Guerrilla Gardener Has To Pay City Fees and Wants To Make A Difference #NOGARDENTAX

Urban Life — By on July 27, 2012 10:31 am

Five months ago a battle began with my city about the area of land behind my property line which I have turned into a garden. Little did I know there would be a national uproar about this garden and the issue of guerrilla gardening would be debated around the nation because of my own little garden plot of love. Here’s a link to that original story – LINK.

A lot has happened since that original post when I asked for my readers help. The story was covered on radio stations and featured on WGN News national TV (see the video feature above). I submitted 10 pages of paperwork and paid the fees as requested. I did what the city asked of me – removed a ton and a half of rock bordering the garden, rebuilt sections of the garden, painted the park benches, moved them, and more. I did all this so I wouldn’t have to pay the $75 per day fines related to me not paying the original fee.City of Chicago right of way planting.

My heart, however, is still sad about this situation. What person in Warrenville, Illinois is going to want to build a garden and pay a fee and submit a 10 page write up and have the city inspectors come out so they can build a simple garden behind their fence? Worse yet, only a handful of people were selected to be “policed” on this issue even though thousands of people have right-of-way guerrilla gardens in our city. That is called “selective enforcement” and made my family and I feel as if we were selected because the city does not like us for some reason (trying to imagine what that might be makes me very upset).

If you were considering building a garden to help feed your family and you wanted to use the right-of-way area attached to the back of your lawn, or next to the hell strip street area, or around your mailbox, how would you be able to tell if YOU are going to be enforced and your neighbor is not with this type of selective enforcement in the city? The answer, of course, is to go back to the concept of doing the damned 10 page write up and paying the fee – which is ridiculous in my mind. I can definitely see working fairly with the city by following the city rules for planting and perhaps submitting a drawing of the garden, but forced filing fees and 10 page write ups seem they are discouraging city beautification, not encouraging it.

Just this week I walked the streets of Chicago, Illinois (photo above right) and saw gardens all over the right-of-way areas up and down streets and these residents do not have to pay anything for these gardens to the city. They live with #NOGARDENTAX and the gardens are beautiful, unique, and contribute to their neighborhoods.

In our current economy, more people than ever need to grow fresh vegetables, beautify their communities, reduce crime, and BUILD COMMUNITY. We need to do this because it helps us feed our families and keeps businesses in our local towns. It also keeps our home values up. Gardens build local community in ways that extend far beyond my small list here.

Below is a photo of part of the garden I took this morning. It made me smile because it is in full bloom. When I stepped outside the fence to check on the garden a neighbor hugged me. That made me smile again. Why? Because this garden is good and right and needs to be here in my neighborhood. I want more people to build gardens and spread love in our neighborhoods, not be reticent to do it because they are afraid of their city.

How has your garden touched your community?

Shawna Coronado's behind the fence Guerrilla Garden

 

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87 Comments

  1. Pam says:

    Hi Shawna,

    Keep on re-posting this and others will too. I wonder if they fine other home owners who have ugly weeds in front how can they police that? That one guy was talking stupid saying would you plant on your neighbors without asking. Well sure if they let you and made it look pretty. Free flowers to make my place look as good as yours. A friend of mine in the city has a beautiful parkway garden owned by the city but after hearing about you want’s next for us. I fear when the city starts fining people for making something look good it’s just a shame. I wonder why they don’t promote this practice as the city of Chicago does because it’s not there dime it’s ours and if we beautify the city with our own money well all the better for the city.

    Pam

    • Shawna says:

      Thanks Pam. I agree with you – that if we are beautifying the community with our own dime, we are helping to improve our economy from within.

      Shawna

      • John P. says:

        Vandalism of city property is vandalism of city property.
        Doesn’t matter you intentions, it wasn’t your property to do with what you wanted get over your over blown ego.
        If you want to plant a garden put it in land you own , or find someone who wants your b.s. garden.

