There are no ordinances to distinguish the placement of a garden, be it in the front or back yard. No landscaping regulations other than the following:

Sec. 46-26. – Definition of weeds.
Sec. 46-27. – Height, growth, and removal of weeds and overgrown vegetation; nuisance declared.
Sec. 46-28. – Procedure for abatement.
Sec. 46-26. – Definition of weeds: For the purpose of this article, the term “weeds” shall be defined as all grasses, annual plants, and vegetation other than trees or shrubs.
Provided, however, the term “weeds” shall not include cultivated flowers and vegetation in gardens.
(Ord. No. 97-2922, § 1, 7-15-97)

7-120 was cited upon Code Enforcement’s first inspection. Shows no relevance to landscaping or gardens, other than sections (d) and (i). Section (d) pertains to the use of trellises, which was stated in person as being a violation. Section (i) pertains to “yards”. Shows that “seed and straw yard” as stated in alleged violation citing 7-134 is not mandatory.

Sec. 7-120. – Minimum standards for dwellings and dwelling units
(a) Foundation, exterior walls and roofs. (Irrelevant)
(b) Floors, interior walls and ceilings. (Irrelevant)
(c) Windows, doors, and hatchways. (Irrelevant)
(d) Exterior appurtenances. Exterior appurtenances including but not limited to screens, awnings, trellises, antennae, cable or satellite dish, storm windows and storm doors shall be installed in a safe and secure manner and shall be maintained in sound condition.
(e) Stairway and porches. (Irrelevant)
(f) Basements and garden levels. (Irrelevant)
(g) Facilities, equipment and chimneys. (Irrelevant)
(h) Driveways. (Irrelevant)
(i) Yards. All areas which are not covered by lawn or vegetation shall be treated to prevent dust or the blowing or scattering of dust particles into the air. All trees, bushes or vegetation which overhang a public thoroughfare shall be properly trimmed to avoid obstruction of the view and movements of vehicles and pedestrians. Hazardous dead trees and shrubs shall be promptly removed.
(j) Infestation. (Irrelevant)
(k) Egress. (Irrelevant)
(Ord. No. 2006-3257, § 2, 1-24-06)

Jesse Brandt, homeowner, went to the Public Works office to inquire about the alleged violations. Jesse was given a printout of Zoning 8.5 Area Requirements, which show no relevance to landscaping or gardens. The Director, Terry O’Neil, highlighted the following portion:

“8.58 Yards, generally:

Every part of a required yard shall be open to the sky, unobstructed except as follows:

(a) accessory buildings in a rear yard;

(b) decks in a rear yard;

(c) ordinary projections of sills, belt courses, cornices, and ornamental features, roof overhangs, planter boxes and similar items, not to extend more than 24 inches into any required yard.”

7-134 cited in March 27th, and May 17th mailed follow up reports. which ordered us to “seed and straw front yard”. Ordinance says nothing of the sort. This ordinance also refers to “every yard”, not distinguishing front or back. It can be argued that the garden is a safety hazard, but there are many other landscaped yards with larger vegetation closer to the street than my own.

Sec. 7-134. – Same—Grounds

Every yard, court, vent, passageway, driveway, sidewalk, fence and other portion of the lot on which the residential building stands shall be free of debris, weeds and other safety hazards, graded and drained so as to prevent the accumulation of stagnant water on any such surface. Driveways and sidewalks shall be maintained in good repair. Gravel from gravel driveways must be retained in the driveway and kept clean of sidewalks and streets.

(Ord. No. 85-2118, § 1, 12-17-85; Ord. No. 87-2245, § 1, 12-8-87)

Ordinance 00.000 –Other cited, and ordered to “remove plants from front yard”. There is no ordinance 00.000 on the books. Stated that our zoning district is not zoned for agriculture. Our district is actually zoned for agriculture under:

8.0 R1D Residential- 8.3-Special Uses: “Urban Agriculture- based on the following criteria:
(a) Shall be a minimal of two (2) acres in size.
(b) Operating hours for Urban Agriculture activities (non-motorized equipment) shall be restricted to between dawn and dusk daily.
(c) The use of power and motorized equipment shall be restricted to hours between dawn and dusk daily.
(d) Designed and maintained to minimize water, any chemical pesticides, fertilizer, or other waste from draining onto adjacent properties and/or entering the storm sewer.
(e) Cultivated areas shall be setback a minimum of 10 feet from the property line.
(f) Shall adhere to the regulations and standards of Chapter 6.0 of the Municipal Code if animals and/or livestock are kept on the property.
(Ord. 2009-3415; 12/08/2009)

However, our undertaking does not fit the definition of “Agriculture” so it does not apply. Our lot is far less than 2 acres, and we are not selling anything. There are many entire front yards landscaped with flowers, and “other plant materials”. If I am guilty of “agriculture”, then anyone with flowers, fruits, vegetables, or “other plant material”  in their yard, front or back are guilty as well.

Zoning 2.0 Definitions:
Urban Agriculture –  One or more lots or parcels of land two (2) acres or greater in size, used to produce vegetables, fruits, livestock, flowers, and other pland material for both on and off-premises sales.
(Plant was misspelled there)

In a summons/citation dated April 23rd, and mailed “accidentally”, received June 6th, violation “133″ was cited. I assume that it was to refer to 7-133, which is yet another ordinance that holds no relevance to landscaping or gardens.

Sec. 7-133. – Minimum standards—Residential buildings or structures.
(a) Street numbers. (Irrelevant)
(b) Structural members. (Irrelevant)
(c) Foundations. (Irrelevant)
(d) Walls. (Irrelevant)
(e) Windows, doors and other openings. (Irrelevant)
(f) Stairways and porches. (Irrelevant)
(g) Chimneys and flues. (Irrelevant)
(h) Gutters. . (Irrelevant)
(i) Roof. (Irrelevant)
(j) Accessory structures. All accessory structures shall be maintained in good condition and shall be compatible with their intended use.
(k)Fixtures and hardware. Fixtures, including awnings, shutters and the like, shall be maintained in good condition and repair.
(l) Exterior surfaces. All exterior material coatings, where appropriate, shall be properly maintained.
(Ord. No. 85-2118, § 1, 12-17-85; Ord. No. 87-2243, § 1, 12-8-87; Ord. No. 89-2350, § 1, 3-14-89; Ord. No. 91-2469, § 1, 5-14-91; Ord. No. 2009-3417, § 1, 12-8-09)


8 Responses to Ordinances

  1. You have thoroughly done your homework.

  2. Ye are obviously not in violation of anything, even their color of law ordinances. Which means their going after you when they have nothing is probably personal. SOMEONE took issue with your garden, and they are out to get you. Unfortunately it really is just that simple.

  3. […] behavior, they sometimes just make stuff up.  As is shown on his website, Mr. Tricamo’s has thoroughly refuted every one of the City’s claims about its authority to restrict his gardening, but Ferguson […]

  4. Cindy McGee says:

    My husband and I are doing the same thing in Washington, MO. With rising costs and declining nutritive value in produce found in the grocery stores, we felt this would be a better use of our yard space. It is a shame that the City of Ferguson does not value individual liberty more than “perceived Beauty”. You are setting a good example and showing the people of Ferguson a more productive and enriching use of the property you have. God Bless you and keep up the good fight!

  5. […] on his blog, Vegetable Yarden, and citing — in his defense — the wording of the very ordinances that city officials say he’s […]

  6. Mel Edwards says:

    Perhaps the neighbors who are offended and the officials that send out these notices are illiterate or feeble minded? Or do they own their own farm and you’re competing with them? Really, they need to get over it.

  7. […] by being planted in the front yard instead of the backyard. As Tricamo has painstakingly documented, nothing about the garden violated city code including the “exterior appearance” code. […]

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