But, they need an attorney.

1K a day?!

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #36)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:30 PM

85. Maybe the internet publicity will lead to widespread financial support to fight

the city's BS, and maybe a good lawyer who reads about the case will step forward to offer his/her services.

We should spread the story far and wide.

BTW! has a fund been set up for them yet? If not, it should be.

This sort of use of land should be encouraged, not penalized. What should be penalized is the use of poisons to create the manicured lawns, and the terrible waste of water to maintain such sterile lawns when so much of the country is in the grip of a long-term, deep, deep drought!

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:28 AM

8. The real estate industry controls us.

Prime rule of living in Central Florida: Don't make life harder on a real estate agent! They will whine to their politician friends in the Rotary Club and you will be eaten!

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:02 PM

93. that is insightful

Developers have all the power where I live.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:30 AM

9. OFFS

They should see my "garden".

Sounds like a bitchy neighbor or two.

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Response to progressoid (Reply #9)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:50 AM

18. Take my neighbors--please!

Too common a story these days....people obviously don't have enough of their own troubles and have to create more for the passersby....

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:31 AM

10. Only read a few of the comments, but they...

are all going against the town so far.

First problem is to define "finished appearance". Rules like this exist because sometime, somewhere, someone did something really nasty and it all almost made sense. Now, some tightass can use the rules to go to war against anything they don't like.

The garden looks pretty finished to me, and possibly a welcome addition to what looks like pretty drab surroundings from what little you can see in the picture.



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Response to TreasonousBastard (Reply #10)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:59 AM

27. well, I'm a gardener and I would say that

the ground cover around the pots will form a finished appearance. It takes a little time to grow, and that time is accorded to everyone else, so it should be given to this couple, too.

I laughed at the post upthread about making life hard on the real estate agent!


Cher

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:31 AM

11. "Finished garden" is an oxymoron. Hope they fight these stupid fines.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #11)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:01 PM

92. So true, as every gardener knows. The only "finished" garden is a plastic one!

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:32 AM

12. This is a testament to just how fucked up our system is

because republicans think this shit is crazy, too. It is recognized, by both parties, that this is nuts, yet, it is happening.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:46 AM

16. it's okay

not my taste but what is the rationale behind this city code?

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Response to dlwickham (Reply #16)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:58 AM

25. "Property values" is the usual talking point

Busybody neighbors really bug me

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Response to Recursion (Reply #25)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 04:03 PM

111. It should be illegal for realtors to consider anything other than the value of the actual property

It should be flat-out illegal for a neighboring property to in any way, any way at all, affect the value of any adjacent property. Each should be judged on its own merits, full stop.

Anything else, to my mind, should be considered fraud and punished stiffly.

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Response to dlwickham (Reply #16)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 07:15 PM

115. Orlando is America's favorite tourist trap

As such, they will do anything to keep the tourists from badmouthing the town.

The more a city relies on tourism, the more its appearance code will resemble one for Camp Lejeune.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:49 AM

17. Maybe they mean 'fenced in' or comparmentalized?

We don't know what 'finished' means.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:51 AM

19. Conform....CONFORM!!!

Seriously. Comform, dammit.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:51 AM

20. The solution is obviously more guns

Wait. Wrong thread.



Or is it...?

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Response to Orrex (Reply #20)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:59 AM

26. More guns seems to be the correct answer to everything else, so why not?

 

<--- Is one enough, or do I need more just in case?

Insurance -->

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Response to Orrex (Reply #20)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:31 PM

86. They'll take my azaleas from my cold, dead hands!!!

It's those bastards at the UN, I'm telling you!!!!

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Response to Ikonoklast (Reply #86)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 09:09 PM

123. LOL!

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:54 AM

21. Because the city is doing this, I can tell you exactly what is happening...

it being a "code violation" means some asshole neighbor got a bug up their ass about this couple for some reason and scoured their personal copy of the cities codes to see if they were in violation for one reason or another and lo and behold "finished appearance" pops up.

