Man asks town to drop $130K in code enforcement fines

Jan. 9, 2014 at 1:21 PM
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LONGWOOD, Fla., Jan. 9 (UPI) -- A Florida man facing more than $130,000 in code enforcement fines resulting from his messy yard asked the city commission to negate the fees.

Sean Law, 32, who racked up fines for yard mess including weeds and dead wood, spoke during the public comments portion of Monday's Longwood City Commission meeting and told commissioners he cleaned up a portion of his yard by moving some of the dead wood and clearing paths, the Orlando Sentinel reported Thursday.

"It's so it would look more like a garden; so that it would be more pleasant for people to walk around in," Law said.

Law said his yard appears messy because he is attempting to garden without using pesticides or fertilizers.

"Un-mowed areas contain a greater diversity of plant and wildlife," he said. "We cannot bar a property owner from doing something on the basis of aesthetics in a free city such as the city of Longwood because that would violate the First Amendment."

Commissioner Bob Cortes said Wednesday the decision to drop or reduce the fines would be left to Special Magistrate Amy Goodblatt. He said commissioners would not consider Law's case unless it was put on the agenda by the city attorney.

"The intent of Longwood is not to prevent him from planting what he wants," Cortes said. "The intent of Longwood is to get him to comply with city code. And right now he's in violation of city code."

Law said he has filed an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.

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