TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A bill that would prevent local governments from regulating homeowners’ vegetable gardens is headed to the House floor.
The State Affairs Committee this week backed the proposal which stems from a legal dispute in which a Miami Shores couple fought an ordinance that banned front-yard vegetable gardens.
The couple had maintained a front-yard garden for nearly two decades but uprooted their vegetables when faced with the possibility of fines.
They challenged the constitutionality of the ordinance but lost in court.
Critics of the bill, including local governments, feel lawmakers should let cities and counties decide what is best for their communities. Scott Dudley is with the Florida League of Cities.
“We’re trying to find the balance between trying to keep the urban feel and look of a neighborhood, versus having a corn crop next to your house," said Dudley.
However, backers of the bill have described the Miami Shores ordinance and others like it as an overreach of local government.
State Senator Rob Bradley sponsored the measure in his chamber, where the legislation passed last month.
“It comes down to fundamental freedom. If you own a piece of property, your piece of the American Dream, that you can grow your own food on your own property," said Bradley.
There are two weeks remaining in the 2019 regular legislative session for the full House of Representatives to consider the bill.