first, i want to begin by saying that my neighbors are so cool! i told one of them that the city (KJ) tried to define “suitable live plant material” as whatever is similar to things around it. and they could find no houses in our neighborhood with front yard gardens- sooooooooo, my friend says, “great! we will all plant mini-gardens in solidarity with you and then the city can leave you alone!” how awesome was that???
the real problem is that the city keeps changing its issues with us. first it was whether our garden was “decorative planting”. then it was that we don’t have “suitable live plant material” then it was that zoning guy supposedly said no up front. then it was that we did not match our neighbors. then the prosectutor asked us if we would be willing to promise for next year that we would only grow shrubbery or bushes. then he said it’s because the beds are raised that’s the problem. i’m sure it will be something else next time we talk to them. so even if we meet all of their criteria, we will inevitably be in supposed violation of something else…
i kind of wish i had told the judge how much popular support we had.
i wish i had said how much the neighborhood kids love our garden, and how much good it has done to educate people.
i wish i had stressed specific things i did to try to be in compliance.
i wish i had been more clear with the prosecutor when he said this is a slippery slope- if they allow our garden then what about the next person but their “garden” looks atrocious. i said that if they did something wrong, they should get a ticket. if they want overgrown weeds or naked statues or whatever, ticket them- IF THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED-by all means. but you can’t restrict us based on what other people “might” do down the line…
i wish i had really drilled down with the judge the unfairness of having weakly worded codes that are subject to interpretation and abuse.
i did a fair job of giving over my side of the story, but i was ok- not stunning.
i am still undecided about whether i should get a petition of support from my community members.
they ask me why i should be able to have a front yard garden. i ask why i shouldn’t!
i wish i had been brilliant- but there’s always next time…