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Orlando going after homeowner for garden :\

Solo

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#1
College Park man fights to keep vegetable garden in front yard (link) <--VIDEO at link
Orlando says garden against city code

ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orlando man is fighting city officials to keep his vegetable garden in his front yard. You have to step over radishes, wax beans and kale to get to Jason Helvingston's front door in College Park.

However, his 25 x 25 foot micro-irrigated vegetable garden is against city code, and the city of Orlando has asked Helvingston to dig it up by Wednesday. "I said, 'You'll take my house before you take my vegetable garden,'" he said. "There's nothing wrong here, there's nothing poisonous here. This is a sustainable plot of land." City code requires ground covers to be planted in a way that gives off a finished appearance so neighborhood lawns are clean, and inviting -- keeping property values up.

Helvingston has decided not to listen to the city. Instead, he's trying to petition the code to allow for veggie gardens in the front yard. He's gathered more than 200 signatures, including one from his neighbor, Shelly Snow. "(I'm) definitely not bothered by it. As a matter of fact, we love it," she said. Helvingston hopes the city will reconsider the code when he meets with a code board in December.

"This is another example of the government telling us what we can do with our own property -- that should never happen," he said. "In any economic downturn in the past history of the United States, the government has always encouraged the people to grow their own food, and so we want to continue with that movement." Other College Park residents tell Local 6 they're worried the city may come after them about their gardens. Greg Clifton tells Local 6 he is growing 1/4 of an acre of vegetables in his backyard. "But I have every intention of using my front yard as a garden and I think the more I can grow the better it is," Clifton told Local 6.
 

Malus

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#2
Resistance has to start somewhere. This guy will probably be crucified, but, it'll hopefully awaken others around him as to the nature of "laws" and their intent. Now, if we could get the other 300/400 million to do the same.............
 

GOLDZILLA

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#3
City code requires ground covers to be planted in a way that gives off a finished appearance so neighborhood lawns are clean, and inviting -- keeping property values up.


This is clearly a conflict of interest. The city, who gets taxes for property values is forcing people to keep up property values so that it can take more money from them. Allowing your property to become devalued in order to starve the beast should be protected as political free speech. <--- my decision, were I a supreme court judge.
 

Ragnarok

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#4
"City code requires ground covers to be planted in a way that gives off a finished appearance so neighborhood lawns are clean, and inviting"..

Well designed gardens of neatly planted rows of veggies don't "give off" a "finished" appearance?:hmmmm2:

IMHO gardens should be encouraged, everywhere.

R.
 

DodgebyDave

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#5
When finished, most gardens are rather green in appearance. Isn't green what keeps property values up?

City of Orlando. Forever crossed off my list of places to like
 

chewy

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#6
The guy is raising chickens and growing his own food. The government needs to leave him alone. Who is the injured party?

Would they rather he be just like every other leach and depend on the government for food via food stamps.

I like how he is taking a stand and saying "you will take my house before you take my garden"

I too, have had similar experience while living in Florida. Several years ago I was told I needed to remove my vegetable garden by the Home Owners Association. I did, to avoid fines. I vowed to never live in a HOA community again.

I currently have about a dozen fruit trees in my front yard in Florida and no, the government will not be removing them for any reason.

Enough is enough, all the government is doing is testing how far they can reach their arms into you private life and property.

Sadly, most people meekly yield to any and all intrusions.
 

Joseph

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#7
Resistance has to start somewhere. This guy will probably be crucified, but, it'll hopefully awaken others around him as to the nature of "laws" and their intent. Now, if we could get the other 300/400 million to do the same.............


+1. One would hope that the nature of what he's doing would bring much more support from the community, and that there'd be at least some percentage of city officials who have more common sense than the average farm animal. It's not as though he's growing curare

It's funny. Monsanto can poison the earth, but a guy can't have his own vegetable garden on his own property ...
 

newmisty

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#8
Unsightly weeds!!!! We need outdoor carpeting and it must be within a certain shade of hunter/dark green or face penalties!

