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Woman taken to court over her community garden

Julie Bass of Oak Park wanted to save some cash on fresh vegetables, so she started a garden this spring. But now, Oak Park officials are dragging her to court over it.

The reason? Fox 2 reports Bass planted her garden in the front yard. Code compliance officials decided the garden was not an acceptable use for the front yard. So the city warned her. Then they ticketed her. And now they have charged her with a misdemeanor.

City officials say the front yard isn’t “suitable” for a garden.

“Suitable” Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski says is this:

“If you look at the definition of what suitable is in Webster’s dictionary, it will say common. So, if you look around and you look in any other community, what’s common to a front yard is a nice, grass yard with beautiful trees and bushes and flowers.”

Perhaps, however, Rulkowski should check the dictionary again. The online version of the Meriam-Webster dictionary calls that definition of suitable obsolete:

  • obsolete : similar, matching

2

a : adapted to a use or purpose

b : satisfying propriety : proper

c : able, qualified

Bass says the neighborhood kid have become cheerleaders for her garden, even helping her out with it. And Fox 2 even interviewed Devorah Gould, a neighbor, who loves the garden.

[

“I have a bunch of little children and we take walks to come by and see everything growing. I think it’s a very wonderful thing for our neighborhood.”

But neither the city nor Bass are backing down, and the case is likely headed for a jury trial. The two are expected in court July 26 for another pre-trial conference.

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