Free Enterprise Forum: Plant Ordinance Violates Property Rights - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Free Enterprise Forum: Plant Ordinance Violates Property Rights

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The Free Enterprise Forum in Charlottesville is taking issue with a city policy that regulates what people in the city can grow on their lawns, and says it could be a significant violation of property rights.

The city ordinance is called a vegetative management plan, and outlines strict limitations on what people can plant on their own property. The policy is part of the Overgrowth of Weeds ordinance, which is in place to make sure properties don't become an eyesore or breed invasive species.

But the forum feels, in this case, the city is overstepping its bounds.

The management plan says residents can plant up to 25 percent of their property with native plants to Virginia, but no more. But before they do this, they have to fill out an application with the city.

Neil Williamson with the Free Enterprise Forum says all of this is just unnecessary bureaucracy, and should be reformed.

"There actually are plant police that are going to check out the proposal and then check out after you've done your garden that you've planted the proper species in the proper spacing. This seems like a waste of time and money to me,” Williamson said.

According to the city website, once a garden project gains approval, neighbors then have a two-week period where they can weigh in on whether they think the new plants are appropriate.

Williamson highlights that this policy may also inhibit environmentally friendly efforts. Native species of plants often curb runoff much better than grass alone.

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