I got a notice from my city informing me to cut my lawn or they would come and cut it for me and then bill me for it/ At the time I was busy as heck and gave in...if I had the time I would have started to ask for definitions of "weeds" and at what point they determine height becomes and issue....so at what point does my property turn from "woods" and into "lawn"? Are they prepared to make such distinctions? It's all legalese BS.
 

ToBeSelfEvident

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#9
There was a couple in Jacksonville who went through the same thing. The got the city to back down.

From the article in a local activist newspaper dated September 20, 2011:

"Well, that was until Aug. 2, when local
regulators said otherwise. The property, located
at 5708 Milmar Drive N., was cited that day
for multiple violations of Chapter 518.202 (1)
of the Jacksonville Ordinance Code, which
prohibits “Nuisance vegetation” — defined as
plant life “which exceeds a height of 15 inches
over the majority of the parcel or untended
growth or weeds, grass, underbrush or
undergrowth, or other noxious vegetation (but
not including trees, plants or other vegetation
protected by state law).” If fully enforced, the
city’s vegetation guidelines would mandate the
removal of as many as 59 trees.

It’s fortunate that these are no airhead
hippies floating about, ignorant of their rights
or the law. Faced with a potential $500 per day
fine, Herrmann (a graduate of Sarah Lawrence
College) and Bajalia went on the offensive.
First, they argued that the code for which they
were cited was rendered inapplicable by the
passage of Bill 2080 by the Florida State Senate,
clarifying the meaning and intent of “Florida-
Friendly Landscaping.” Signed into law by
then-Gov. Charlie Crist in June 2009, the bill
is designed specifically to permit landowners
to apply environmentally friendly design to
their properties, trumping local ordinances
like those Herrmann and Bajalia were cited for
violating.

In a written appeal on Aug. 8, they
wrote: “We have taken the time and effort to
INFORM the City [of its] employee’s mistaken
notice to our Florida Friendly Landscape out
of Honor and Respect. We are NOT appealing.
NO APPEAL IS NECESSARY. the $100 appeal
fee is more a penalty or fine levied under old
rules. … Any assessment against this property
will be vigorously fought and all expenses
and lost consulting fees that result from such
efforts will be levied against any persons,
employees of the City or otherwise, that
threaten to compromise our health or that of
our Florida Friendly Landscape.”
 

DodgebyDave

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#10
yep, just damn dumb.

All I can say is get your butts to the country.
 

jiikoo

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#11
Key words: Front yard.
 

GOLDZILLA

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#13

Solo

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#14
City of Orlando. Forever crossed off my list of places to like
I've lived here for many years now and there's a reason why the wife and I are planning/saving for a homestead elsewhere.

A little more info:

The story says this is in College Park. That's a bit of a hoighty toighty neighborhood as they have a lot of WWII era (and earlier) homes on old brick streets. Since it's minutes from downtown Orlando prices there *exploded* during the boom and even though they've come down since I bet that guy's tiny place is still 250K+. Of course these types of stories happen across the US all the time, we just don't hear about them. I remember posting a story just a few months ago about a woman who grew all her food, and medicine, in her yard and the city ordered her to dig it all up. She refused, and while out one day trying to find a job (she was unemployed and broke), the b@stards from the city came in and dug all her food and medicine up. She was in tears while she was talking to the reporter saying she didn't know how she was going to afford anything :mad:.
 

samwiii

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#15
You pay money to buy your property, pay money every year to the gov to keep your property, and can only use it in the manner that the gov deems acceptable. Fail to live up to any of these, and the gov take the property away. Common sense is irrelevant; it's about what the gov says is okay OR decides isn't okay after the fact. So, who really thinks they actually own their property?
 

RealJack

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#16
We spent a fortune in FRN's to build our factory farms in China and that man thinks he can come along and compete?
He should be shipped off to Camp Fema immediately and his property returned to Lord Rothschild from whom it was promised
by Lucifer hisssselfff.
 

