A state appeals court Wednesday rejected a constitutional challenge to a Miami Shores ordinance that bars residents from planting vegetable gardens in their front yards.
Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll, a married couple, filed a lawsuit after a code inspector issued a notice of violation because of their front-yard vegetable garden. Represented by attorneys from the Institute for Justice, a national legal group, the couple argued that the ordinance ran afoul of the Florida Constitution, including that it violated their privacy rights and their right to acquire, possess and protect property, according to Wednesday’s 11-page ruling by the 3rd District Court of Appeal.
But a Miami-Dade County circuit judge ruled that the ordinance was constitutional, and a three-judge panel of the appeals court agreed. For example, the appeals court said the ordinance “only prohibits vegetable gardens in a front yard, not anywhere or everywhere on a residential lot.” Also, it pointed to legal precedents upholding zoning regulations based on aesthetics. “We agree with the trial court’s parting observation that the appellants`still have a remedy. They can petition the Village Council to change the ordinance. They can also support candidates for Council who agree with their view that the ordinance should be repealed.’ ” said the appeals court opinion, written by Judge Vance Salter and joined by Chief Judge Leslie Rothenberg and Judge Robert Luck.