This is less a city problem than it is an asshole neighbor problem. Most cities don't have the personnel to track all the violations that exist and it's upon asshole nosy neighbors to do their "jobs" and rat out anyone they don't like.

Next to HOA's being a blight on society, moron neighbors who have nothing better to due with their lives are the next blight.

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Response to Javaman (Reply #21)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:00 PM

28. Yes. You have it exactly right.

Somehow, they've managed to offend some neighbor, who complained. It's an old story. If it were me, I'd fight it, but it's a lot of work to do that.

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Response to Javaman (Reply #21)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:02 PM

29. I have some knowledge of how this works, too

And you are right.

It is an asshole neighbor problem.

These code enforcement people are also very narrow minded and cannot see outside the "rule." I never met anyone so backwards, shortsighted, and narrow minded as the code enforcement people in my town and I live in a solidly Democratic town. Sickening, yes?



Cher

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Response to NJCher (Reply #29)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:23 PM

84. The BTK serial killer (here in Kansas) used his job as a code enforcer

to enjoy his inclination to bully people and demonstrate his power over them. He also used it, of couse, to identify and stalk potential victims.

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Response to NJCher (Reply #29)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 04:07 PM

112. Thy are the Authoritarian Follower personality type as defined by Altemeyer

They are dangerous to free people across the globe throughout history and deserve to be stopped, slapped down, minimized, and thwarted wherever and whenever they exist.

I mean it. People like this are a clear and present danger to those around them, in all places, at all times.

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Response to NJCher (Reply #29)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 12:03 AM

125. I lived in Clifton for a while, and they had...

someone running around with a ruler measuring the height of your lawn. I seem to remember any grass over 3"
was deemed to affect the values of your neighbors' properties and got you a $300 ticket.




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Response to Javaman (Reply #21)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:09 PM

37. I agree.This looks like a shitty neighbor job

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Response to Javaman (Reply #21)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:13 PM

40. at least with HOA

you know what you are getting in to when you buy the house as they give you the list of rules and regulations that you must adhere to.

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Response to sabbat hunter (Reply #40)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:15 PM

41. Exactly

I've lived with an HOA before, and I had to read they covenants before I could make an official offer. No surprises.

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #41)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 04:12 PM

113. I address that mentality in post #112.

And yes, to be clear, it does in fact appear I am talking about you and the poster you're replying to. You can prove me wrong by saying that, in this case, the city's response is inappropriate and over-the-top.

This is not simply my opinion, or how I "feel". It is an incontrovertible fact of some of the worst of human nature, backed repeatedly by history throughout human history, ranging from local disputes to international politics and policy, and encompassing everything in between.

Enforcers of rules need to be informed by common sense and reason or they deserve all the grief they get, with bells on.

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Response to Javaman (Reply #21)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:16 PM

42. The couple says they don't understand what the problem is.

That indicates, to me, that they either haven't bothered to talk with anyone about it or they DO understand what the problem is and are being disingenuous.

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Response to randome (Reply #42)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:03 PM

72. Or maybe no one can adequately explain exactly what the problem is

"Finished appearance" is a remarkably flexible rule that sounds like it's being applied very inflexibly in this circumstance.

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Response to Javaman (Reply #21)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:45 PM

57. I agree

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:55 AM

22. it's a lovely garden.

seems as if someone has been carried away by the headiness of power or something. the power of hatefulness for its own sake perhaps.
i'll probably never own my own home but i swear i hope it's not in a community like this if i do.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:55 AM

23. They can win if they fight this, but it will take

a lot of time and hassle.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #23)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:22 PM

45. At $500 a day its a big gamble.

Unless they are rich and it doesn't appear they are.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #45)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:37 PM

53. It is a gamble.

It'll have to be up to them.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #45)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:33 PM

88. Internet publicity can help, not only by

winning widespread support, but by bringing in financial assistance and perhaps the pro bono services of a good lawyer with a social conscience.

