Brickbat: The Grass Is Always Greener


Charm Moment /

A St. Peters, Missouri, woman's battle with the city over her yard has reached a federal appellate court. A city ordinance requires all lawns to be at least half turf grass. But Janice Duffner says she's allergic to that. Her yard is filled with bushes and flowers. It also has a small fountain. A neighbor complained, and the city is trying to force her to plant at least some grass.

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  1. “Down to five percent. Five percent of turf grass,” said Matt Fairless, attorney for the city of St. Peters. “The city offered a fantastic accommodation to limit the amount of turf grass. There was opposition to that accommodation but city stuck with it.”

    The arbitrary nature of the city’s “accommodation” exposes how unnecessary the ordinance is.

    1. I’m sure they feel magnanimous. Such a number reads like “We’ll let you be on your way if you just kneel and kiss the ring.” I’m sure they are completely confused as to why anyone would reject such an offer.

      On the other hand, if I’m advising her, I’d say just put in a strip of bermuda along the edge of the property where you don’t go very often and be done with it. It will be dormant almost half the year anyway.

      1. Or put in a strip of grass along the rear of the property and then kill it.

        1. That’s what I was thinking. Plant it. Have then review it. Then get the grass killer. Everyone is happy, except for the asshole neighbor that started it.

          1. If that were me, the neighbor would be getting practical experience in The Window War.

      2. “We require at least token submission to our will.”

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  4. Also, who runs that story without a photograph of the yard in question?

    If you didn’t want to run across town and snap a photo, you could at least have her email you a couple of shots.

    1. It seems there is a rule at Reason that any photograph may not directly relate to the article.

  5. That’s insane! I mean, I wish these cities realized they had bigger issues than micromanaging someone’s neat and tidy yard! I can understand if it were filthy, unsanitary or an actual safety hazard, but just a bit messy or less grass? Come on!

  6. They would have left her alone if she just said that she’s a meth gal and doesn’t like grass, like most of Missouri.

  7. OK. The victim has an official complaint, so the name and address of the individual bully is on record. There are several interesting clauses in the Americans with Disabilities Act that allow the victim to have the federal government take legal actions against the bullies, both the individual and the city. Requiring ANY level of allergen is NOT a reasonable accommodation.
    Sue the bastards!
    Use the rules about peanuts on planes as a guideline.

    1. I like the way you think. Turn their own system against them.

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  9. Where in the Missouri State Constitution does it give the power to any political subdivision to force people to grow certain vegetation?

    “Nowhere” is the correct answer.

    1. General welfare clause.

      1. Constitutional clauses have to mean something and they cannot mean vast amounts of unchecked power. Otherwise, there would be no more than one clause in the constitution.

        If general welfare clause means the power to ban products and services, then why have a commerce clause?

        If general welfare clause means banning products and service is okay then why was there an 18th Amendment?

        If general welfare clause means banning products and service than it cannot also mean national healthcare and social security.

        1. Ask the supreme court, not me.

  10. Allow the woman to build a privacy wall then the noise neighbors will not have to look at her yard and she will not be affected the grass that she will NOT have to plaint.

  11. I’m calling bs on her allergy argument. If she is that allergic to grass, it wouldn’t matter if she has grass in her yard or not. Her neighbor’s yard is enough to make her sick. She wouldn’t get any sicker if she has grass in her own yard. Just plant the grass and start popping Zyrtec, lady.

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