William Patrick watchdog.org TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Few things in life are as benign as a home vegetable garden. OUTLAWS: A Miami Shores couple was forced to uproot their garden of 17 years to comply with a new city ordinance. But for the residents of Miami Shores, Fla., growing veggies can land you a fine — the type you eventually can’t afford. That’s what happened to Hermine Ricketts and her husband, Tom Carroll. For the past 17 years they’ve grown a garden in the front yard of their modestSouth Florida home. The backyard, they say, doesn’t get enough sunlight. But in May, the city put the couple’s garden, and any others like it, in their legal crosshairs. A new zoning ordinance designed to “protect the distinctive character of the Miami Shores Village,” was enacted and specifically prohibited vegetables – not fruit, trees or even plastic flamingos – from appearing in front yards. Shortly after, the couple received a visit from their local code enforcement officer. They were given a choice: Uproot the garden or pay a $50 per day fine to keep it. After twice appearing before the Miami Shores Code Enforcement Board and beingdenied an exemption, the couple decided to dig up the garden rather than fork over $1,500 a month to the city. Now they’re taking their case to court. In an effort to reinstate the couple’s right to grow a few vegetables on their own property, the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit libertarian leaning legal aid group, filed a lawsuit Tuesday on their behalf. “We’re not suing for money,” IJ attorney Ari Bargil toldFlorida Watchdog. “We’re asking the court to rule that this law is unconstitutional so Hermine and Tom can plant their garden again.”According to Bargil, the ordinance infringes on the couple’s basic right to privacy – a right the Florida Constitutionrecognizes more broadly than the U.S. Constitution. to read more click here: watchdog.org
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