published: Friday, November 02, 2012
Common sense finally flowers in government
Planting a garden shouldn't require county approval. Thank goodness the county seems to agree.
Sometimes the system works. Sometimes flaws are found in government rules and regulations, and people complain. And sometimes the system gets changed for the better. It happened recently in Lake County.
Steve Fisher is one example of how the system worked on his behalf. He had wanted to plant a garden on vacant land he owns next to his home but local regulations prohibited him from doing that.
The reason: The Paisley resident didn't live on the land. Planting a garden or removing certain trees on that land violated the county's land development regulations.
After expressing his frustration, county commissioners said they were willing to change the rules to permit "family gardens" up to a half acre in size.
"It is really a common sense thing," county Commissioner Leslie Campione said. "You can do whatever you want on your private property. This is for people who own a vacant lot next door to their primary residence and want to plant a garden on the vacant property."
The commission is expected to meet Tues-day for a final hearing on Fisher's concern.
Fisher lauded commissioners for the way they responded.
"I was pleased they listened to me. I'm glad something can be done, and this should help everyone in the county."
He said he found it encouraging that public officials took his concerns seriously.
He said his story is a good lesson for others who may encounter similar challenges. Changing the rules helps make "everyone a winner" by reducing restrictions on private land.
"That is the whole point -- this isn't just about me," he said. "There are people with similar situations throughout the county."
Fisher said he urges others to express their concerns publicly.
It worked for him.