According to this article in The Consumerist, a woman residing in Michigan is facing possible jail time for ignoring the town’s interpretation of the planning code while planting a vegetable garden in her front yard instead of what the town’s elders believe are proper plants to grow there.
From the article:
The town ordinance says that front yards have to be planted with “suitable, live, plant material.” The woman feels it qualifies.
“It’s definitely live. It’s definitely plant. It’s definitely material. We think it’s suitable,” she told FOX.
The city planners say that her garden doesn’t count. “If you look at the definition of what suitable is in Webster’s dictionary, it will say common,” Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski told FOX. “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.”
However, in looking up “suitable” on Merriam-Webster.com, neither the word “common” nor any word approximating it appears in the definition.
The question here is simple: if this were in your town who would you side with? Do you agree with the city’s interpretation of the code or do you side with the homeowner? If it were your town would you want the code changed so that interpretation was less necessary and instead the code was made clear? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.