The Helvenstons have not backed down from their front-yard garden battle initiated by Orlando, Florida. It started when the city demanded they uproot their edible 25 x 25 micro-garden neatly located in front of their home on a dead-end neighborhood road away from city view. But deadlines passed and they kept right on growing.
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The city took note of the protest at City Hall with supporters of Jason and Jennifer. However, they want a compromise – and that’s where we really need to pay attention. Of course, in true bureaucratic fashion, they came up with a complicated list that actually contains many more restrictions, including heights, lengths, reduced portions of front-yard gardens, and, additionally – new restrictions on side and backyard growth.
And what of bureaucrats’ reasons for going after gardens in the first place? Nameless complaints from neighbors supposedly for their garden being an “eye sore.” How many unprofessional things could we say in response to that? An eye sore complaint – that warrants total uprooting of a garden on privately owned property? What about all the other problems the city ignores – like, I don’t know, hundreds of front-yard-garden protesters?
There is a nearby neighbor who has a shrill, yipping dog that I’d love to muzzle. But many of us would not resort to complaining to officials about it, and that’s more of an annoyance than a neighbor who invites everyone (city officials included) to eat free veggies from their immaculate garden. Inedible gardens, vines, pink flamingos, and garden gnomes are more obnoxious than that. The neighbor takes care of the dog for two reasons: love of family pet, and home protection.
The Helvenstons are working hard to insulate themselves from a broken economy and do what they love with no impositions. They invite everyone to join them – who would want to muzzle that?
You can also voice your opinion to the city with the following contacts:
City Planning Division
City Hall, 6th Floor | 400 S. Orange Ave.
P.O. Box 4990 | Orlando, FL 32802-4990
(407) 246-2269 Main | (407) 246-2895 Fax
City Planning Division Manager
Dean J. Grandin, Jr., AICP
Mayor Buddy Dyer
E-mail: [email protected]
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