We can help by spreading the story far and wide.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:04 PM

31. This reminds me of when a couple of friends of mine..

purchased a house where their backyard leads into the lake.The lake is about 30ft away from their Backdoor.Now they have 2 small children 4 and 5 years old.I asked her why they haven't installed a fence in the backyard? She told me the community group doesn't want any fences installed cause it would be an eyesore and take away from the beauty of the landscape.

My answer was bullshit..you have small children.



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Response to SummerSnow (Reply #31)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:09 PM

38. You know what the HOA allows when you buy a place

I lived someplace that did the same thing. HOA covenants are not kept secret from a buyer -- the opposite.

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #38)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:28 PM

48. They walked into this eyes wide open...

It would be a horrible thing if those kids drowned in that lake,considering they love that yard and they know how to open the door.

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #38)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:35 PM

52. But changes can be made anytime owners vote for something, right?..

Or am I misunderstanding how HOA's work? I never lived in one but my sister did at one point. I think that's the way it worked but I'm not sure.

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Response to Little Star (Reply #52)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:56 PM

67. It depends on the state

Generally, any changes are very difficult.

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Response to SummerSnow (Reply #31)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:33 PM

87. Simple Solution

Invisible Electronic Fencing,
and Shock Collars for the children.
Problem Solved!
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Of course, I was joking,
but why can't the kids be taught to stay away from the water's edge,
just like staying out of the street?

This should be adequate for everywhere except Florida and Louisiana
where big, scary things can crawl out of the water and grab children playing on dry land away from the water's edge.

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Response to SummerSnow (Reply #31)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 08:44 PM

122. Not beating on your friends,

but why would it be OK for them to move into a community with specific standards - no fences - and say "but I have kids so you have to change your views!"?

I assume they were comfortable with the situation or they would not have bought the property. If not, they should have found a place they feel comfortable living with children.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:07 PM

34. are they planting edibles? if so, if I were a neighbor, I would be supernice to them, offer

to help, even. that would be the sensible thing to do. clearly, as stated downthread, asshole neighbors are the real problem (and, having had the neighbors from hell myself, I know exactly what they mean)

by the way, FIVE HUNDRED a day? that is absolutely absurd.

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Response to niyad (Reply #34)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:10 PM

39. Yes, they are edibles

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:07 PM

35. They should place some garden gnomes and really piss them off

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Response to SummerSnow (Reply #35)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:24 PM

99. LOL

The mean looking gnomes. I was thinking more along the line of pink Flamingos. LOL

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Response to Oilwellian (Reply #99)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 07:52 PM

116. A long line of

Pink Flamingos in the form of a fence...

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Response to SummerSnow (Reply #35)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 08:14 PM

119. since it's Florida, how about a nice stand of AR-15s?

it can go next to a bed of blooming Colt .45s.

That'll go a long way towards giving the garden a "finished appearance".

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:20 PM

43. "Finished appearance" is subjective, therefore a majority of opinions (letters)

stating that it "appears finished" might sway the City's position.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:21 PM

44. Their garden looks finished to me. Guess having three SUV's parked in front is better...n/t

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Response to AndyA (Reply #44)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:23 PM

47. No borders. No fences to keep children or pets out.

That may be what they mean by 'finished'. Just speculating.

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Response to randome (Reply #47)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:30 PM

51. It probably is something stupid like that.

But, pets should be on a leash, not roaming free in other people's yards. Children should be taught to not trespass, and should be under supervision. I've been to lots of city parks, gardens, etc., and many of them did not have borders, but had a natural look, like this front yard.

You're probably right, it's something ridiculous, just like the $500/day fine. In what world is that reasonable?

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:22 PM

46. No garden is ever 'finished'...

...unless it's constructed of plastic plants, grass, and rocks...and they'll disintegrate from sunlight eventually.

