News & Politics

Judge Rules Homeowner With Severe Grass Allergy Must Grow Lawn

Allergies can be anything from a nuisance to fatal. For one St. Peters, Mo., couple, an allergy to grass is severe enough to interfere with their quality of life.

So homeowners Carl and Janice Duffner went to court to get a waiver from a city regulation that requires them to grow grass in their yard. Seems reasonable. It’s their property, and while grass may look nicer, would you actually force your neighbors to be miserable to keep your property value a bit higher?

The court was happy to make them miserable, however. The Duffners have to grow the grass — and the fine for not doing so has ballooned to $200,000.

“It is so outrageous,” said David Roland of the Freedom Center of Missouri, who is representing the Duffners. “This is a couple with health problems facing gross penalties for what they’ve chosen not to plant on their personal property. If ever there was a circumstance where the court should intervene, it would be these facts.”

Roland indicated they Duffners plan on appealing the ruling.

The basis of a free society is property rights. You either own your stuff or you don’t. This includes your home. You should be free to do with it as you wish, as long as it does not impact others.

The Duffners took that into consideration, and maintained an aesthetically pleasing yard. Instead of grass, their front yard is a garden of green, leafy plants of various types.

That wasn’t enough for the local busybody government. It decided that everyone must have a yard with 50 percent grass, and screw anyone’s allergies. “My estimation is that this is one of the most important property rights cases in the country right now,” Roland argued, and he may be right.

If we’re not free to design the property we own to fit our health concerns, then government is not serving the people.