International Municipal Lawyers Association - Local Government Blog

Drop that Head of Cabbage, Mister, and Step Back from Your Cultivator with Your Hands in the Air | September 20, 2010

Posted By: Dwight Merriam, Robinson & Cole, LLP

DeKalb County, Georgia, can teach us all something about zoning enforcement.   The zoning enforcement authorities cited Steve Miller for growing too many vegetables on his 2-acre lot in a residential zone.  Actually, it’s not that he was growing the vegetables; it was that he was selling them at an off-site farmers’ market, you see, because that makes it a commercial activity.  Isn’t there some federal law about transporting zucchini over county lines for the purpose of illegal sale?

Says Miller: “It’s a way of life, like it’s something in my blood,” County Cites Farmer For Too Many Vegetables.

He ultimately got his property rezoned to allow the illegal veggies, but he’s still in the hole $5,000 in fines.

Our crack investigative team tracked down the actual citation:

Here is that miscreant, Steve Miller, in a head shot you’re likely to see soon on the post office wall.  I mean, look at him – would you trust him with a site plan approval or even a 2-foot side yard variance?

Courtesy of The Covered Dish, (“A Guy, A Garden And An Anti-Veggie Zoning Code,”

And here’s the evidence, clear proof of his illegal activities and egregious flaunting of the rule of law:

Here is even more damning evidence unearthed by WSB-TV.  The county peppered Steve Miller with its proof of the violation.


The crime scene is here (I’m surprised they didn’t have the SWAT team with those police helicopters and their powerful lights at this harrowing event…):

And finally, from our friends at after getting the exact address from, we have this shot of the unspeakable horror:

You can bet your prize winning pole beans that if there is a CSI Atlanta they’ll be able to help nail the next crazy man who thinks he can get away with this kind of crime, right in front of the neighbors.  Actually, the neighbors apparently like it: “When he moved here and I found out what he was doing I said, ‘Steve, you’re the best thing that ever happened to Cimarron Drive. And I still say that,” said neighbor Britt Fayssoux.


  1. For an entertaining example of admin law enforcement…

    “Drop that Head of Cabbage, Mister, and Step Back from Your Cultivator with Your Hands in the Air | September 20, 2010”, posted on the International Municipal Lawyers Association – Local Government Blog by Dwight Merriam (Robinson & Cole, LLP,……

    Trackback by Administrative Law Prof Blog — September 20, 2010 @ 9:32 pm

  2. Dwight,

    Great piece; you have to do more of these.

    Thank God for heads up zoning where perps like this can be brought to justice.

    Today peppers, tomorrow poppies!

    Attaboy, Dwight!

    All best


    Comment by John M. Boehnert — September 29, 2010 @ 8:48 pm

  3. Although this article is now over 2 and a half years old, it would be interesting to revisit the topic of how municipalities are dealing with cultivation in suburban and even urban areas.

    Here in New York City we have recently seen the approval of a 100,000 square foot hydroponic grow operation on the roof of a former Navy warehouse. The developer is a private corporation whose aim is to place these veggie-farms on the roof of every big-box supermarket around the country.

    They were successful in having the City grant variances for height and floor area restrictions which would have inhibited the farm, and there are now amendments making their way through the city council which would make rooftop greenhouses as-of-right.

    I am curious to see how private individuals react to these zoning changes, and if the City will be more lenient in granting variances which would allow for rooftop gardens which are not commercial-scale greenhouses.

    Comment by Ben — May 8, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

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This blog is made possible by the International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA), but may include guest bloggers (who are attorneys with experience in local government matters) who might or might not work for IMLA. Their views (and those expressed on this site) do not necessarily express the views of IMLA.







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