Vegetable garden tyranny in Florida

A couple in Florida has had to dig up the garden they have had on their property for more than 17 years. The vegetable garden – until this past May – was perfectly legal and did not break any zoning regulations.

It’s not like this couple moved into a property and planted a garden, after signing a homeowners agreement that said they could not plant one. From Fox News.

For the past 17 years [Hermine Ricketts and her husband, Tom Carroll had] a garden in the front yard of their modest South Florida home. The backyard, they say, doesn’t get enough sunlight.

But in May, the city put the couple’s garden, and any others like it, in their legal crosshairs.

A new zoning ordinance designed to “protect the distinctive character of the Miami Shores Village,” was enacted and specifically prohibited vegetables – not fruit, trees or even plastic flamingos – from appearing in front yards.

Shortly after, the couple received a visit from their local code enforcement officer. They were given two choices: Uproot the garden or pay a $50 per day fine to keep it.

Cross Miami Shores Village off my retirement location list. I don’t like it when governments retroactively change zoning rules and force you to comply using extreme financial pressure. Those tactics are unacceptable. If they can do that, what else do they have the authority to do? Where does their power end? Don’t think their front yard looked like a working farm and there was an excuse…


15 replies
  1. ricbee
    ricbee says:

    What I first loved about Florida(besides the weather that is)was that they had no zoning laws except in Palm Beach,everyone else could do whatever they pleased. Mt friends lived in a shack in the back of South L St. Too many rich folks have moved in & ruined it for us simple folks.

  2. cranky yankee
    cranky yankee says:

    Easiest way to change the law is to get a list of what’s a fruit ?and what’s a vegetable. A tomato is a fruit for example then have code enforcement visit houses where people have what some think are fruit trees and cite them. Things will change in a hurry.?

  3. bien-pensant
    bien-pensant says:

    Ahhh, gentrification. Progress. All up and down the East Coast the farm land near the ocean is being uprooted and McMansions are sprouting in their place. It’s nothing personal, just financial. Big financial, there’s lots of money to be made in gentrifying a community. It is all part of the command government. Uniformity and regulations. Oh, and cash flow. The twin headed serpent of power and money — thus politics –? is what is behind all of this. Did I mention laawyers? (We hate ’em ’til we need ’em and most of us will need one, sooner or later.) Not all bad but, some are unscrupulous.
    Monsanto’s lawyers could argue that a private vegetable and fruit garden is a patent infringement. Community gardens are probably next on the hit list.
    It has to stop. Progress is our most important problem.

  4. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    I’ve seen this at my aunt and uncle’s retirement community: they had to get special permit to allow my SUV to park there, and it had to park in a certain direction!? Talk about authoritarian!

    • bien-pensant
      bien-pensant says:

      A friend lives in FL six months and one day a year — yes, he is a CT state retiree — at a condominium where he has three sets of rules and regulations to adhere to: the Condo Association, the Clubhouse and Maintenance. Each has a separate fee, Sound familiar?
      He bought his condo before the Association was formed and is now being fined for having a “distinctive exterior light fixture.” Huh?

      • ricbee
        ricbee says:

        Condo associations are more tyrannical rulers than local governments. I’d rather live under a bridge than in a condo-you only own the space between the walls.

  5. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    What ever happened to the grown up hippies who fed themselves from their gardens in their Commune? Or Victory Gardens? Greenies Unite!?

    • bien-pensant
      bien-pensant says:

      Join a CSA or have your veggies and fruit trucked in with its corresponding “big carbon footprint.”
      But, retroactively imposing rules is like Malloy getting a tax increase, the biggest in CT history, and then having it apply for all of the fiscal months prior to it being passed.

  6. JollyRoger
    JollyRoger says:

    The BTK serial killer was a code enforcement officer- I’ll bet he could clean-up this backyard gardening mess!

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