Score one for homegrown peppers and zero for the village of Miami Shores.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Spencer Eig denied the Miami suburb’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by residents challenging the municipal ban on front-yard vegetable gardens. The decision keeps alive the lawsuit filed last November by Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll.
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Miami Shores adopted the zoning ordinance in 2013 banning front-yard vegetable plants. Trees, fruit and garden gnomes are fine.
The couple used their front yard to grow vegetables and other plants for 17 years. Miami Shores told Ricketts and Carroll to destroy their garden or face fines of $50 per day. They complied but fought back with the lawsuit.
“Miami Shores’ ban on front-yard vegetable gardens doesn’t make any sense,” said attorney Ari Bargil, who represents the couple and the Virginia-based Institute for Justice, a property-rights group that has taken up the couple’s cause. “A yard does not become unsightly just because you can eat some of the things you grow there.”
Bargil said the Florida Constitution protects the property rights of homeowners who want to use their property in a peaceful, productive manner.
“We look forward to not only vindicating our clients’ rights but to securing a ruling that protects that right for the benefit of all Floridians,” he said.
Miami Shores does not comment on pending litigation.