A 'finished' appearance should mean that you put away your shovels and wheelbarrow, remove the empty container pots from the shrubs you just planted, and put the weeds you just pulled into compost every evening....before you crack open the beer, sit in the chair on your porch, and admire the progress you've made.

Dave Mallett wrote a great song...The Garden Song...I sing it to myself frequently as I walk around the farm with my dogs. Dave will be in Vancouver WA in early March and I'll go see him again with friends.

Pullin' weeds and pickin' stones
Man is made of dreams and bones
Feel the need to grow my own
'Cause the time is close at hand

Grain for grain, sun and rain
Find my way in nature's chain
Tune my body and my brain
Tell the music of the land




In the introduction in the video above Dave mentions Pete Seeger as having recorded the song as well. I found this video of Pete, who as he is often wont to do, changes the lyrics a bit, but not the intent.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:28 PM

49. heh, I think it takes seven years to a decade to realize the mature growth of many shrubs and plants

. . .'finished' would be when it all fills in, imo.


here's my front yard (first two are early pics, before it filled in)












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Response to bigtree (Reply #49)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:43 PM

55. It's beautiful!



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Response to HappyMe (Reply #55)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:12 PM

77. why, thank you!



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Response to bigtree (Reply #77)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:29 PM

103. Very, very nice

Beats mowing, eh?

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Response to Oilwellian (Reply #103)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:45 PM

104. I had a nice patch of green there

no fertilizer but a spray down of ammonia and beer when I mowed. Had a nice mower that I cherished until it died . . . that year the grass grew almost as long as my hair and the neighborhood authority sent me a threatening note about cutting it (the grass). Anyway, I tore up the green and left naught but a path down the middle which eventually got flagstoned and stuffed with lirope. I took out most of the rest of the remaining lawn around the house the next year and bought one of those manual lawnmowers. This year we got rid of everything but the city strip by the street and I bought a scythe-like weeder to knock down the tall growth a couple times during the summer.

It's funny. Most of the yards around here are huge in the front with long stretches of lawn. All of their fertilizer ends up in the two lakes positioned to take all of the town's runoff; predictable result. Thing is, the actual lawn growing season around here is only a couple of months long because of the dependable drought which turns most of them brown and stifles the rest. It's a trip to see all of the fuss over keeping them mowed right down to earth level; then they just croak . . .

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Response to bigtree (Reply #49)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:00 PM

71. Nice yard!

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Response to geardaddy (Reply #71)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:14 PM

79. and, thank you



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Response to bigtree (Reply #79)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:35 PM

89. Lovely! nt

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Response to bigtree (Reply #49)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:17 PM

80. I'll send you my address

Work starts in April, weather permitting.

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Response to IDemo (Reply #80)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:21 PM

83. no prob - free-of-charge, of course

gardening is my absolute pleasure



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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:28 PM

50. Looks way better than my garden would

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:42 PM

54. Go to Google Maps 106 E Orlando st, Orlando FL, Street view See what yard looked like before

They planted the garden. Looks like an improvement to me.

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Response to Fla Dem (Reply #54)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:40 PM

90. How does one do that?

Or could you post a before image for us internet/computer morons? I am on a Nook, so I'm not sure I can even use the map thingy that way.

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Response to tblue37 (Reply #90)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:59 PM

91. Photo of yard before garden......................

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Response to Fla Dem (Reply #91)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:07 PM

96. Wow. That couple should be given an award! Thanks for the help, btw! nt

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Response to Fla Dem (Reply #91)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:50 PM

106. Note, the next door neighbor has a car parked IN their front yard

If you pan around to see the neighbors yards, no ones lawns are doing especially well. If you're going to spend money watering, it makes more sense to me to water plants you can eat than non-native grasses that are going to struggle to survive.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:44 PM

56. The garden looks like a mess

Especially if everyone else has a lawn.

