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College Park man fights to keep vegetable garden in front yard

Home - by - November 8, 2012 - 22:30 America/New_York - 10 Comments


Orlando says garden against city code


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.



  1. Unneutral

    November 8th, 2012

    He’s not to provide for himself, the government is suppose to do that.

    Noteworthy Comment Thumb up +10

  2. Edith McCrotch

    November 8th, 2012

    “You’ll take my house before you take my vegetable garden,” he said.

    ….and THEY will dude, they will.

    Thumb up +6

  3. Commissar M

    November 9th, 2012

    This is why I despise laws that claim to “protect property values” or the “historical character” of neighborhoods. It’s also why I hate private covenants with a passion. My neighborhood association managed to get this area designated as “historical” a couple years back and and the extra steps needed to do anything are headache inducing to say the least. I did a major revamp on my house and had to attend a meeting to ask permission from some board of ancient fossils who I’d never met before. It was an absolute PIA and stalled construction for 6 weeks since I had to wait for the once a month meeting. I also had to hire a guy to do a rendering so I could show them what I had in mind. It cost out the ass and added enormous stress for a renovation on a very modest home in a modest “working folk” area. And keep in mind that my neighbors were thrilled with the results. I can’t imagine the stress if they hadn’t like what I wanted to do. Now, I have a large oak tree that’s looking pretty sickly and I need to do some cosmetic repairs but I’ll be damned if I’ll ask permission for anything again. Hopefully, the tree won’t fall while I own the house.

    Thumb up +1

  4. scr_north

    November 9th, 2012

    Hey, maybe he can get Michelle Obama to help him defend his garden. Unfortunately she’s got another 4 years to berate everyone about their eating habits. Give her a hoe and let her stand guard. That would make two hoes on his front lawn.

    Thumb up +2

  5. Unneutral

    November 9th, 2012

    And homeowners think THEY own the property.

    Thumb up +2

  6. Debbie

    November 9th, 2012

    If this were a case of Orlando changing the law after Mr. Helvingston planted his garden, that would be one thing, but that’s not what happened. No matter how much he, or I, or anyone else disagrees with the letter or intent of the law, it is what it is and he planted his garden in violation of it. Similar to speeding, which many of us do every day, if you break the law you have to be prepared to accept the consequences. If he really wanted to have a garden AND be in compliance, he could have planted in the back yard and/or worked with the city in advance.

    Thumb up 0

  7. J-Mac

    November 9th, 2012

    At what point does the letter and intent of bad laws be cast aside to the prevailing of common sense?

    Thumb up +2

  8. BILL

    November 9th, 2012

    laws only apply to the little people.

    a kennedy, reid or pelosi would have no problem having a garden in their front lawn if they lived their and wanted one.

    kind of like geitner and paying taxes.

    or holder selling guns to mexican drug gangs.

    or like the seals being prosecuted for “leaks” but obama leaking info about the osama mission gets a a pass, even when seals die in helicopter crash after the “leaks”.

    or like companies and organizations friendly to obama getting waivers from obamacare.

    or like obama letting ouor abasador die in banghazi and getting a pass.

    laws will only apply to the working middle class from now on.

    get used to it.

    Thumb up +1

  9. Noodengr

    November 9th, 2012

    Debbie, it is not right just to role over and accept continued enroachment on private property rights. I applaud this guy for standing up to an a law that while maybe have been good intentions when passed, is way over the bounds of what our Founding Fathers had in mind for any level of gov’t Fed, state or local.
    It takes someone like him to make the news and show this nation what is happening and will continue to happen with another 4 yrs of obuma.

    Thumb up 0

  10. Commissar M

    November 9th, 2012

    Yeah Debbie, and Rosa Parks should’ve just sat down at the back the bus. (Yes, I’m aware of the full history of that event in that it was planned and staged. It still required a real person to knowingly break a real law and face the consequences.)

    Just because something is the law doesn’t make it moral or ethical

    Thumb up 0