        • Terri says:

          You, sir, are a TFA. What usually happens with those patches of “grass” outside property fences is they become a repository for dog crap. Irresponsible dog owners let their canines shit there, don’t pick it up and it’s a headache for the owners who have to mow. We found that once we had turned our area into a garden no one let their pets crap there, we don’t need to mow it and it looks gorgeous. We get tons of compliments and it brightens the day of everyone who walks or drives by.

          • John P. says:

            TFA? Is that idiot for something?
            You don’t own the land get over it.
            If I was in charge of your city, I would spray weed killer and send you the bill for it.
            You don’t like it move to another country, that cares about your views of usage of public land.
            I do like the sir comment though, I being 11 and all.
            I doubt I am older than any of you, and yet I don’t find the need to justifying my actions to the world. For a choice that I made, and seek sympathy when the powers that be in my area fine me for using lands not of my rights to use.

          • Terri says:

            If you WERE 11 you would know what the acronym TFA stands for. You’re just what my sis-in-law so aptly refers to as a GRONK–a hold-over or throwback to the Neolithic period. So to broaden your rather narrow viewpoint and bring you up to speed, as it were, I will elucidate: TFA stands for Total F’n A–hole, OK?

          • John P. says:

            Total fucking asshole… nice you kiss your mother with that mouth your such white trash. What should I expect from someone of your generation.
            Kids having kids results in individuals such as yourself cursing as a only way to express your inner anxiety over being challenged on your views of self, and world concept. But what do I know, more than you apparently.

          • Shawna says:

            Okay. Let’s calm this down please. I don’t understand why you are angry about a beautiful garden John, but you are.
            *
            The bottom line is I HAVE been to the City Council. I spoke with them and they do not want to change anything. I have followed procedure. I have paid the fines and have done everything the city has told me to. I also feel that people should follow the rules set forth by cities, but do not believe fees and 10 page reports should be a part of that because it discourages people in the community from building something that might feed their family.
            *
            However, this is the United States, so I have freedom of speech to talk about this subject on the internet or anywhere else I like.
            *
            I am doing something which is helping my community and building solidarity by speaking out. I’d say if you cannot live with my doing something positive to help my neighborhood, then I don’t really have any further commentary which will make you feel better.
            *
            I hear your point, John, but I do not agree with it and will not change my stance. I feel that building economic viability, reducing crime, feeding the hungry, and doing social good is the right way to help community – - whether that be on easement/right of way property or not seems to be your concern. Again, I do not agree with you – I think there is no excuse for cities not to support positive neighborhood beautification and community building.

          • John P. says:

            I actually only got angry when Teri called me a total fucking asshole, because she felt threatened that I had a different view reaction to you original posting.
            I really don’t care one way or the other, I just shared a different prospective/ view point. Sorry nobody can handle another view, close mindedness is the true crime here.

        • tori says:

          unfortunately, your ignorance shows in your comment. Do you know anything about codex alimentarius. The gov’t is determined to limit all gardening – not just right-of-way or that which may be on “their” property.

      • Anne Pearson says:

        Shawn, we had the same thing here in Santa Monica. We had to fight the city to keep our gorgeous, lush hedges and greenery. So glad to see that you are friends with Marianne Binetti, too. Nature, plantings, flora and fauna…..not only beautify our city….and makes living in the city more doable. I applaud you.

    • Wayne says:

      I agree with Pam, and its a shame this happened to Shawna. And the comment in the story:
      “…but forced filing fees and 10 page write ups seem they are discouraging city beautification, not encouraging it”, hit the nail squarely on the head. People WILL NOT do this now because they do not want to pay a stupid fee and fill out 10 pages of bull***t. But, if you find yourself in this situation, and are being fined, you need to turn into a negotiator. The city will often waive the fine if you politely ask them to. Use a little salesmanship, explaining that you spent hundreds of dollars plus labor to make the city more attractive and you would like them to waive the fine. If they do not waive it, go to the next level of management and ask. If he or she still will not waive it, show them pictures of the garden and threaten that you will cut it all down and plant grass for the city to pay to mow (although you would not really go that far). That should work.
      Also, write to your congressman to get them to change the laws on this. A 10 page form is ridiculous and should be reduced to one page. There should not be a fee, or if there is, it should only be $5 max. If these changes happened, you would see gardens like this pop up all over the city.