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Response to Renew Deal (Reply #56)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:50 PM

61. Good grief!

It's not a mess!
Why does everyone have to have a lawn?

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Response to Renew Deal (Reply #56)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:57 PM

69. It is a very orderly and well-maintained garden

Good grief.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:45 PM

58. I'm sorry, that's an eyesore...

Not only that, it's a horrible example of a no-till garden.

Try installing (and maintaining) something along the lines of what these homeowners put their time and effort into and I'd be willing the HOA would be more willing to negotiate:





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Response to Earth_First (Reply #58)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:55 PM

65. I was too timid to come out and say that but I agree.

It looks nice if the goal is to 'return to Nature' or something but that's generally not the look the residents of a subdivision are aiming for.

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Response to Earth_First (Reply #58)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:56 PM

66. Those homeowners paid

somebody to install and maintain those gardens.

The homes in those pictures aren't in the same price range as the couple's home in the OP. It's not the usual HOA loonies complaining, it's a cranky neighbor via their city.

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Response to HappyMe (Reply #66)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:58 PM

70. Why would you be so sure that someone paid to have those installed?

Because time and effort was put into it; they were professionally done?

I'm sorry, I *am* a professional installer; and with maybe the exception of the top image are any of those three images professionally installed.

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Response to Earth_First (Reply #58)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:14 PM

98. Those are professional shoots

Not only are the gardens professionally designed, they are professionally maintained and "set up" the day of the shoot. Note how there are no stray leaves anywhere. Everything is immaculate. They look like they came out of Better Homes and Garden.

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Response to Earth_First (Reply #58)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:28 PM

102. You don't know what you are talking about.......

the homeowners in the first picture ran into exactly the same problems as the homeowners in the OP. And where do you get that that garden is no-till? No-till can be utilized in raised beds but they don't not necessarily have to be. I believe the garden in the OP is closer to a no till garden than the ones you pictured. No till generally involves cover cropping and conservation tillage which certainly is more of a reality in the garden in the OP that in the "landscaped" gardens you posted.

This is a serious issue here in the Atlanta area and the one thing stifling the growth of the urban agriculture movement is the inability of local governments to change with the times and develop sensible regs that address the rights of ALL property owners

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Response to Earth_First (Reply #58)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 08:27 PM

120. Eyesore...

is the first word that popped in my mind when I saw the picture.

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Response to Earth_First (Reply #58)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 10:28 PM

124. Earth_First? Really???

I'm supposed to BUY stuff to save the earth? How does that work?

In your pictures I see new wood borders and fencing, ghastly cast-concrete stonework, and rocks and gravel that probably took very long trips on fossil fueled trucks.

Maybe it's a little better than a synthetic fertilizer and pesticide-drenched lawn, but it's not earth first. You probably wouldn't like my broken sidewalk retaining walls or the old truck in my driveway, a constant feature of google satellite and street views. I like them precisely because they are not new. I did not do anything to cause new stuff to be made, I simply reused old stuff that had already been discarded.

I'm lucky, I guess, to live in a city where people plant plant corn, squash, and beans in their front yards, work on project cars in their driveways, paint their houses astonishing colors... And NOBODY cares, least of all the city code enforcement people who are too busy with serious code violators like people who rent out mattresses in their crawlspaces to undocumented workers, or garages to extended families of a dozen people.

I think the garden in the original post looks great, better than your examples. Nevertheless, the only people who matter are the people who tend the garden. If a yard or garden is maintained and not allowed to become a breeding ground for invasive weeds, biting insects, and vermin, then it's fine by me. Walk on by and smile at the neighbors.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:48 PM

59. Shesh, it won't be finished until they eat everything.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:49 PM

60. I love their "unfinished" garden

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:50 PM

62. WTH? It's friggin adorable!

It looks like an elf garden/house. Not my style (I'm a city girl by heart), but I'd definitely love to visit!

They look like liberals. I think that's the real issue.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:51 PM

63. Lesson here is?

 

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:53 PM

64. This wouldn't be happening if these people had a gun

Isn't that the solution to everything?

