Miami Shores

Miami Shores

Couple’s lawsuit over veggie garden will continue

 
 
Mr. and Mrs. Tom Carroll and Hermine Ricketts stand in their front yard located at 53 NE 106th Street, Miami Shores, Fla. Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013. They have maintained a vegetable garden in their front yard had to recently dig parts of it up as they faced code enforcement fines. Turns out the zoning code was revised in May, and the code regarding front-yard vegetable gardens was changed from "vegetable gardens are permitted in rear yards" to "vegetable gardens are permitted in rear yards only."
Mr. and Mrs. Tom Carroll and Hermine Ricketts stand in their front yard located at 53 NE 106th Street, Miami Shores, Fla. Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013. They have maintained a vegetable garden in their front yard had to recently dig parts of it up as they faced code enforcement fines. Turns out the zoning code was revised in May, and the code regarding front-yard vegetable gardens was changed from "vegetable gardens are permitted in rear yards" to "vegetable gardens are permitted in rear yards only."
WALTER MICHOT / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

jflechas@MiamiHerald.com

A judge has refused to throw out a lawsuit that a Miami Shores couple filed against the village over their right to grow vegetables in their front yard.

Hermine Ricketts and her husband Tom Carroll sued the village in November after they had to dig up their lush front-yard vegetable garden to comply with a village ordinance. Instead of facing fines of $50 a day, Ricketts and her husband removed the plots where they’d grown kale, okra, broccoli and a dozen varieties of Asian cabbage for years.

The couple is accusing Miami Shores of violating their rights under the Florida Constitution. Among other things, the couple said the village violated their right to privacy, which the state constitution describes as “the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person’s private life.”

The village had asked a Miami-Dade circuit judge to dismiss the case in January as it cited a local government’s ability to regulate aesthetics and maintained that the village was not regulating the couple’s ability to have a garden but simply where they can plant it.

In an order dated May 1, Judge Spencer Eig denied the motion without any further elaboration. The case might now likely go to trial.

Ari Bargil, attorney for the couple, told the Miami Herald he was pleased the case is moving forward.

“Today’s decision was correct one,” he said.

Bargil works for the nonprofit libertarian public interest firm, the Institute for Justice, based out of Arlington, Va. The firm has been involved in similar cases around the country.

Village Attorney Richard Sarafan declined to comment due to the pending litigation.

Follow @joeflech on Twitter.

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