    • stevek says:

      Lighten up Warrenville! Public works should be able to work with community member who want to brighten up the city! You have an opportunity, don’t crush it with a tax.

  2. Mary Jo Gibson says:

    Sadly, it is all about revenue for the city. I would be interested in knowing who the other selected individuals were for this special situation. Perhaps there is a common financial denominator amongst you that would single you out as a group. You arguments are valid, and it seems to me Warrenville is not interested in beautification of their area. Your garden is beautiful, and would be a welcome addition to any neighborhood. Keep up the good work. It will pay you back.

    • Shawna says:

      Thanks Mary Jo. I wish I had more answers.

      Shawna

    • Probably someone in City Govt said, Oooh – here’s how we make a few extra bucks. It would be smarter to fine homeowners who DON’T maintain these areas. That way, they get free landscaping.

      Seems to me that if someone wants to use these areas, the smart thing to do would be to ask them to pay a yearly (and inexpensive) fee. Then the city would get a little extra revenue, gardeners would have a little extra land, and passersby and neighbors wouldn’t have to look at weeds and fire hazards.

  3. Deborah Aldridge says:

    I am re-doing my roommate’s front yard, especially her rock garden area. Every day I’m out there early weeding, people walk by and say how beautiful it is. There are only a few houses on these two non-deed restricted streets, within a largely deed restricted area, that have nice front yards. We have mostly retirees here, who don’t want to be bothered with yards. Some even have stone yards. I think that even if they don’t want to do gardens themselves, they do appreciate seeing beauty. Who doesn’t? It makes me sad, but when I leave this house, the gardens I so lovingly built will go to hell in a handbasket, because my roommate doesn’t even know what she has planted in her yard, much less care to take care of it. Still, it will survive for awhile and make people happy. They’ll never forget me once I leave, will they? That’s the only impact I want to make, to be remembered as someone who loved beauty and was willing to work hard to create and maintain it.

    • Shawna says:

      Exactly. I know all my neighbors and their dogs. :-)

      I love connecting with the people in our community.

      Keep working hard to do good Deb – it will be remembered.

      Shawna

  4. Piper Bayard says:

    This is insane. The city should not only leave people alone, they should be giving tax breaks to people who help beautify the city and make the land more serviceable by gardening behind their fences. I’m guessing if they dumped their dog poo behind the fence, or their weeds, they wouldn’t be getting hassled. This is such a no-brainer. I’m so sorry this happened to you, and good for you for persevering rather than letting them beat you down.

    • Shawna says:

      Thanks for the love Piper – and thank you for spreading this stories message. I hope I can inspire positive change regarding this issue. ::HUGS TO YOU::

      Shawna

    • Deborah Dale says:

      In San Fransisco and other cities facing storm water control or drought problems, tax rebates are accorded to residents who garden on boulevard strips. Cash for (replacing) Grass programs abound in water-shortage areas.
      The courts have also noted that if you are given care of municipally-owned land adjacent to your property, then you are free to garden on it, providing no health or safety hazards are created. Why should homeowners who create ecological gardens be forced to buy a mower just to maintain a strip of city-owned land?
      In Toronto, ON they claim enforcement is complaint driven — meaning all it takes to fine one garden while leaving an adjacent one unmolested is a single, anonymous complaint.
      GreenEvolutionSite.com is a way to start to a dialogue with passer by rather than having them “inform on you”.

  5. Mom says:

    Hey Honey,

    I’m thinking about a bench in the back along the path so people can stop and rest. In a two mile strip now there is only one bench. Definitely not senior friendly!

    • Shawna says:

      Good idea Mom! ::HUGS:: I have two benches out now and they are there specifically for the seniors in my community. I love them!