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 12:57 PM

68. Legistating style.

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Response to McCamy Taylor (Reply #68)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:05 PM

75. There's no 'style' there whatsoever...

It looks to me that in an attempt to create a no-till bed, they mounded the property; haphazardly covered black plastic barrier as a weed-control method; and placed out their plants at will.

There's no 'design' OR 'style' to this; it's poorly executed on their part.

It needs to be redone with some thought to the asthetics to both the home and the neighborhood to make it pop better.

Sorry.

Eyesore.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:04 PM

73. I would love to have a neighbor with a garden like that!

Lots of fresh veggies!

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:05 PM

74. Someone's pissed...

...because these folks are providing their own healthy food instead of buying "produce" at the Wally World Super Store.

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Response to Puha Ekapi (Reply #74)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:06 PM

76. Doubt it. n/t

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:13 PM

78. This is Absolutely Ridiculous!

Their garden is beautiful and artistic. There is nothing "wrong" with it whatsoever. They need to tell the city to politely to go fuck themselves.

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Response to supercats (Reply #78)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:21 PM

82. Would that be the neighborly thing to do?

If 'wild and untamed' is the look they wanted, they should not have moved into a subdivision.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:21 PM

81. In our town (Lawrence, Kansas),

there is a house with a carefully designed and maintained front yard "habitat." The owner has clearly created the habitat to encourage wildflowers and small birds and animals. It is quite charming, but to the untutored eye it seems, as a girl in my class complained one semester, "sloppy."

I use the contrast between it and more manicured lawns and flower gardens to illustrate for my poetry students the different attitudes toward nature that dominated in the Romantic and Neoclassical periods.

The Neoclassical period (the Enlightenment) was concerned not just with studying and understanding naturer by way of science, but also with dominating its forces to turn them toward human needs and desires, including both the improvement of our material existence and the satisfaction of that aspect of our aesthetic sense that delights in order and control.

The Romantics, on the other hand, were inclined to see nature as the living garment of God--or of the divine in the mortal world if they were pantheists. They were inclined to revel in nature's untamed power and beauty, especially as manifested in its most sublime and overwhelmingly huge and powerful scenes and forces. But they also delighted in nature's smaller manifestations, as long as they were--well, natural.

I think the garden in the OP is lovely. I hope they get enough support now to challenge the city--and enough financial support to ride out the city's bullying.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:09 PM

97. And, of course, reading the comments to the article located here:

http://www.clickorlando.com/news/College-Park-couple-says-front-yard-vegetable-garden-is-under-fire-again/-/1637132/18035884/-/png2kpz/-/index.html

...which is the source used by MSN, it's all the fault of Obama and Liberals.

God I hate right-wingnutjobs. I viscerally HATE them and wish they would all simply vanish.

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Response to ChisolmTrailDem (Reply #97)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:27 PM

101. Yes, the comments are fascinating... in a staring at a train wreck sort of way.

There's not a single thing in the article there that says anything about the political persuasion of the city government or the members of that government who created the law that's causing the problems.

Yet a screaming ALL-CAPS gaggle of commenters is sure that it's Obama and libruls and commies and socialists ruinin' 'Mer'ca. My guess (and I'll at least admit it's a guess) is that laws like this much more often come from Republican-leaning upper middle income folk trying to enforce uniformity and protect their property values, not from liberals at all.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:25 PM

100. Hooray for misleading headlines!

Sorry, pet peeve of mine. I'd suggest that a "news" outlet like MSN might know better, but from experience, I know they don't.

"Couple fined for having ugly garden" might have been better.

