A Maplewood woman is going to court and facing several fines. The city said she's failing to keep her lawn in order, but she claims she owes the city fines for an ordinance that is just not clear.
"At first I didn't like Ireweeds," Alice Hezel said of one of the many plants living in front of her home.
Hezel has lived in her home on Cambridge avenue for 35 years.
"It's great being her neighbor, she's super friendly and I know she's been here a lot longer than I have," said Thomas Pinn, Hezel's neighbor.
"I don't know the names of all my flowers, like I said they come out at different times," Hezel said.
Lately Hezel and her flowers have been the talk of the town.
"My favorite plant is the milkweed," she said.
The milkweed is just one of about 40 different types of flowers growing tall right in her front yard. Some neighbors don't seem to mind.
"She told us that it's the natural grasses and it definitely helps with keeping the bees and butterfies," Javier HinoJosa, Hezel's next-door neighbor, said.
"I think, her yard is the most beautiful yard on the street," Pinn said.
The Maplewood City Counsel says Hezel is actually breaking a code.
"They had said they were going to come to my house, send their public works department to tear out all my weeds," Hezel said.
Maplewood City Counsel says weeds can not exceed 12 inches high.
"Do we get rid of the food for our monarch butterflies and our pollinator just because of the size of the plant".
Since 2012, Hezel says she's received at least five citations from the city because of her flowers.
They wouldn't speak on camera, but Maplewood Public works says, Hezel faces fines for overgrown weeds and trash found in her yard.
The City of Maplewood emailed the following statement to NewsChannel 5:
"The City of Maplewood doesn't arrest or jail residents for weeds violations. No resident of Maplewood is facing possible jail time for a weeds violation. The attorney of a Maplewood resident had previously called for a hearing after receiving a citation for a weeds violation, not the City of Maplewood.
The City of Maplewood views this matter as a maintenance issue (lack of cultivation); the type of plants that are being grown is not an issue."
They say she simply needs to maintain her lawn but Hezel is hesitant to pay those fines until the ordinance has more clarity.
"Their ordinance is unenforceable," Hezel said. "I'm going to take it to some other lawyers and have them look at it".
Some surrounding municipalities have similar ordinances. In Chesterfield, weeds, grasses or flowers can not exceed 10 inches. Residents in Fenton can grow grass, weeds or flowers higher than 9 inches
Hezel's court case was scheduled for Monday, but she had her case moved from the Maplewood Municipal Court to the circuit court of St. Louis County. It will be a trial with a jury. No date has yet been set.