      Shawna

  6. Sietse says:

    Hi Shawna,

    What a story, could be Dutch. Must say you had a nice legal weapon in the garden.

    Sietse DeWit

  7. Cindy Menn says:

    Wow! Your story reminds me of the old saying, “No good deed goes unpunished.” The garden you created behind your fence is lovely. I can only imagine how much joy it brings to those who walk, run, cycle or drive by it. Looking at the pictures of the garden made me happy! Ours souls need to see beauty. A beautiful garden elevates and inspires us as we go through our daily rituals. Bless you for creating such a lovely garden for your community.

    • Shawna says:

      Thank you Cindy for saying such good words – I so appreciate the support.

      Shawna

    • Sarah Q. says:

      The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
      Just as valid in this case as your quote. There is always more than 1 side to ever topic. Not everyone shares a same world view, that being said I love gardens and wish bureaucratic nonsense would leave home owners alone on beatifying ugly unused easements.

  8. Rev. Dr. Jeffrey B. Wright D.D. says:

    Me thinks someone or everyone needs to make a stand against city counsels and charge them for the time and sweat we have done to make our neighborhoods a more pleasant place to live… Sir you can see this statement on facebook under my name os kelticirishdruid wright. And me hopes that if they destroy what you have created that karma reaches out and bites them all in the bum.

  9. Unbelievable but not surprising when dealing with city administrators. When I drive around our small city and see how pathetic many of the city properties look, and we are supposed to be a tourist destination??? They should pay anyone who beautifies their space, in front, behind or otherwise.

  10. Cyndia says:

    Shawna,
    I continue to be as perplexed and frustrated about this kind of thing, as I imagine you are! I cannot fathom the kind of thinking that penalizes a resident who tries to make her community more beautiful and productive!
    I encourage you to keep spreading the message, and all of us who feel this way will keep doing it too.
    I’m gratified that here in Huntsville, the city has taken the community garden trend under its wing, and is implementing community gardens in several parks, sometimes to the neighboring residents’ chagrin. Go figure. I haven’t seen any statistics of rising crime related to growing food, have you?? ;-)
    Keep on trucking – you’re doing a wonderful thing!

  11. carolyn choi says:

    Hey Shawna,

    So sorry to hear about all the problems going on with your beautiful garden. In Chicago there are a lot of homeowners that turned the parkways into gardens but I was not one for the simple reason that I know you can’t fight city hall -I’ve seen too many beautiful gardens destroyed by the city. Once I even dug up the parkway and planted nice new grass only to have them come alone and destroy it. Did they even replace the grass ? No! Could’nt put that lovely bench in our Chicago alley, Shawna – would have a number of bums sleeping on it. Hope your problems will soon be resolved.

    • Shawna says:

      Actually, I’ve toured many areas of Chicago and seen tons of beautiful parkway areas that residents put in. Love them. I would encourage you to plant!

      Shawna

  12. Terri says:

    I was one of the first on our street to re-claim the public area between our fence and the sidewalk for a mixed garden. It looks fabulous, especially in the spring when the daffs are all in bloom, and it brightens the streetscape immensely. Now there are many more homeowners who have done the same thing. It sure takes the blight out of urban! Here’s to the victory of guerilla gardening!

    • John P. says:

      Anarchy!! Here’s to it! Heck if you want to start taking over the government as they wont let you plant on public easy ways I am with you! You bring the guns, I will bring the ammo !

      • Terri says:

        My city are enlightened–they LOVE it when homeowners do what I do. As a matter of fact, the head of the Horticultural Dep’t for the City grows potatoes and other edibles as well as ornamentals on the area outside his proprty! No ANARCHY here, it’s COMMUNITY!

        • John P. says:

          Well kudos on living in such a free reign city.
          I don’t really care about this topic anymore, maybe its my being 11 and not caring about petty things. Or maybe its just that I don’t buy into the outrage over city ordinances. Their are laws, and legal ways to change ordinances, go to city halls with your concerns, not the internet. There is a time and place for all things the internet is never one of them, other than to make noise and seek outside validation of a inner thought pattern.

