Hello City Council

Hello City Council Members!

Thanks for dropping by and taking a look at this site. I’m a Roswell city resident (10+ years) who would like to plant some vegetables in my front yard, but I understand that might be illegal, based on how many I plant in one area.

I’ve tried planting in the back yard and on the side of my house, but like many Roswell residents, I have too many trees and not enough sunlight.

Of course the police aren’t going to arrest me if I plant a few carrots and radishes in the my front yard…but what if I wanted to plant a few more veggies in containers, or using tomato cages, or supported by trellises?

For the record, I’m not in favor of unregulated or even loosely regulated frontyard gardens. We’d create eyesores that would decrease home values.

However, I think the current UDC needs to have the definition of “garden” clarified. I’d also like to have the City Council consider allowing “plots” in front yards, under some circumstances the city controls.

Mike Palermo suggested I come to a council meeting and read a statement about my desire to have the city amend the UDC concerning gardening. However, reading a statement at a City Council meeting just dumps the work back on you folks. You’d have to do all the research, create a committee, review the codes, etc. For that reason, I thought I’d put some information on the Web you can all review and then discuss among yourselves.

Baby Steps

Again, I’m not in favor of unregulated frontyard gardens.

This would almost certainly lead to very tacky, unkempt plots that decrease home values. We’ve all seen tacky flower plantings, so we know what DIY landscapers can do to a yard and neighboring homes values!

However, with an increased interest in sustainable living, a rise in childhood obesity, increasing employer health care costs and more and more families struggling to feed themselves, banning frontyard gardens sends a bad message.

Let’s Do Some Research!

For the sake of argument, let’s say the city lost a lawsuit (and I’m sure one is coming) and had to allow frontyard gardening, but the courts ruled that you could set some parameters and limits. What kind of regluations would you write? What kind of exceptions would you make? What type of regulations could you enact to prohibit willy nilly farming on front lawns?

I’ve put some ideas for expanding — while at the same time limiting — frontyard gardening on the Who’d Qualify? page of this website.

This website provides some of the pros and cons of allowing residents to plant more than just a few vegetables in their front yards to give you a starting point for discussing this. I’m asking that you assign a person or committee to look into how you would allow frontyard gardening if you had to (by a court order), rather than just take the stance, “No…frontyard gardens can’t be done without damaging property values.”

How About a Test?

Once you went through your “if-we-had-to” research, you might issue a couple dozen test permits to Roswell residents to see how this might work out (using the four-step procedure I outline at the Who’d Qualify? page of this site). Why not take a one- or two-year approach to looking into amending Roswell’s current city ordinance regarding frontyard vegetable planting?

I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have on the subject, but I’m not an expert. I’m not even a good gardener! I’d just like to plant some tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and carrots in my front yard.

Thanks in advance for your consideration.

P.S. Chickens – seriously?