Personally, I think the garden looks nice, but it always seems to go poorly when phrases like "well kept" and "finished appearance" are left to the discretion of a few individuals, and whether something meets the criteria or not can depend on how much those people like you.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:49 PM

105. Obviously they left out the gnomes and flamingoes.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:52 PM

107. Here is a more thorough link

Jason and Jennifer Helvenston feel the code violates their right to grow food on their property. In response to the garden fine, the couple have launched “Plant a Seed, Change the Law.” The initiative aims to bring attention to the city code they feel is unfair.

Jennifer Helvenston explained:

“The greatest freedom you can give someone is the freedom to know they will not go hungry. Our Patriot Garden pays for all of its costs in healthy food and lifestyle while having the lowest possible carbon footprint. It supplies valuable food while being attractive. I really do not understand why there is even a discussion. They will take our house before they take our Patriot Garden.”


Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/474839/couple-fined-for-having-garden-growing-vegetables-will-cost-500-a-day/#ILfTsYRo8qG2JAti.99

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Response to appleannie1 (Reply #107)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:58 PM

109. Um, did anyone say they wanted to 'take' their garden? Or their house? I don't think so.

It sounds to me like they are making the situation worse by being confrontational.

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Response to randome (Reply #109)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 12:26 AM

126. As I understand fines like this,

$500 a day, remaining unpaid, will result in the City putting a lien upon the property. An unpaid lien will result in foreclosure of the property to pay the unpaid fines in a time frame according to FL lien laws. So, yes, I believe their house is being threatened.

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Response to appleannie1 (Reply #107)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 03:24 PM

110. The reporting is all a bit confused...

and hence, confusing.

From the more thorough report:

If the couple decides keep the garden, then they will have to pay $500 per day. The Christian Post is reporting that an Orlando city code prohibits residents from growing fruits and vegetables in their front yards.

Following the Christian Post link gives me "select json from cp_data where label='wwwhomepage52' and applied=1...". Not too useful.

The other note from the article is:

According to The New York Times, the Helvenstons’ front yard lacks a “finished” look as dictated by the code.

Following The New York Times link one finds:

Mr. Padin contacted the city, which cited the Helvenstons for violating section 60.207 of Orlando’s Land Development Code (failure to maintain ground cover on property) and set a deadline of Nov. 7 to comply.



Here's the full text of section 60.207 from the Orlando Code:

Sec. 60.207. - General Requirements.

Sec. 60.207. - General Requirements.permanent link to this piece of content

The property owner, occupant and/or agent shall be jointly and individually responsible for installing landscaping, according to accepted commercial planting procedures, using plant materials of species which are native or adapted to the Orlando area.

Existing Plant Material. The Zoning Official may adjust the application of standards contained herein, in part or in whole, to allow credit for healthy plant material on a building site prior or subsequent to its development, if such an adjustment is consistent with the intent of this Chapter. Existing plant material native to Central Florida should, in particular, be retained.

Protection. The Zoning Official shall be authorized to require landscaped areas to be protected from vehicular encroachment with effective wheel stops or curbs.

Anchoring. Wherever new medium or large trees are installed they shall be provided with anchoring to maintain the tree in a vertical upright position for a period of at least one year, in order to provide sufficient time for their roots to become established. Single staking of trees shall be prohibited.

Tree Health. Trees used to satisfy the requirements of this Part shall be in good or fair health as defined by this Chapter. A determination as to the health of trees need not be made in advance of their use; however, poor tree health may be established at any point during the development process in either one of the following ways:

(a)

The applicant may claim poor tree health as a reason to remove an existing tree which would otherwise be required to be retained to satisfy the requirements of this Part. To do so, the applicant shall submit an expert evaluation by a landscape architect, horticulturalist, urban forester or other expert as part of his tree removal permit application.

(b)

The Parks Official in coordination with the Zoning Official may claim poor tree health as a reason for disallowing a new or existing tree for use in satisfying the requirements of this Part. The applicant may rebut such a claim by submitting an expert evaluation by a landscape architect, horticulturalist, urban forester or other expert to the Parks Official, who shall make a final determination. If the expert evaluation recommends recuperative measures to improve tree health, the Parks Official may condition the retention of the tree upon these measures, and may reassess the health of the tree after a one-year recuperation period.

