Columbiana, Ohio, is the latest city to debate the legality of gardens, even if the two sides can’t agree on what is up for discussion.
Resident Tony Dolan claims that the right to garden on a homeowner’s property is at stake. The Columbiana city council at one point considered a proposal that would have restricted gardens to back yards, although that language was struck.
“It has been frighteningly apparent that we in this city have given our freedoms up in ways that we never really saw coming,” Dolan wrote at the Columbiana for/against Chickens Facebook page.
Mayor Bryan Blakeman claims the gardening ordinance is being considered because, technically, gardening currently is banned.
“Right now, if there is not something expressly in this code that says that you can have one, you technically can’t,” Blakeman told the Salem News.
The newspaper likewise reported that “if something is not permitted it is prohibited.”
But at least one councilmember is siding with the gardeners.
“People have been growing gardens for as long as I can remember in Columbiana, and have never had a problem,” Councilman Dick McBane said.
McBane also expressed concern about the argument that if something isn’t permitted, it’s prohibited, the newspaper reported.
“I think we are over-using this and using it as a convenient way to try to stop something,” he said.
The city’s planning commission considered banning front-yard gardening because it attracts wildlife – something that could create traffic problems on roads, commission member Tucker Cope Jr. told the newspaper.
Vegetable gardening is not the only activity facing restrictions in Columbiana; the city council is considering an ordinance that would make roosters illegal.