Michigan Woman Charged Criminally For Growing Vegetable Garden In Her Own Front Yard

Julie Bass is facing a misdemeanor charge in Oak Park, Michigan. Her crime? Planting vegetables in her own front yard. It is the latest example of the criminalization of American society.

If you look at the photograph in the article below, Bass has arranged her garden in a neat grouping vegetable patches.

However, the city code limits a homeowner to “grass ground cover, shrubbery, or other suitable live plant material” in any unpaved portion of their yard. So, she could solve the problem by paving over her entire front yard? If she paves it over, can she put plants on the asphalt rather than a car?

City Planner Kevin Rulkowski insisted that “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.”

Here is the actual Webster definition of suitable:
“a : adapted to a use or purpose
b : satisfying propriety : proper
c : able, qualified <a suitable candidate for the job"

The dictionary lists as "obsolete" the meaning ": similar, matching."

Rulkowski's defense of the use of the criminal code to enforce his vision of "nice, grass yard[s] with beautiful trees and bushes and flowers" would not meet the definition of what is suitable for most citizens. Yet, it is part of a disturbing trend of criminalization in our society.

Bass now appears to need a “shrubber”:

Source: MLive as first seen on ABA Journal

50 thoughts on “Michigan Woman Charged Criminally For Growing Vegetable Garden In Her Own Front Yard

  1. Long time gardener here. Sorry, but those are really beautiful raised beds. Neat mulching, nice spacing for tending. No. There is nothing wrong with those planting beds. They do get prettier later when the squash or potato vines drape over. Would you prefer she have some garden gnomes, a wishing well, some deer, a lawn jockey, a old tractor tire planter painted white?

  2. Pete-

    Don’t let the gov’t. get wind of your “victory garden for the War on Terror” idea. Next thing you know they’re rationing meat, sugar, rubber tires, gasoline, and beer. They already drafted my dimpled ass once, I don’t want them drafting my wrinkled ass now.

  3. In Steamboat Springs Colorado you can potentially get 18 months for any violation of municipal ordinance whether or not the ordinance makes sense or is published or consistently imposed. It is or at least when we lived there was against the Steamboat Springs ordinances to mow the grass. mulch, water, or “trim” between your property line and the pavement, but the City doesn’t mow, mulch, water, or “trim” there either even though the average distance is 18 feet. Steamboat is a home rule city and claims immunity in federal court. Steamboat Springs Colorado is just a really dangerous and unpleasant place to live where the local officials can basically do anything they want to benefit themselves and hurt anyone just because they are corrupt, sadistic and power hungry. The locals just turn a blind eye. Anyone can confirm that they are corrupt just by looking at the Routt County property tax rolls for Jane and Kevin Bennett, 701 Princeton Ave. and looking for the detached 2000 square foot two story building they built in 2000 and the stable, 5 feet from the front property line, that they expanded and converted to a guest cottage in 2000.

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