Falcon Heights to consider rescinding ban on front yard gardens at Wednesday meeting

The ban came as a resident was building a community garden in his front yard.
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quentin nguyen

Residents of Falcon Heights may be able to grow vegetables in their front yards after all. 

The City Council passed an interim ordinance May 13 that temporarily banned the cultivation of gardens in front yards after it learned a resident, Quentin Nguyen, was planning to turn his front yard into a community garden.

Some residents were concerned about road safety and how it would be regulated, city documents state, though council member Mark Miazga has since said the issue came up based on the complaints of two residents.

Now, the City Council on Wednesday will consider rescinding the temporary ban on front yard vegetable gardens at the request of Miazga, according to the City Council agenda. The in-person meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. 

The May 13 interim ordinance clarified an ordinance the city previously passed that allows native landscaping in front yards, specifying that vegetable gardens don't count. 

In a statement to BMTN earlier this month, Falcon Heights said that the intent of the interim ordinance is to "complete an in-depth and thoughtful process to study changes needed to city code for the potential expansion of gardens."

"With recent interest in home gardens attributed to COVID-19 the city needs to address how our zoning ordinances and codes could or should be changed to meet community needs," the statement said.

Nguyen told BMTN he felt the interim ordinance is "100 percent targeting me" and only him, noting he learned of the new ordinance after he recieved a letter from the city on May 15. 

His plan was to plant veggies in his front yard, which he called a "wasteful front yard of turfgrass used for nothing" to share and give to his mom and others.

Miazga has subsequently apologized for voting for the ordinance, saying "in retrospect, we made a mistake and should have voted for research and ordinance creation first without immediately banning vegetable gardens in front yards."

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