North Ridgeville councilwoman proposes limit on non-holiday lawn ornaments

NORTH RIDGEVILLE,Ohio - Lee Johnson tended to weeds, manicuring around her favorite plants in her front yard on Tuesday. For 42 years, she has added decorations and shared her favorite plants with neighbors. She's never heard a complaint.

But, for city councilwoman Bernadine Butkowski, front and side yards like Johnson's may be under criticism after a council vote on Thursday.

Butkowski introduced a measure that would force North Ridgeville residents to cut back if their non-holiday lawn displays take up more than 25 percent of their front and side yards.

Johnson's front yard is filled plants and flowers, with small figurines and logs painted in polka dots with help from her grown twin sons. Her yard will probably be spared if 25 percent of yards are the limit.

"I love working on my yard and have for 42 years. We've spread mulch and wood chips for four days here when I lost my grass in the front yard one year, but I absolutely love decorating, I love it," Johnson said.

But, if pressed by a law , Johnson said she'd fight it.

"I love decorating. I would fight it all the way. I'd go to court and fight it because I love it," Johnson said.

On Chestnut Ridge Road, the McCartney family's display occupies most of their front yard.

Lauri McCartney said her husband buys almost all of the elements from antique stores, designing the yard for their disabled son's enjoyment. They've also had many people stop, asking to take pictures for their own decorating ideas.

McCartney sid a new law would adversely impact them and their personal expression.

"It's one more thing that they are trying to say what we can do and what we can't in our own house," McCartney said.

Butkowski did not return calls for comment on the proposed amendment.

North Ridgeville Mayor David Gillock said that city council will be voting on the proposed amendment Thursday at 4.p.m.

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