Joseph

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#17
You pay money to buy your property, pay money every year to the gov to keep your property, and can only use it in the manner that the gov deems acceptable. Fail to live up to any of these, and the gov take the property away. Common sense is irrelevant; it's about what the gov says is okay OR decides isn't okay after the fact. So, who really thinks they actually own their property?
......................
 

Attachments

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#18
Anyone can be a fascist, just ask my local turd police ...

Imagine the power, flexing your bureaucratic muscle, making life miserable for property owners, being backed by the county lawyers, their administrative kangaroo courts and ultimately, when needed, the thrilling firepower of law enforcement !

When its all over you can have five minutes of fame on the local prepaid news channel talking about how crazy that property owner was.
 

Wellsburg

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#19
I was just considering something, I am not a lawyer or a realtor, but I took 12 hours of Real Estate Law in college.

Here are all of the types of deeds I can think of, these are the choices how to legally "own" property and have the deed recorded at the court house: I may have forgotten a few.
Joint Tennants
Joint Tennants with Right of Survivorship
Tennants in Common
Community Property
Trust Deed
Corporation
Partnership
Limited Partnership

These are all "allodial title", which means that the "owner" can use and enjoy the property and transfer title to another party, but the state can lay and collect taxes on the property, and the state can tell you what you can and cannot do on the property. Some examples. The state or county or township can zone your property as Residential, so you cannot have a horse, or a manufacturing shop, or park a commercial vehicle on the property. They can also tell you that you cannot build within 10 feet of the property line, or you cannot build a house higher than 30 feet, or you cannot plant any crops that grow higher than 3 feet (strawberry plants would be OK, but not corn or apple trees, for instance). The list of rules could be endless, they could decide that you must keep your grass cut to 2" or shorter if they feel like it, or they could make it illegal to have a concrete driveway.

Many years ago, there was another type of deed called "Fee Simple". This is no longer available since this is absolute title based under common law. If there is any land left on earth deeded as "Fee Simple", it is probably owned by the royal families of Europe who pay no tax on their land holdings. If they sold a piece off, it would no longer be "Fee Simple" titled deed, it would be converted to one of the above types of deed.
 

Usury

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#20
I was just considering something, I am not a lawyer or a realtor, but I took 12 hours of Real Estate Law in college.

Here are all of the types of deeds I can think of, these are the choices how to legally "own" property and have the deed recorded at the court house: I may have forgotten a few.
Joint Tennants
Joint Tennants with Right of Survivorship
Tennants in Common
Community Property
Trust Deed
Corporation
Partnership
Limited Partnership

These are all "allodial title", which means that the "owner" can use and enjoy the property and transfer title to another party, but the state can lay and collect taxes on the property, and the state can tell you what you can and cannot do on the property. Some examples. The state or county or township can zone your property as Residential, so you cannot have a horse, or a manufacturing shop, or park a commercial vehicle on the property. They can also tell you that you cannot build within 10 feet of the property line, or you cannot build a house higher than 30 feet, or you cannot plant any crops that grow higher than 3 feet (strawberry plants would be OK, but not corn or apple trees, for instance). The list of rules could be endless, they could decide that you must keep your grass cut to 2" or shorter if they feel like it, or they could make it illegal to have a concrete driveway.

Many years ago, there was another type of deed called "Fee Simple". This is no longer available since this is absolute title based under common law. If there is any land left on earth deeded as "Fee Simple", it is probably owned by the royal families of Europe who pay no tax on their land holdings. If they sold a piece off, it would no longer be "Fee Simple" titled deed, it would be converted to one of the above types of deed.
I might be wrong, but being that I'm actively in the real estate business and have been for a long time I gonna just go out there and say that you need to brush up on your studies a bit.

First, a Corp, Partnership or LP are business entities....NOT deeds.

Second, a trust deed is a mortgage....not a deed from the traditional stance.

