Skunk in Gilbert Garden Party

Posted on November 01, 2005
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Who knew a garden could be so controversial? In Gilbert, citizens are complaining about Daniel Lee Thompson's organic garden. Thompson is proud of his garden because he maintains it without pesticides, but his neighbors aren't so enthusiastic.

The garden, which includes large lettuce, cornstalks, and turnip greens, is in his front yard. Neighbors have complained that it's an eyesore and smells badly. 

Gilbert law will not settle the matter for neighbors, at least for the moment. So long as Thompson keeps the weeds trimmed, no violation of the Gilbert City Code has occurred. Even Steve Wallace, Gilbert's senior code compliance officer, has admitted that people are currently allowed to grow crops for themselves. Some neighbors suggest that the city should change the code. But should government be the skunk in this garden party?

Citizens who want more rules and regulations in their neighborhoods can form homeowner's associations where land-use restrictions tend to be more restrictive. Equally important, the restrictions are based on voluntary contracts signed by the people who are the most effected by the rules.

There's no use in bringing in government when citizens can resolve differences on their own. Civility, private agreements, and common-sense are homegrown remedies that respect private property and allow a thousand gardens to bloom, no skunks required.

Key Links:

- Arizona Republic: "Organic garden plants seeds for neighborhood feud in Gilbert"
-Cato Institute: "What Are Private Governments Worth?"
-Town of Gilbert: Municipal Code

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