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Woman taken to court over her community garden

Julie Bass of Oak Park wanted to save some cash on fresh vegetables, so she started a garden this spring. But now, Oak Park officials are dragging her to court over it. The reason?

Jul 31, 2020
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Julie Bass of Oak Park wanted to save some cash on fresh vegetables, so she started a garden this spring. But now, Oak Park officials are dragging her to court over it.
The reason? Fox 2 reportsBass planted her garden in the front yard. Code compliance officials decided the garden was not an acceptable use for the front yard. So the city warned her. Then they ticketed her. And now they have charged her with a misdemeanor.
City officials say the front yard isn’t “suitable” for a garden.
“Suitable” Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski says is this:
“If you look at the definition of what suitable is in Webster’s dictionary, it will say common. So, if you look around and you look in any other community, what’s common to a front yard is a nice, grass yard with beautiful trees and bushes and flowers.”
Perhaps, however, Rulkowski should check the dictionary again. The online version of the Meriam-Webster dictionary calls that definitionof suitable obsolete:
  • obsolete : similar, matching
2
a : adapted to a use or purpose
b : satisfying propriety : proper
c : able, qualified
Bass says the neighborhood kid have become cheerleaders for her garden, even helping her out with it. And Fox 2 even interviewed Devorah Gould, a neighbor, who loves the garden.
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“I have a bunch of little children and we take walks to come by and see everything growing. I think it’s a very wonderful thing for our neighborhood.”
But neither the city nor Bass are backing down, and the case is likely headed for a jury trial. The two are expected in court July 26 for another pre-trial conference.
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Dexter Cooke

Dexter Cooke

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Dexter Cooke is an economist, marketing strategist, and orthopedic surgeon with over 20 years of experience crafting compelling narratives that resonate worldwide. He holds a Journalism degree from Columbia University, an Economics background from Yale University, and a medical degree with a postdoctoral fellowship in orthopedic medicine from the Medical University of South Carolina. Dexter’s insights into media, economics, and marketing shine through his prolific contributions to respected publications and advisory roles for influential organizations. As an orthopedic surgeon specializing in minimally invasive knee replacement surgery and laparoscopic procedures, Dexter prioritizes patient care above all. Outside his professional pursuits, Dexter enjoys collecting vintage watches, studying ancient civilizations, learning about astronomy, and participating in charity runs.
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