Finally, the way that the deed is held by the owner (i.e., survivorship/joint/etc) is separate from the kind of rights deeded to the property. Most deeds ARE Fee Simple meaning that the owner has full access, rights and use of the land. This is opposed to a Leasehold estate where you are actually only being deeded the improvements on the property and assuming the prior owners LEASE of the dirt for a time period (usually 30-99 years).
 

Solo

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#21
UPDATE! Good news too :yes:!

Front-yard gardeners win a round in city battle (link) (VIDEO at link)

Members of Orlando's Municipal Planning Board are accustomed to receiving stacks of tedious zoning reports, but their meeting Tuesday was the first time they got carrots.

That veggie offering may have helped one couple make their case.

Jason and Jennifer Helvenston, the College Park residents who drew national attention by filling their front yard with vegetables, won a small victory by convincing most planning-board members that the city's proposed garden regulations are too restrictive.

The board recommended that the City Council allow front-yard vegetable gardens. The advisory board also wants the City Council to form a task force that would include gardeners to consider loosening regulations pushed by city planners.

"I worry that we're over-complicating the matter a little bit for a vegetable garden," planning-board member Karen Anderson said.

Enter to win tickets to see Wicked performed live!

Dozens of garden lovers filled the meeting room to support the Helvenstons. Some carried protest signs outside City Hall with messages such as "Food Freedom Now!"

The Helvenstons dug up their front yard last year and planted radishes, tomatoes, carrots, turnips, beets, broccoli and other veggies. The owner of the house next door called the city, which led to a code-enforcement complaint and a demand that the Helvenstons remove the garden and restore their yard.

Ultimately, city lawyers decided Monday to drop the code-enforcement case because Orlando's zoning rules were too vague on gardens to prove the Helvenstons had done anything wrong.

In the meantime, planners were working on changes to the code that would specifically allow front-yard gardens but only if certain restrictions were met.

Those would require plantings to be screened with fencing or shrubs, set back at least 10 feet from the property line or placed in planter boxes. Vegetables could be no taller than 4 feet. And gardens of annual vegetables could cover no more than 25 percent of the front yard.

Planners argued that the regulations balance the desire to keep yards tidy and aesthetically pleasing with the growing trend of urban gardening.

"We think 25 percent is more than sufficient to provide for kitchen gardening in the front-yard area," chief planner Jason Burton said.

But the Helvenstons told planning board members that the proposed restrictions went too far. The rules are overly complex and would drastically cut the area available for food, they said.

"It basically takes a simple edible garden and turns it into a NASA rocket," Jason Helvenston said. "It is complicated, and it is rushed."

Some in the crowd called the city's proposal "classist," because requirements such as fencing and planter boxes would make gardening too expensive for some residents. Others argued that Orlando's rules would plow over their property rights.

"The restrictions of 25 percent of my yard — when it's my yard, I pay taxes on it — are ridiculous," said Richard Powell, a horticulturalist.

Jennifer Helvenston spoke of the goodwill that grew from their garden. She handed out freshly picked carrots to board members. Another speaker presented the board with a potted medicinal plant.

Gretchen Padin, who owns and rents out the house next door to the Helvenstons, supports the city's rules and said they should provide plenty of space to grow vegetables for a family. Padin said that after all the publicity from their report to code-enforcement inspectors, she and her husband have received threats from garden-lovers.

"We're not against gardens; we're against the way it was done," she said.

After a public hearing that lasted nearly four hours, it was clear that most board members thought the regulations went too far. Several members opposed restricting vegetables to just 25 percent of the front yard and weren't happy with the 4-foot height limit.

The board voted unanimously to recommend the City Council adopt the proposal but also to urge that a task force take up the measure, paying particular attention to the 25 percent rule and the height limit.

In the end, what happens to the Helvenstons and other gardeners will be up to the City Council. The couple vowed to continue their fight, and supporters said they won't give up, either.

"I think beauty is in the eye of the beholder," front-yard gardener Elizabeth Whitley said, "and who can say this isn't beautiful?"