Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

7 Bumps

93 days for a vegetable garden in your front yard?

Their front yard was torn up after replacing a sewer line, so instead of replacing the dirt with grass, one Oak Park woman put in a vegetable garden and now the city is seeing green.

The list goes on: fresh basil, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, cumbers and more all filling five large planter boxes that fill the Bass family’s front yard.

Julie Bass says, “We thought we’re 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.”

But some cared very much and called the city. The city then sent out code enforcement.

“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 said . . .

City code says that all unpaved portions of the site shall be planted with grass or ground cover or shrubbery or other suitable live plant material. Tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers are what Basses see as suitable.

However, Oak Park’s Planning and Technology Director Kevin Rulkowski says the city disagrees. He says, “If you look at the dictionary, suitable means common. You can look all throughout the city and you’ll never find another vegetable garden that consumes the entire front yard.”

So what is suitable? From another local news report:

. . . 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.

God forbid your yard doesn’t include beautiful trees, bushes and flowers. It’s your job, Oak Park citizens, to give Kevin Rulkowski pretty things to look at. According to Bass’s blog, she’s demanding her right to a jury trial. So the city plans to throw the book at her.

our attorney spoke to the prosecutor today. (for the record, my crush on him is totally finished after today.)

his position: they are going to take this all the way.

officially, this means i am facing 93 days in jail if they win.

no joke.

Does this not go just a bit to far?

Answer Question

Asked by Carpy at 11:25 PM on Jul. 9, 2011 in Politics & Current Events

Level 39 (114,053 Credits)
Answers (21)
  • Carpy

    Comment by Carpy (original poster) at 11:27 PM on Jul. 9, 2011

  • that is so stupid, they're not hurting anyone by having a garden geeze

    Answer by josiesmommy00 at 11:28 PM on Jul. 9, 2011

  • that the people in question? that's a cute little set up not like it's trashy looking or anything

    Answer by josiesmommy00 at 11:29 PM on Jul. 9, 2011

  • That's the house and it has been on our local news too. It is in Michigan.

    Comment by Carpy (original poster) at 11:33 PM on Jul. 9, 2011

  • That is so cool----gardens in the front yard---WHY can't they keep them? Are they so blind that they don't see how nice the yard is?
    That is just crazy!!!! I hope enough people object and they allow them to keep their gardens.

    Answer by minnesotanice at 11:36 PM on Jul. 9, 2011

  • I beg to differ with the planning director. Vegetables are completely common. I buy them every time I go to the grocery store. I would even dare to say that I find vegetables much more available than I find sod. Grass seed is a crap shoot and this isn't the best time of year to start a lawn.


    Answer by QuinnMae at 11:44 PM on Jul. 9, 2011

  • That is very neat, however, non-compliance is NOT allowed by the people, who are currently in charge...

    Answer by agentwanda at 11:47 PM on Jul. 9, 2011

  • I saw that on the news a few nights ago. So stupid. If there were flowers in those beds instead of vegetables, no one would care. When we lived in Illinois, we had raised flower beds surrounded by grass. I don't see how that was any different. I hope the homeowner wins her case.

    Answer by JulieJacobKyle at 11:53 PM on Jul. 9, 2011

  • I see nothing wrong with this. They've obviously thought this out and have arranged it nicely. My only concern as a homeowner would be that thiefs would be taking the fruits of my labor, not the city for Christs sake!

    Answer by Kathy675 at 11:59 PM on Jul. 9, 2011

  • I have seldom heard of anything so stupidly petty . The nearest thing I have ever come across is a local ordinance banning the outside drying of laundty, not where I live fortunately .

    A nice grass yard indeed .! Nothing as boring as grass .

    Looks as if i may agree with Carpy . Wonders may never cease !

    Answer by janet116 at 12:20 AM on Jul. 10, 2011

Join CafeMom now to contribute your answer and become part of our community. It's free and takes just a minute.