Debate grows over planting ordinance

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PECATONICA, Ill (WIFR) -- Pecatonica Trustee Jennifer Johnson says 99 homes and two businesses in the village are currently in violation of an ordinance that goes back nearly four decades. It involves flowers, trees, and other plants on parts of front lawns.

Johnson says, "It's called the parkway or terrace between the main sidewalk that anyone can walk on and the street. There's that grassy area, there's an ordinance for frees, shrubbery, plants, anything even moved grass is only to be a certain thing. It's not out of the ordinary."

Originally thought to cover all village streets, the ordinance in fact only affects five streets like High and Fifth Streets, which are more narrow than the average village streets which are 66 inches wide. Since this ordinance has not been enforced heavily over the past several years, Pecatonica Trustee Paula Hachmeister says its outdated and not needed.

Hachmeister says, "I don't even know why we are talking about this issue because plants are good for the environment and for people to enjoy and they beautify our community."

But trustees do realize that planting on terraces and parkways creates problems. Hachmeister says, "The only thing is if there is a public safety problem with the sites that you can see when you're driving, that's the only issue I can see with having planting."

Regardless, trustees will be working together on this ordinance to come up with a solution with the best outcomes for Pecatonica residents. Johnson says, "Our whole job is to help the village, not be Superman."