Keeping with the beleaguered homeowner theme of my earlier post on a New Jersey homeowner whose private driveway, according to Google Maps, is the entrance to a nearby state park, here’s the just-as-irk-inducing story of Julie Bass, an Oak Park, Mich., resident who may face jail time — 93 days in the slammer to be exact — for her decision to landscape her front yard in a matter that Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski finds to be “uncommon.”

Although I’m reminded of “brazen eco-martyrs” Quan and Angelina Ha, a water-conscious couple who battled the city of Orange, Calif., over their drought-tolerant front yard, it’s not xeriscaping that has Bass in hot water with Oak Park brass — it’s the luscious legumes that this rebellious locavore is unabashedly growing out front.


Slapped with a misdemeanor charge after disregarding a city ordinance requiring front yards to have “suitable, live, plant material,” Bass believes her yard is filled with just that — “suitable, live plant material” — and that the fuss over her well-maintained, neighbor-approved edible garden is a waste of city money.


So what exactly are Oak Park officials looking for in a suitable front yard? Rulkowski, a man with entirely too much time on his hands, explains: "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." 


Ack. With green-thumbed renegade Bass not backing down anytime soon — “I could sell out and save my own self and just not have them bother me anymore, but then there's no telling what they're going to harass the next person about,” she tells MyFoxDetroit — the dispute will go to pretrial on July 26 and possibly a jury trial after that.


Have you ever gone head-to-head with officials in your community for growing a plot or two of veggies in your front yard? 


Via [MyFoxDetroit] via [Curbed]


Also on MNN: Easy vegetables to grow in your yard


Video screenshot via MyFoxDetroit

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Spinach or the slammer? Defiant front-yard gardener faces jail time
Julie Bass of Oak Park, Mich., battles officials over her decision to grow vegetables in her front yard, a space that, according to city ordinances, is reserved