          • Shawna says:

            I agree with Terri in that it is not anarchy, it’s community. Across the United States communities are dying because no one cares. Stepping up and showing you care is the first step to a beautiful neighborhood and a better community to live in.

            We need more people thinking positive thoughts about building and living in community.

          • Wayne says:

            “Inner thought pattern”??? What? You are 11 years old? Hopefully you will learn something by the time you graduate. If you “don’t really care”, then don’t post idiotic comments. The internet is a great way to spread the news and initiate change for the better and Shawna should be commended for it.

          • Shawna says:

            Okay. That’s enough of that disrespect John. I’ll be unapproving your mean and nasty comments from now on.

          • Wayne says:

            Three cheers for Shawna!

          • Shawna says:

            Thanks Wayne. :-)

  13. Terri says:

    Shawna–my apologies for dragging this whole thing down to his level but the truth is he’s just am angry guy period–his anger didn’t start with my comments. It just escalated with my calling him on his duplicity. Like yeah, he’s a really an 11 yr. old. As a matter of fact I am no street chippy with a trash mouth–I am in my late 50′s with a little tolerance for bs, especially from people who prevaricate and lie, especially when it’s to denigrate the actions of those like yourself. May good prevail and perhaps we should just ignore he likes of John P. Although I did think the dinosaurs died out years ago–lol!

    • Shawna says:

      No Terri – everyone has a right to their own opinion and I deeply appreciate your support and love. Thanks for with the good on me. I need as much good as I can get. ::grin::

      Happy gardening to you!

      Shawna

      • Terri says:

        Happy gardening to all of us, although there is a little truth to the the problems entangled in gardening city areas. In a municipality near the one I live in there have been problems with areas homeowners have gardened that are beyond their property lines. Apparently, as in the case of changes in ownership, there have been situations where new owners have expected the City to provide maintenance and care when the former owners have sold. Also, in instances where water mains have broken, some homeowners feel the City should pay to restore these areas and fix damages. Clearly there should be a policy set to protect all interested parties. If we choose to garden & beautify it is up to us to assume all costs entailed and in the case of sales, all relevant information should be provided to buyers.

        • Shawna says:

          Absolutely. I have promised to mow it down or take it back to grass if I move. The city has already dug up parts of the garden due to water and electrical concerns. All understood in this situation.

          Shawna

    • John P. says:

      I am 11… so your view point is useless.
      Sorry that your lack of intellectual capabilities, renders your world view so shall and and thus renders you a angry belligerent old lady.
      If you would like me to dumb it down for you.. here goes “Go fuck yourself old woman, your a slag of a hunch backed whore”. How’s that? Simple minded enough for you?

      • Terri says:

        Go away, little troll, no one cares about you, or what you say, OK? Leave the commenting to those whose opinions actually matter. Speaking of intellectual deficits, yours are glaringly apparent and I’m sure even your parents can’t stand the sight of you, which is why you spend so much time spewing hateful gibberish where you aren’t wanted–it’s just a sad relection of your miserable, little life. Try counselling, it may help.

        • Shawna says:

          Okay you John and Terri. I respect both your opinions, but you need to calm it down please and not call each other names on my posts.

          I don’t want our conversations reduced to name calling because I want to see if we can all learn from each other instead of attacking one another.

          Thanks very much,

          Shawna

          • Terri says:

            Sorry again, Shawna–I intended for that to be my last remark in response to that character, and I only did so in light of what he had posted earlier. I don’t know if he’s a nasty little kid or an equally nasty adult, but he is obviously a troll, which is a term used to describe those who take delight in attempting to bait people on line. Craigslist is full of that type. Anyway, end of the line for me, it gets tiresome. My apologies.