Quality. Plant materials used in conformance with provisions of this Part shall equal or exceed the standards for Florida No. 1 as established and revised by the Florida Department of Agriculture. Grass sod shall be clean and reasonably free of weeds and noxious pests or disease. Grass seed used shall meet requirements of the FDOA quality control program.

Irrigation. Irrigation systems shall be installed according to manufacturer's specifications and the Standard Plumbing Code. All automatic irrigation systems as required by this Part shall be maintained in proper operating condition. Automatically controlled systems shall be operated by an irrigation controller that can provide water to high, moderate, and low water use zones and turfgrass areas on different schedules. Moisture sensor and/or rain gauge equipment shall be required on automatic irrigation systems to avoid irrigation during periods of sufficient rainfall. The use of low volume, emitter or target irrigation is preferred for trees, shrubs and ground covers. Irrigation systems shall be operated to conform to St. John's River or South Florida Water Management District mandatory water use restrictions, when applicable.

Berms. When a berm is used to form a visual screen in lieu of, or in conjunction with, a hedge or wall, such berm shall not exceed a slope of 3:1, and shall be completely covered with shrubs, grass or other living ground cover.

Ground Covers. Ground covers shall be planted in a manner so as to present a finished appearance with reasonably complete coverage under normal growing conditions within 12 months after planting. All improved property in the City, including residential, shall have ground cover or turfgrass installed and maintained in those areas not otherwise planted or covered by structures or pavement.

Hedges. Shrubs used to form hedges shall be of a non-deciduous species, shall be a minimum of 24 inches in height above grade at the time of planting and shall be spaced not more than 36 inches apart and maintained so as to form a continuous visual screen 30 inches in height above grade, under normal growing conditions, within one year after planting.

Turf Grass. Grass shall be of a species normally grown as permanent lawns in the City of Orlando. Grass areas may be sodded, plugged, sprigged or seeded except that solid sod shall be used in swales or other areas subject to erosion.

Tree and Shrub Installation. Grow bags and containers including synthetic burlap shall be completely removed from the root ball prior to planting. All twine or wire shall be cut off from around the trunk at the top of the rootball. Trees and shrubs shall be mulched to a minimum depth of 2 inches with organic mulch at least to the perimeter of the rootball.

(Ord. of 9-16-1991, Doc. #25097; Ord. of 4-20-1992, Doc. #25634)


Seems to me like the applicable section is Ground Covers:

Ground covers shall be planted in a manner so as to present a finished appearance with reasonably complete coverage under normal growing conditions within 12 months after planting


The New York times article discuss the general trend of edible gardens. It also defuses the comments on these thread about current tract housing, subdivision requirements, etc.:

Mr. Helvenston spent last Super Bowl Sunday planting the garden outside his 1940s cottage, in a neighborhood of modest houses close to downtown. Orlando’s growing season is nearly year-round, and Mr. Helvenston, a self-employed sustainability consultant for the building trade, said he saw the garden as “a budget thing” — a money-saving supplement to the chicken coop he and his wife, Jennifer, installed a few months later behind their house.


Ok. I'm done. Excuse me, I need to go get a life.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:54 PM

108. Garden beauty is in the eye of the beholder

and the dreams of the gardener.

THIS



AND THIS



AND THIS



all beautiful.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 07:05 PM

114. Just put a fence around it and call it finished.

Problem solved. (Unless fences aren't allowed, in which case they should turn their house around.)

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 07:57 PM

117. I like their 'pot' garden

It's cute, individual. It's not like they've a rusting car on blocks and a ratty sofa in the front yard!

*Grrr* to control freaks, micro-managers, and bossy intolerant neighbors!

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 08:04 PM

118. As far as I'm concerned, any garden is a good garden.

Green things growing is ALWAYS a good thing.

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