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War Over Veggie Garden Escalates

City orders vegetable garden removed, street put back.

planted on a city street escalated last week with opposing allegations of personal assault and poisioning the plants.

On June 13, City Solicitor Elizabeth Rennard sent a letter advising the owner of the property adjacent to the garden that "the Temporary License Agreement issued to you on June 30, 2011 has expired. At a recent meeting of the Salem City Council, a decision was made to not renew this license and require that the street be restored promptly to its condition prior to the planting.

The Wall Street residents who maintain the garden (which is technically on Richards Road) have removed the corn stalks from the dirt that once was part of the dead-end street, but they left the stakes and did not replace the hot top for the street.

A neighbor who lives across the street, filed a complaint with the , claiming that the man who maintains the garden attacked him on the morning of July 4 and hit him eight times, according to the Salem Police.

The man who reported the alleged assault told the police the neighbor accused him of damaging his corn stalks on the garden in the street. The alleged victim claimed the neighbor picked up his orange traffic cones on his property line, and carried them across the street. Then, the alleged victim said when he went to retrieve his cones, his neighbor allegedly yelled at him "I am going to kill you," and hit him eight times.

'I am going to kill you'

On Wednesday, the alleged victim showed Salem Patch still healing bruises from the alleged attack and produced photos of other bruises that were less visible.

Last Monday, the alleged attacker and man who maintains the garden in question  and possibly spraying pesticides to kill the plants."

The neighbor denied doing either.

Saying, "I do not want to put up with this aggravation," the man who said he was attacked and accused of killing the plants said he is trying to sell his house. One prospect for the house, he said, walked away when he saw the vegetable garden.

Last month, the alleged victim  and asked for its help in having the garden on city property removed. The council agreed unanimously and instructed Rennard to write the letter, telling the Wall Street residents to stop gardening and restore the asphalt torn up to expand the garden.

The corn stalks have been removed, leaving only the stakes. But the asphalt has not been replaced.

When the gardeners applied to the city for a license, they said they had been gardening on this plot "for many years and wish to continue to use this land during 2011."

The neighbor said the house the gardeners live in was bought only in 2010.   

Don Nadeau July 13, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Too bad adult neighbors can't work things out, respecting legitimate rights without threats and violence - allegedly. There are always creative solutions when each respects the other's best motivations. Property rights trump, but in a community cooperation is always best, by definition.
michael beaulieu July 13, 2012 at 03:37 PM
I did not know that pesticide kills plants. I use it to kill bugs, and herbicide to kill plants.
SuzannM July 13, 2012 at 04:31 PM
I agree with Don and the adult behavior issue, but I think a garden is much better use of open space then hot top in a neighborhood on a dead end road. Obvious isnt it, that a Garden is better for the environment and the community. And they are much more attractive to the eye.

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