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Food Not Lawns

Home - by - December 24, 2012 - 08:30 America/New_York - 31 Comments

NY Times

Since his backyard doesn’t get much sun, Mr. Helvenston ripped out the lawn in his front yard and put the 25-by-25-foot, micro-irrigated plot there. The unorthodox landscaping went largely unnoticed for months, perhaps because he lives on a dead-end street next to Interstate 4.

Then, in September, Pedro Pedin, who lives in Puerto Rico but owns the rental property next door, visited with his wife and cast a displeasing eye on his neighbor’s front yard. “All the houses are pretty much kept neat,” Mr. Pedin said, “but his house looks like a farm.”

Mr. Pedin contacted the city, which cited the Helvenstons for violating section 60.207 of Orlando’s Land Development Code (failure to maintain ground cover on property) and set a deadline of Nov. 7 to comply.

One of the ideas floating around is to require homeowners who plant a front-yard garden to shield it from the street with a fence. Mr. Pedin, the owner of the neighboring house, said he would be “100 percent agreeable” to that solution.

But Mr. Helvenston finds the compromise objectionable. “A fence is expensive,” he said, digging in. “Now you just ruined my return on investment.”

While they wait for the city’s updated policy, the Helvenstons continue to tend their vegetable patch (they just harvested edamame) and to drum up support for the garden in their front yard and those elsewhere. “We didn’t want this to happen,” Mr. Helvenston said, in a warning shot to other communities, “but it’s a blessing. It’s gotten more people planting gardens.”

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» 31 Comments

  1. Ya sure

    December 24th, 2012

    What ever gave you the idea it was your property?

    Just pay your taxes and acquiesce to your civic association tyrants.

    Neighbors suck.

    Noteworthy Comment Thumb up +20

     
  2. Claudia

    December 24th, 2012

    Since when is feeding your family any kind of violation? Oh, I do now seem to remember several “Victory Gardens” being under attack by the government hacks around this country. Why don’t they ever remember that they work for us?!

    Noteworthy Comment Thumb up +11

     
  3. Dukenik

    December 24th, 2012

    To me, Mr. Helvenston’s front garden is attractive.

    Insisting that American’s keep front lawns does seem oppressive. Ironic that it is an upper class English custom that local governments enforce.
    The other side has fanatics too. The group Food, Not Lawns is tyrannical also. According to the article, they want to ban lawns.

    Busy bodies have one thing in common. Too much time on their hands.

    Noteworthy Comment Thumb up +22

     
  4. Ornery1

    December 24th, 2012

    Spectracide Pedro–it’s a helluva thing–it could end up just about anywhere If I’m forced to kill my garden….

    Thumb up +7

     
  5. Maudie N Mandeville

    December 24th, 2012

    Who knew a tall privacy fence in the front yard was more aesthetic than a garden.

    The problem arises when Mr. and MRS. Helvenston sell the house. Try telling a pregnant 24 year old single woman with her government subsidy and three children that she’ll be able to till the soil and grow their own vegetables.

    Noteworthy Comment Thumb up +14

     
  6. Dr. Tar

    December 24th, 2012

    Isn’t this just the kind of fresh produce example that Mooshelle champions? Too bad for this guy the Obama’s don’t need any more photo ops with the common man now that they’ve conned the nation a second time. He might have scored a visit from the Moose.

    Noteworthy Comment Thumb up +11

     
  7. Maudie N Mandeville

    December 24th, 2012

    On the other hand, try telling a pregnant 24 year old single woman with her government subsidy and three children that she needs to mow her lawn.

    Dog whistle for RACIST: mow, lawn, lawnmower, neat, trim, picturesque, well kept, rake, ….

    Thumb up +9

     
  8. The Digital Hairshirt

    December 24th, 2012

    Hey, Senor Pedin, did your tenants complain? No? Then STFU.

    Thumb up +9

     
  9. Callmelennie

    December 24th, 2012

    Since when is feeding your own family a violation Claudia?

    Since the day this married white couple crossed a non-white, non-heterosexual

    Thumb up +6

     
  10. Diann

    December 24th, 2012

    My brother and his wife had hoped to buy a home in the Radisson area north of Syracuse, but my sister-in-law told them to go pound sand when she found out they didn’t permit outdoor laundry lines in the backyard. They purchased elsewhere.

    Remember when private property was considered the building block of our civil society?

    Noteworthy Comment Thumb up +13

     
  11. J Frank Parnell

    December 24th, 2012

    Neighborgs, norming via the collective’s authority. The Helvenstons evince individualism and self-reliance so of course they must be reduced and assimilated.

    Noteworthy Comment Thumb up +10

     
  12. Tim

    December 24th, 2012

    Why are Puerto Ricans allowed to buy land in America?

    Come to think of it, why is the rat-bastard allowed to visit?

    Yeah, I know about the Spanish-American War and all that – just cut em loose – they’ve been sucking the American teat for over a century.

    Thumb up +9

     
  13. sTevo

    December 24th, 2012

    Looks like ground cover to me.

    I agree, the neighbor is a rat fugging bastard. I bet he is a commie as well.

    Thumb up +8

     
  14. Unruly Refugee

    December 24th, 2012

    I can target shoot from my front porch. Why would anybody want to live some place where you can’t do stuff like that?

    Noteworthy Comment Thumb up +16

     
  15. MM

    December 24th, 2012

    Looks a lot better than a couple rusted out PUs on cinder blocks which is exactly what you see in parts of Denver.

