Rant reader and Berkeley resident Spidra tells us of a neighbor who is being fined hundreds a day for having fruit trees and raised beds (including perennials and vegetables) in his front yard and median.
An image from Asa Dodsworth’s easeway and front garden space is shown at top. Dodsworth is an community activist, gardener, and chicken aficionada who was told by a code enforcement official that the frontyard was supposed to be a lawn. Here are Dodsworth’s violations and the fines:
•Vegetation over six foot tall, a five hundred dollar a day fine, now cited twice in a two week period
•Unpermitted trees, a five hundred dollar a day fine, cited twice
•Unpermitted garden beds, a five hundred dollar a day fine, cited twice
•Two counts of obstruction of the right of way, at five hundred dollar a day each.
•And a we-already-told-you-so citation, a five hundred dollar a day fine
Interestingly, Berkeley is implementing a Climate Action Plan, which aims to reduce greenhouse gases by 80%; part of this is official support of community gardens and localized food growing. Here’s a direct quote from the plan’s recommendations to residents: Grow your own food. Join a community garden or plant a garden in your yard. So it could be there is a disconnect between the activities of officially-supported community gardens and what the individual food grower can do.
Having viewed the slide show, I feel positive that these front and easeway beds would likely run into trouble in Buffalo, and would never be permitted to take shape where a homeowner’s association has any say. I like them though. They look very lush and suitable to the bungalow-type architecture I can see in the photos. And really, can we keep our eyes on the big picture, and stop harassing homeowners about their plantings? As long as it is maintained, I’m fine with it and the city should be too.