Anything Not Permitted Is Prohibited.

There are a lot of times we get accused of trying to bring to light some things that cities are allowed to do, but elected officials say they would never do. Perhaps people think that we are being a little like Chicken Little and proclaiming “the sky is falling,” but our position is always going to be “if you say you aren’t going to use a law / statute / policy in that manner, then get them off the books where they cannot be used.

How does that play out real life?

Consider the town of Columbiana, Ohio, a small town of less than 7,000 people.

Residents of the town are up in arms about a new proposed city ordinance which would allow gardens in residential back yards.

The garden legislation would amend the zoning code to allow gardens on residential property, but [city resident Tony] Dolan and others at the meeting believed it was just another effort on the city’s part to restrict their rights.

The proposed amendment originally stated that residential gardens would need to be confined to rear yards, but that wording was later removed by a motion of council during the meeting.

Think about that for a moment. The City of Columbiana wants to allow its residents to have gardens. That’s backwards. The residents should have the right to do whatever they want on their property unless it harms others. It is hard to think how a garden can harm others so the City should stay out of it.

But that’s not the real issue.

This is:

According to the city’s laws, if something is not permitted it is prohibited.

Right now, if there is not something expressly in this code that says that you can have one, you technically can’t,” [Mayor Brian] Blakeman confirmed. (emphasis in original.)

It gets worse:

He went on to say that the city’s effort to make a law allowing gardens is something that should be seen as a good move by residents.

The intention of it is to not to take away, it is to give,” he said. (emphasis in original.)

It is the intent to give the residents that which they own by their own rights?

There are those in this world who believe that rights are granted by the government. We believe that rights are granted by God or natural law and can only be restricted when infringing on the rights of others.

In Columbiana, the City believes that they must give permission for your activities on your property – or anywhere else for that matter.

The City should remove the law on the books which gives them authority over what people do absent of City approval. That would be the right course of action.

After all….

People have been growing gardens for as long as I can remember in Columbiana, and have never had a problem,” Councilman Dick McBane said. (emphasis in original.)

Yet there are people who just can’t help themselves. They think that being elected means the right to control others and to restrict the rights of citizens.

This is demonstrated by this:

A public hearing has been set for 7:15 p.m. June 6 to discuss the legislation. The legislation was given a first reading by council that evening. A second reading is required before a vote.

The legislation also states that decorative and ornamental plants and trees as well as flowers are permitted to be planted in any lot in any zoning district in the city. (emphasis ours.)

Isn’t that nice of them? The City Council is going to allow residents to plant pretty flowers anywhere, but a tomato or cucumber plant will result in the long arm of the law coming down on you.

As we said, this is why we fight so hard for what sometimes is seemingly minute points. Once a government gets in its collective head they control you and your rights, they will never turn back.

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