    Noteworthy Comment Thumb up +10

     
  16. Noodengr

    December 24th, 2012

    live rural here too unruly, would not want to live someplace that wouldn’t allow me to pee off the porch.
    I agree with most of the comments here, tell the gov’t, neighborhood assc, and busy bodies to respect PRIVATE PROPERTY, and worry about things that matter in life.

    Thumb up +7

     
  17. Noodengr

    December 24th, 2012

    rant part 2. The guy planted his garden in his front yard so that it would get sun. Think about how much SHADE would result from a fence. Jeesh the busy bodies just keep getting dumber.

    Thumb up +6

     
  18. mickey_moussaoui

    December 24th, 2012

    I have three dogs in my back yard and it looks like the surface of the moon

    Thumb up +9

     
  19. Edith McCrotch

    December 24th, 2012

    We lived in Orlando for 11 years and bought a house within the city limits.

    The previous owner parked his camper in a unpaved portion next to the driveway and our neighbor parked his huge Winnebago in his backyard.

    So after we moved in, with Sis-in-law McCrotch, we used the extra parking just as the previous owner did.

    A few months later we got a letter from the city informing us of violating a city code concerning parking on the unpaved portion.

    We called to question the code and explained that the previous owner parked his camper there.

    They said it was an oversight with enforcement. I commented “An oversight for 15 years?”

    We squeezed our cars in as much as possible into the paved driveway only to get a letter of a new code violation stating that one of the cars was 2 inches over into the sidewalk.

    Plus we had the “No Parking” signs on our side of the street.

    We looked into paving the portion next to the driveway….no that was a utility easement.

    The only other place was the front yard but we would have to remove a lump of dirt put there by the previous owner.

    The impact fees that the city would charge would be for the removal of the dirt AND the square footage for “water loss to the aquifer” from any pavement put in.

    For years after that I would spot a dude in a car that was taking pictures of our and ONLY our house.

    We lost that house in the early ’90s recession and thank God for that.

    Thumb up +8

     
  20. fullcirclethinker

    December 24th, 2012

    I’m guessing Pedro was either pissed because they wouldn’t hire illegals to pick their garden or there was no lawn for illegals to mow.

    Thumb up +7

     
  21. beachmom

    December 24th, 2012

    Ever been to Puerto Rico?
    Except for a couple of nice areas, the place is a sty.

    Thumb up +8

     
  22. Carlos The Jackal

    December 24th, 2012

    It amazes me that Christmas displays, vegetable gardens, T-shirt slogans, and the tokens of Christianity can be banned for EVERYONE based on the complaint of a single individual.
    What all these people need is a big dose of mind your own fucking business, administered violently if necessary.

    Thumb up +9

     
  23. Stranded in Sonoma

    December 24th, 2012

    Our property is in an HOA. Before we bought the house, the property sat unoccupied for more than a year. The previous owner never paid his HOA dues either. There was some ungodly amount of money owed to the HOA and they wanted that paid as part of our purchase price. Fat chance. We see the HOA bundists out and about with their checklists and clipboards marking everyone down for their “violations.” If they wave, I ignore it. One said hello to me once and I responded, “Sieg heil.”

    I was complaining about the HOA fees one day and my sister-in-law told me that it’s a small investment toward keeping the property value up when it comes time to sell. I told her that my property taxes, and therefore my property value, went down every year I’ve lived here because of Omoron and his epic fail of an economy. (She’s a democrat and an 0bama zealot.) She reminded me that it was Booooosh’s fault. I keep forgetting.

    Thumb up +8

     
  24. Mr.Gates

    December 24th, 2012

    I wonder what their code defines “ground cover” as. Just cover the bare dirt with mulch and thumb your nose at the assholes. We get wood chips for free around here.

    Thumb up +3

     
  25. GW Bear

    December 24th, 2012

    This is precisely why I live in the country. My nearest neighbor is over a 1/4 mile away and I have my own range I can use any time I want.

    Urban living sucks!

    Thumb up +5

     
  26. Czar of Defenestration

    December 24th, 2012

    Leftists being forced to live with the consequences of an
    Overseeing State Machine?!?

    Sweet! Merry Christmas!!!

    Thumb up +3

     
  27. Maudie N Mandeville

    December 24th, 2012

    @Sonoma: You should have smiled, nodded and winked at her, “Property values, I get it.”

    Thumb up +3

     
  28. NOMOBAMY

    December 24th, 2012

    Dang!

    They wouldn’t be very happy with my lawn mower goats.

    Thumb up +3

     
  29. Kairn

    December 24th, 2012

    I think his yard looks positively yummy.

    Yards overgrown with weeds and unkempt trees and bushes is always an annoying sight. Yet we rarely see examples of these blighted properties brought to our attention in the news by way of extremely whiney neighbors. I wonder why that is?

    Thumb up +2

     
  30. Stranded in Sonoma

    December 24th, 2012

    @Maudie — I’ll remember that. Will probably be seeing her at the family Christmas. I could show her my property tax bills and the letters from the assessor telling me the value is going down.

    Or maybe I could just joebiden* the issue because a liberal would understand that.

    * laugh at everything your guest/opponent says because you have to hide the fact that you have zero knowledge of the topic being discussed.

    Thumb up +2

     
  31. Mary Jane Anklestraps

    December 24th, 2012

    You don’t have a choice but to keep a garden neat. Otherwise stuff gets all over everything and you don’t know what the hell you’re digging and replacing. Mr. puerto rico over there is just pissed that his rental home looks like shit next to theirs.

    Thumb up +2