City Tells Man He Can Build Tomato Garden, Then Decides It's Against The Law

A Massachusetts man says that when he decided to build a large tomato-growing structure in his front yard, he checked with the city who said it was going to be fine. Then as soon as the hanging garden went up, the city said it had to come down.

The man says the purpose of the 13′ tall garden isn’t just to grow his own tomatoes, but to grow enough to give away at local food pantries. He says he would have put in the backyard but there isn’t enough sun there for the fruits to flourish.

He tells WBZ-TV that before he started erecting the garden, he called the city zoning office and was told everything was okay, in spite of a city bylaw against front yard structures.

“She kind of explained to us over and over that what we’re doing is fine,” says the tomato grower. “A day after it was up, bright and early, the city shows up and says, ‘hey, you have to take this down.'”

In addition to the zoning ordinances, the city tells WBZ it has safety concerns about anything erected in someone’s front yard.

However, the city says the garden — which was still up as of yesterday — could remain if the homeowner applied for and was granted a zoning variance.

The man says he is willing to go through the lengthy variance application process, adding, “We hope they’re going to come around to the idea as well, and they’ll realize there are much bigger problems in Newton to deal with than a tomato plant garden in the front yard.”