Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Atlanta Man Penalized For Going Green At Home
I've been watching Channel 5 (Fox) News over the past few days and this story just floored me so I had to write about it! Channel 2 and other news agencies have also picked it up,
and it has now also hit the blogosphere!

Steve Miller, a man who lives on Cimarron Drive in Clarkston (a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia) has been cited by Dekalb County Code Enforcement for growing too many vegetables in his home garden. Yes you heard that right!

Apparently he'd been growing these vegetables for years and nobody had a problem with it, and he has even given away some of what he grows to friends and neighbors, and sold some to local Farmer's Markets. Now all of a sudden some unknown neighbor reported him to the county Code Enforcement Office and he now finds himself being charged about $5,000 in fines, although he has since gotten the proper zoning for his property. Most of his neighbors support him and feel the county is misguided and should be helping him rather than attacking him.

The bone of contention Dekalb County is hinging their charges on seems to be the financial aspect of the situation rather than just the number of vegetable plants he has.

During the time that Miller got his property rezoned the charges had been put on hold, but afterwards the county proceeded with their prosecution of the old charges using the excuse that he was in viloation before the rezoning. He's received 8 citations since January, and estimates all this will cost him $27,000-$30,000 before it's settled.

Citations claim among other charges that the workers he hired to help maintain the garden aren't "properly licensed".

Interestingly County officials refuse to talk about the case citing that it is still pending; slated to be heard in Recorder's Court later this month.

Miller's attorney, Doug Dillard says, “It should go away. I think it borders on harassment,” and I agree! This man hasn't hurt or endangered anyone, in fact he is doing something really good for the environment. In keeping with the concept of moving back towards a greener lifestyle I would personally rather buy my produce from small local operations that use less toxic pesticides, don't genetically engineer their crops, and have more direct contact with them and control over how they're managed from seed to table.

In the current difficult economy alot of people are using creative ways to make extra money, and if someone can do that in a way that also helps others and is eco-friendly society should support them!

If Counties are coming up with desperate and bogus ways to make money by piggybacking off innocent citizens and invading their private homes then that's just wrong and maybe instead those officials innitiating such frivolous cases should be investigated and prosecuted!

I have to wonder; who on earth wrote such an idiotic law anyway, and why do they care? It seems to be a sign of the times that when somebody does something particularly creative and different as a way of adapting somebody wants to knock them down and profit off their misfortune to boot! Whatever happened to "Life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness" afforded all Americans in the US Constitution? Steve Miller was only doing what he loves, and he was making lots of others happy around him by sharing his goods with those who would appreciate them.
I hope this man gets everything restored and then some! He not only should get to grow and sell his crops but really should get paid punitive damages from the county for malicious prosecution.


Diana said...

Wow! That's terrible! What kind of a person would report someone for growing too many vegetables?

I haven't heard about this story before, thanks for sharing. What a nightmare for that poor guy!

Debs Crochet said...

There's always one of those neighbors who isn't happy and always has to look for something to stir up trouble for someone else. I hope they just leave him alone. He's not hurting anyone.