      • Wayne says:

        John P.
        What a lowlife you are. You probably talk to your mother like that as well, don’t you? Pitiful, pitiful person. Unbelievable. I agree with Terri; get counseling.

        Shawna- You ROCK! ;-)

        • Frank says:

          Grow up Wayne, and Terri. Education, is a horrible thing to mock, shows your jealousy. Act like the adults here since your obviously older than 11.
          If he was just a troll, which I doubt as he didn’t react till you lashed out at him, he was smarter than most people on the web… wish I was that smart.

          • Wayne says:

            Frank,
            You “grow up,” then get lost. No one on here needs your kind of rudeness. It was him that commented rudely at first. Who are you, John P’s father?

  14. Calvin says:

    Shawna, I think you are to be commended for making use of useless soil, making it pretty and enjoyable for everyone. Governments at every level are (or claim to be) strapped for revenue, and to have private citiizens step in and take the role of improvers or even only as caretakers of public land ought to be encouraged rather than quelled. Your story holds close parallel to my own, except for mine occurs on my own private property. I blog about it, and my actions, regularly http://wp.me/1t644.

    If you or anyone would like to read more, my ‘green, or Green?’ series is the heart of my situation, but in brief, I purchased property knowing my city had restrictions on it, but without the city being forthcoming in any way as to what those restrictions were (and my city has a portion of its ordinance which affords it the right to make procedural determinations on a case-by-case basis).

    I can’t plant vegetables, non-native flowers, non-invasive ornamentals that would thrive in my area; I even had to put in a fence that is supposed to keep my family off of our private property and sign away a $5000 cash ‘survival bond’ on the post-construction Mitigation Plan. Trust me, there is well more to it than that, but at the same time there are housing developments of 1,000+ homes just a few hundred yards away who are NOT subject to these restrictions, and which also have large mass plantings of vegetation listed on my state’s Noxious Weed list. The whole situatin irks, to say the least, as does yours.

    I don’t intend to hijack your site, but your narrative touches a raw nerve in me; and neither do I mean to self-promote: I only feel very strongly that people need to be aware of how utterly ridiculous and ripe for abuse land-use ordinances can be. Ultimately, it is only dirt, and its importance can only be expressed in how it is cared for. Thank you for your work!

  15. Wayne says:

    John P,
    Your messages do not get posted because Shauna blocked them, thank God. And, it was YOU that posted the rude, hateful comments first. Just look at your first comment. Then your comments got even worse. You have a serious problem with your attitude at just 11 years of age, if that is your real age. I never saw someone of your age act so mean. Why go through life treating people like that? I will not respond to any more of your comments. Grow up.

  16. Wayne says:

    Frank F,

    I am glad your obscene comments don’t appear on this blog. I hope you feel better. What a low-life and loser.

    • Terri says:

      Glad to hear you speak up Wayne–I am so glad to see those comments are blocked. Both those of that John character and the equally low-life Frank. Smiles to all the others though and especially to Shawna, whom we all support. In the words of a wonderful Canadian “love over anger”.

      • Shawna says:

        Thanks for the support and I’m very sorry about the negative comments others put up. Makes me very sad. :-(

        Shawna

        • Terri says:

          Shawna–don’t be sad, people like those two don’t really matter–they do what they do merely to attempt to get a rise or response out of others and ignoring them is the BEST response. There is nothing wrong with a critical exchange of opinions or opposed views presented in a positive manner but the messages they have posted have been neither and simply negative bad-mouthing that isn’t worthy of being included in this forum. Good luck in your endeavours and let’s hope our shared vision is embraced by citizens and local governments and politicians at all levels. :)

  17. Deborah Dale says:

    Actually you DO have the RIGHT to garden on any City owned strip adjacent to your own property that the City requires you maintain (usually that means the boulevard between the sidewalk and the street). This was affirmed by the Ontario Superior Court in Doug Counter vs Toronto and should apply across Canada.

