Let Karl Hirsch Grow His Garden!

According to the Morning Call, "Karl Hirsch's war on grass began 13 years ago. He and his wife had just moved from Northampton to a rancher on a one-third-acre plot off Church Road in Lehigh Township. Then, Hirsch's yard consisted of a flower bed, a tree and — in greater quantities than Hirsch had ever owned before in his life — plenty of green. To Hirsch, the ground cover most landowners spend their summers aerating, treating and mowing is a waste of good soil.

So, over the years, Hirsch wiped out most of his lawn, save a strip in the back where his kids play and a patch in the front that serves as a path to the driveway. The rest became a garden.

Recently, however, Hirsch's plot has become ground zero in a neighborhood battle that's climbing the ladder of justice in Northampton County. Hirsch is appealing a decision by District Judge Robert A. Hawke that his yard violates a Lehigh Township nuisance ordinance. Hirsch says his garden isn't a nuisance — it feeds his family.

The plants aren't the problem, say Hirsch's neighbor and Lehigh Township's zoning officer. It's the weeds. He lets them grow too high, they say. But a few weeks ago, after he lost the first round of his case, Hirsch slashed the weeds to regulation height, they say, and they're satisfied with how it looks now.

Hirsch's response: What they keep calling weeds are plants, he didn't slash anything and he's not dropping his appeal."

This petition asks the Lehigh Township zoning board to stop calling Hirsch's garden "weeds" and accept them as legitimate plants since he is growing them for food.

We the undersigned ask that you cease attacking Karl Hirsch and his front yard garden. The plants are not weeds - they are legitimate garden fauna. He has a right to grow a garden in order to feed his family. Maybe some of those plants should be under a certain height, but the limit of six inches should not apply to plants grown for food.

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