Government Tells Couple To Uproot Their Garden or Face Fines

City officials in Miami Shores
Village, FL threatened a couple with steep daily fines until they
agreed to uproot a vegetable garden they had been cultivating for
nearly two decades. Now, the couple is taking the city to court for
violating their right to privacy.

This May, the city revised its zoning
to “protect the distinctive character of the Miami Shores
Village” and eliminate aesthetic blemishes, according to Oddly, the code specifically prohibits vegetable
plants in front yards, but allows for trees, fruit plants, and
kitsch items like pink flamingos and garden gnomes.

Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll, who spent 17 years raising an
extensive garden not just as a hobby but to feed themselves, fell
victim to this new regulation. City officials informed Ricketts and
Carroll that their food source was illegal and needed to be
removed, or else the couple would face a $50 fine every day that
the garden remained. The couple explained that their garden could
not be relocated to the back yard, because it does not receive
enough sunlight to sustain their production. They also made
multiple formal requests to be allowed to keep their garden, but
were denied by the code enforcement board.

The Institute for Justice (IJ), a public interest law firm,
announced that it is representing the couple in a case a against
Miami Shores. An IJ press
release states
 that “Miami Shores will have to prove that
its ban promotes a compelling governmental interest and is narrowly
tailored to advance that interest.”

Miami Shores Village Attorney Richard Sarafan
told The Miami Herald
that people turning their yards
into gardens is “not harmonious with our community. This is not an
agricultural zoning area.”

IJ’s stance, on the other hand, is that “government has no
legitimate interest in preventing people from seeing vegetables.”
The law firm also believes the law is explicitly on the couple’s
side, because “Hermine and Tom’s fundamental right to put their
property to peaceful, productive use is guaranteed by the Florida
Constitution’s Basic Rights Clause.”

Ari Bargil, IJ’s lead counsel on the case,
to, “We’re not suing for money. We’re
asking the court to rule that this law is unconstitutional so
Hermine and Tom can plant their garden again.”

from Hit & Run

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.