    “Boulevard Gardening” is a growing trend around the world and has been formally approved by a number of Canadian Cities and tactfully ignored by many others because of the enormous social and environmental benefits such gardens provide. Some, like San Francisco, even offer tax rebates to those that implement boulevard plantings because they alleviate storm water runoff problems.

    Toronto sadly doesn’t believe in this, despite the Counter case, and has once again cited me for growing short native plants (eg. butterflymilkweed) on my boulevard.

  18. Shiju says:

    but I appreciate you Shawna

  19. Todd says:

    Shawna, First, let me compliment you on the beautiful garden you cultivated. You are the type of homeowner we need in America. Agriculture is being taken over by corporations practicing monoculture, planting GMO’s and dumping vast quantities of pesticides. You have shown your community the alternative. Blessings to you.

    Second, let me encourage you to actively opposed your local government. Find out about them personally. Take pictures of them when they are out. Do searches on their investments. Judging by their treatment of you, I would bet they are up to their necks in corruption and graft. Learn about them, oppose them at elections, and even sue them personally if necessary. If they are as dirty as I guess they are, they will run and hide once you get scent on their trail.

    Again, best wishes in your efforts. I hope you spread the message of the home farm far and wide.

    Best regards, Todd

  20. Cheryl Baker says:

    Good luck Shawna, the gardens are beautiful. The city should be paying you!

  21. The city should PAY Shawna for what she does to beautify the area. She is a MASTER GARDENER who knows what she is doing. She is very famous in the national gardening community and has may well known people behind her. Her community needs to support her and others who try to make areas visually beautiful. Kindly back off, let Ms. Shawna do her beautiful thing. GO TAX THE PEOPLE WITH CAR PARTS AND WEEDS THAT ARE SKY HIGH!

  22. Chanel says:

    Garden tax my a$$, you should charge them a beautification fee. Everything in bloom is beneficial to birds and butterflies and bees and you are in fact helping the environment.
    By the way your work and design is beautiful…..

  23. JULIE says:

    A garden tax for making the community a better place??? I don’t understand. If anything, you should send them a bill for all your hard work and supplies.

  24. MarLei says:

    I LOVE what youve done. Beautiful! The city should be paying YOU. Also have you heard of this guy? He may be able to help, he went through something similar…

    http://www.ted.com/talks/ron_finley_a_guerilla_gardener_in_south_central_la.html

    As for the sad little jerks who gave you a hard time on your page, dont take it personally. They sit in their parents basement and look for bright lights like us to try and put out, but they cant. And its infuriating to them because they cant do anything positive themselves, they are stuck in their own personal cesspool. With the language they used I can actually get an image in my minds eye of what they look like, and its even sadder, LOL.

    Keep going! It looks great.

  25. Rose McDonald says:

    Once again the Warrenville City Council has hung its environmental ignorance out there for all the world to see. Backward small town minds driving a city into the homogenized mess of asphalt and concrete. They do nothing about the serious problems in the city, and penalize people who try to make the world a better place.

  26. Seriously, Warrenville, Illinois administrators? You fine citizens for beautifying their neighborhood, bringing neighbors together, and growing healthful food for the food bank? What do you do to people who park crooked? Impose the death penalty?

    Do you tax people who spray poisons all over their lawns? Or are you planning to make chemical lawns mandatory?

    How much did the Agro-chemical companies have to pay to buy off the government of Warrenville, Illinois? FOR SHAME!

  27. Morning Star says:

    Is your city afraid that they will need to take care of these beautiful little gardens or take them down. That is the only reason I could think that they would feel the need to tax anyone for doing such a wonderful thing for their city. You must get together with those in your community that appreciate what you have done and go before the council and ask your council to support your efforts. There is a number of people that is needed for a petition so you should find out that number and pass petitions around your city and present this to whom ever has fined you. Majority rules so start now !!! AND you may win this battle :D /*

  28. Susan Johnsen says:

    I just do NOT understand the mentality which says that you must stifle creativity and get rid of beauty. Why are gardens like these not a great contribution to the community? Good for you! Hang in there and props to you for trying to make your part of the world more beautiful. On a day like this where tragedy strikes once again, we need the comfort of beauty in our surroundings. Keep up the fight!

