Perhaps Hermine Ricketts should be glad that a SWAT team didn’t descend upon on her front-yard garden. After all, in blatant if ignorant violation of a new zoning law, the former architect had been growing vegetables there.
Several months ago, a Miami Shores zoning inspector happened by (doubtless alerted by a troublemaking neighbor) and told Ricketts that she must uproot the vegetables, now illegal because the village council is okay with seeing fruits and flowers in a front-yard garden but has a thing about veggies.
Hermine Ricketts complained to the code enforcement board but was rebuffed. She therefore obeyed the order to uproot vegetables from the garden that she had been tending without controversy for 17 years. But she and her husband Tom Carroll are also taking their case to court with the help of the Institute for Justice, the ubiquitous champion of property rights.
“You can plant fruit, you can have flowers, you can adorn your property with pink flamingos— but you cannot have vegetables!” exclaims Ari Bargill, a lawyer with the Institute. “That is almost the definition of irrationality.”
The couple’s back yard is mostly in the shade because of the way the house is positioned, so relegating the vegetables to the rear isn’t really an alternative. However, that’s irrelevant. Front yard or back, it’s their own property from which their own kale and cabbage are being banned. The city doesn’t own the plot; Tom and Hermine do.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.