nature on trial:  fighting for freedom of choice in landscaping
Court Decision: Not Guilty
by jcr13Tuesday, June 13, 2006 [12:15 pm]

Yesterday we received a call from the Court clerk: our decision was ready.

My wife and I, with our child Mez in tow, plodded reluctantly to the courthouse with our hearts pounding. My wife was convinced that the verdict would be "guilty."

We were pleasantly shocked to find that the Court ruled in our favor. After all this time and all this uncertainty---I was at a loss for words and almost came to tears right there in the clerk's office.

The decision itself is available here.

To sum up the decision, the judge ruled that the the Village never intended the 10-inch mowing rule to apply to natural areas---indeed, the judge observed, there are many other natural areas in the Village that are not being mowed (such as along the trails in the Clarkson woods, or along the Racquette river banks). The judge stated that he must apply the ordinance equally to all natural areas, including those that are intentionally created on residential lots. He also noted that the wording in the ordinance was vague and, if interpreted literally, overbroad.

The decision was covered as the front page (above the fold) headline story in the Potsdam Massena Courier Observer today ("Rohrer Can Keep His Meadow"). The decision was also covered on the front page of the Watertown Daily Times along with a cover photo ("Grass Greener For Potsdam Man") today.

I just finished my interview with the TV reporter from the News 10 Now. The coverage resulted in a 2 minute video story which can be viewed online.

WWNY Channel 7 also ran a story. The video can be viewed online.


[Submit Comment]
by freddyMonday, June 19, 2006 [10:18 am]


Are your expenses payed by the other side?

I learned more about all that legal stuff I ever did before by just reading your marvellous story!



by Former Potsdam residMonday, June 26, 2006 [7:56 am]

There goes the neighborhood. Strike that, that village....

The pictures/video make it most evident that your place is a true eye soar. You've won the legal right to this visual atrocity - I'm glad it's not in my neighborhood. It's just one opinion, but it's a shame that someone can bring this type of mess to a neighborhood. One has to wonder how may more 'slobs' will adopt the same justification and follow suite...


by Jenna BrownThursday, July 13, 2006 [8:17 am]

Congratulations on winning the right to enjoy natural plants around your home and providing an attractive space for all creatures. I have been inspired by you to register my "yard" as a Certified Wildlife Habitat, and will display my official sign with pride among my wildflowers and enjoy the wildlife that shares my living space.


by mute-loverFriday, July 14, 2006 [8:11 am]

and thanks to the judge who ruled in favour of freedom for your personal lifestyle and freedom of lifestyle and expression.

we need more tolerance and freedom in this world, and peace amongst humans.

too bad that so many humans want to force their beliefts, values and style onto others and convert them to their type and kind of life and beliefs or values.

freedom, opensource, open knowledge, freedom of information, transparency, tolerance.

and no more wars, agression, envy, hatred, power and control over others and supression and so forth.

the world from the people to the people.


by Bret RappaportMonday, July 17, 2006 [2:51 pm]

Doing the right thing, standing up for what you believe, and trusting in the system.


Someone at the Wild Ones ( meeting told me about your recent victory. Your decision to do the right thing, and the patient, well articulated defense in court, coupled with a judge who listens and decides based on the law, has lead to your being able to continue your natural landscape efforts.

More importantly, your victory is a revalidation of the right of all homeowners to landscape their yards in a healthy and beneficial way. The decision in your case stands as strong precident for others who face similar prosecutions in the future. Judges in those cases will be influence by Justice Wheeler's well reasoned opinion.

By securing a court victory you have done much more then save your natural landscape, you have been an inspiration to others and an arrow in the quiver of those who have battles yet to fight.


by AOttomMonday, March 21, 2011 [1:29 am]

video link busted.

Thanks for noticing that, just fixed it! ---Jason


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