  29. Zumi says:

    Your beautification efforts are inspiring; and I’m sorry you’re dealing with the bureaucratic stymieing from the Warrenville powers-that-be. Sounds like it’s time to organize and present your case to the city council and expand what you are doing here, which is a great example of community. Keep fighting the good fight! Sometimes is takes time and communication for others to come on board. But you can do it. Keep beautifying and edifying, as you are here. I’m inspired!

  30. Rita says:

    The garden is gorgeous and adds beauty to your area. It’s important for children to see and realize that eating things from there is far more healthy than from a box or can. In fact why don’t you grow a garden it gives you peace, freedom, and satisfaction. Plus if one had extra they could help give to the poor as there are truly a bunch out there. If its an owners property as well they should be able to do as they please as long as they don’t hurt others!!!

  31. Kate says:

    Hey Shawna – lovely garden. The local council should find better things to do than tax beautification projects. The ‘devil’s strip’/mailbox areas generally have a right of way for utilities but are still your property (to address the above poster) and you are required to keep it mown and weed free and I doubt that all those mail box gardens are’taxed’. I would love to know what you filled 10 pages with though – I could think of some apt things but I doubt you added them :) ! Good luck.

  32. Mary C says:

    A city should be happy that a homeowner cares enough to take care of the strip of land they usually have no interest in. If the homeowners didn’t mow the grass in that area, there would probably be a fine. Why not make it something beautiful and useful instead of a water-hogging grass plot. Great job! You’ve inspired me to add some more color to my alleyway.

  33. Jackie S. says:

    I’m awed by the beauty you’ve created for all to enjoy. Those who benefit from creative, eco-minded plantings include all humans and birds, butterflies, bees and other creatures. Keep up the education and negotiation roles you’ve assumed in this otherwise ridiculous overkill of petty bureaucracy.

  34. Cathy Heard says:

    What a lovely garden!! You should be very proud of yourself. It amazes me how, in America, you cannot help out your city by beautifying it, without getting into some stupid legal battle. The best of luck to you!

  35. Corey Brenner says:

    This is insane.

    City: Instead of hassling this person, why don’t you HIRE her, to consult with you on how to beautify your city? She obviously has some good ideas, and a green thumb. People like her can also help you to prepare your civil defense, by holding and employing the knowledge of how to grow food in small spaces — like a yard.

    C’mon and get with the times, folks. Seriously.

  36. Nancy S. says:

    Interesting! Taxing people for actually making an effort to beautify the earth, your city, town, or area. I think the folks that think up this sort of CRAP should think of the alternative. Why would anyone want to do anything productive, artistic, and really take care of their yards if you all keep penalizing them, punishing them and acting as though you must gain more money for something that is a benefit to all? Definitely one of the most stupid ideas I’ve heard to date!

  37. Caroline Laplante says:

    City: Shawna does a wondeful jod. Her garden is perfect. You should hire her to consult on your public spaces, not tax her effort to embellish her street!

  38. The 14th. amendment provides equal protection under the law. If only a handful of gardeners are being subjected to this treatment, it is simply unconstitutional. The fact that it’s stupid is obvious.

  39. -where i live be it city property or side walk etc. we have to maintain it or get ticketed –in all 13 yrs. ive seen only once where they may have trimmed a tree branch if going into electrical lines or only once seen the ditches worked on to clear for over fill water ways — on top paying winter/summer taxes —- we are resposible for keeping sidewalks clear as well from snow and debri —-this is outrageous they have the gall to complain on something thats better than weeds or neglected– they should pay her for her outstanding beauty and use her as a example for keeping it maintained for all to enjoy —i say there should be #NOGARDENTAX —TAX/FINE THE PEOPLE WHO IGNORE AND JUNK OUR NEIGHBORHOODS INSTEAD

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