Update: The misdemeanor charges against Julie Bass, the Oak Park, Mich. woman who faced jail time for planting a vegetable garden in her front yard, have been dismissed by a judge, according to Bass’s blog. But the case has not been dropped and charges could be refiled by the prosecutor, she said.
Oak Park prosecutor Eugene Lumberg said that he wanted dismissal of the garden case to take more time to examine the city ordinance in question, according to WJBK in Detroit.
Bass is still facing two misdemeanor charges for not having her two dogs licensed and will be in court July 26. Her lawyer, Soloman Radner, told WJBK that the Basses never received a first warning about the dogs, which is required by law.
Read the original story from July 8 below.
(Watch an interview with Julie Bass here.)
A Michigan woman might be facing jail time for planting vegetables.
Julie Bass that it would be “really cool” to create a four plot vegetable garden in her Oak Park, Mich., front yard. “The kids from the neighborhood all come and help,” she told WJBK in Detroit.
You know who doesn’t love it? The City of Oak Park. Bass has been charged with a misdemeanor for violating a city code, after she ignored a a warning and a ticket.
“That’s not what we want to see in a front yard,” Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski told WJBK.
According to the city, a yard must have “suitable, live, plant material,” and Bass’ yard violates the “suitable” part of the requirement, Rulkowki said .
“If you look at the definition of what suitable is in Webster’s dictionary, it will say common,” he explained. “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.”
This definition may be slightly off. Merriam-Webster gives three definitions for suitable: “adapt to a use or purpose,” “satisfying propriety” and “able or qualified.”
Neighbors interviewed about the garden both support it — “I think it's a very wonderful thing for our neighborhood” — and dislike it — “I know there’s a back yard. Do it in the back yard.”
Bass has a response for that: “They say, ‘Why should you grow things in the front?’ Well, why shouldn’t I? They’re fine. They’re pretty. They’re well maintained.”
A Facebook group, “Oak Park Hates Veggies,” has been created in support of Bass, with organizers providing addresses for city officials. A petition to end the prosecution has been started on Care2 with 1,886 signatures so far.
You can check out pictures of the offending garden here.
Watch Bass and Rulkowski tell their sides of the story below: