IOWA CITY – The Iowa City homeowner whose front-yard garden led to a dispute with the city said he will comply with removing all of his plantings.
Dr. Timothy Volm said he was given a July 31 deadline or the city would bulldoze the roses, native wildflowers and other plants that adorn his front yard.
“I do not have the connections or the clout to fight this,” Volm said, citing a dispute with a contractor at the root of the disagreement and the reason for being “singled out” by the city.
Volm contracted the area to be cleared, tilled and mulched this Thursday, July 18, with a planned fall planting of hairy vetch, a ground cover.
“My sense is that the overwhelming majority of people liked what I did, yet the city will only respond to the few complaints,” Volm said. “So a few can outweigh the wishes of the many.”
He hoped that the city can revise its code to allow rules to be more fairly and uniformly applied.
Iowa City Parks Superintendent, Terry Robinson, had written to Volm, noting that complaints had been lodged about a sight obstruction for vehicles and passage on the sidewalk of Volm’s Church Street home.
He was ordered to remove the plants so they do not grow back in the future and replace with grass or another groundcover.
The area includes the city right-of-way between the curb and sidewalk, as well as the rosebushes and other plants growing in the ﬁrst three feet of property behind the sidewalk toward Volm’s house, which is also city right-of-way.
“I wrote and offered several proposals, including using a professional landscaper,” Volm said. “All were rejected.”
Robinson stated the issue has been ongoing for five years. Volm has since moved to Fairfield and is considering renting out his Iowa City home.
Volm had planted his alternative lawn with flowers and bushes, in part, for environmental reasons, citing reduced groundwater pollution and carbon dioxide and increased biodiversity, especially among pollinating insects.
“I planted the front yard for the enjoyment of myself and others,” he said. “It was effective. There were plenty of notes on the porch, of thanks. There is the reward for me.”
Communism is all I can think to say. Let the town start cutting the grass ….. better yet, let them replace what they say belongs to them, which of course is still at your expense. Measure it out and stop manicuring what they say is theirs, as well as reduce your property tax based on that area. I don’t know who your big enviro-advocate is but I would be writing a letter to David Suzuki up here in Canada to express my views. Drag it out longer if you can and see if a landscape contractor will clean it up pro-bono for the exposure, make a bigger deal out of it. In a world of cut everything down and pollute, your front yard should be a welcome site. I said before and I think we all know that trees and shrubs are Mother Natures air conditioning. On a hot humid day the birds cherish these locations. Hard to cool off under some grass. If we were all trees, flowers and shrubs and someone put grass down the same whiners would still complain. These people should spend time trying to better our environment rather than waste time complaining.
I don’t quite get this. It seems reasonable that someone’s plantings not block the sidewalk, but why tear up the whole yard?
Now if you were a judge, you could have…no. No court house cracks. But I agree. Life isn’t fair.
[…] Read this related story from Iowa City: Right to Garden […]