Heather Callaghan | Activist Post
You can only retain freedoms if you act to preserve them. - Karl Tricamo
Stay-at-home dad Karl Tricamo was another unsuspecting gardener just going about his favorite hobby and following the rules. He loves to garden with his 55 heirlooms and dislikes GMOs and pesticides.
But, like so many others now, he was pushed around and literally stalked by “Code Enforcers” out to aggressively eradicate any “nuisance” that doesn’t match the rest of their desired Stepford neighborhood. This is after he, also like many targeted for garden deconstruction, painstakingly followed the rules.
“I just thought it would be an excellent way to help provide for my family,” he said. “People have been gardening since the beginning of human civilization, and the First Lady has even been setting an example by gardening at the White House! I never expected it to be so controversial.”
City officials in Ferguson, Missouri do not care if someone is trying to feed his family on his turf; so they literally cited Tricamo’s landlord with ’Failure to meet the minimum standards of the City of Ferguson exterior appearance code.’
Now, doesn’t that sound like a highly subjective code? It would, had it been an actual code instead of an intimidation tactic.
Karl’s neighbors seemed to be in accordance with his fruitful yard plan. One of them even allowed Tricamo to plant tomatoes in her garden as a “show of solidarity.”
Perhaps more neighbors felt compelled to lend support after the board sent a letter to Tricamo and all nearby residents saying:
The owner of 309 Louisa wishes to utilize his property, currently zoned R-1D, for agricultural purposes by planting tall crops which will cover the entire front yard of the property. City Staff has determined that such use is not allowed within that zoning district under Chapter 49, the Zoning Ordinance for the City of Ferguson and, otherwise, constitutes a nuisance. The owner appeals that determination.
City officials changed their citings a lot, and really never could give Tricamo an actual code that prohibited a garden, especially since the ordinances specifically allow for vegetation, with no height requirements. So they obnoxiously tried to paint his yard into a large-scale commercial farm saying he needs permission to engage in “agriculture!”
Adding to that absurdity, the enforcers cased his place week after week; they would drive by, or park out front and watch the yard.
Karl did not cave when he received nuisance warnings and commands to first lay down hay and plant grass, and later to rip up his vegetables. But, as he documents on his blog, the constant harassment and drive-bys for months were not easy on him and his family.
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