Maplewood ‘weeds lady’ headed to circuit court

Alice Hezel, cited for weeds in her yard on Cambridge Avenue in Maplewood, had a date in municipal court Monday night; it didn’t happen.

Milkweed at Alice Hezel's house

Milkweed at Alice Hezel’s house

Before her case was called, her attorney, Bruce Morrison, successfully lobbied for a venue change to the circuit court of St. Louis County, with a trial and jury, CBS News reported.

Morrison told CBS News it will be a “more formal, on-the-record proceeding” than Hezel would likely receive in the Maplewood Municipal Court.

“We’re going to see what evidence the city wants to put on,” he said. “If it’s going to go after aesthetics, which it seems to be what’s really driving this. The city’s ordinance as it stands cannot regulate aesthetics, but that seems to be what this fight is about.” See the Maplewood ordinance relating to weeds.

Hezel said she thought the outcome might be more favorable to her — to be tried by a jury of her peers — because the feedback she’s been getting has been favorable. She said people come by her house and want to have their picture taken with her in front of her milkweed.

Stories in the news last week about Hezel’s battle with the city prompted a letter from the city of Maplewood that clarified its position. The city says Hezel will not go to jail for the weeds charge, and sees this as a maintenance issue; the type of plants is not the problem.

A date has not been set for Hezel’s circuit court trial.

See the full CBS News post.

15 thoughts on “Maplewood ‘weeds lady’ headed to circuit court

  1. I walked by to check it out last week, and saw an American Goldfinch eating seed from the seed heads–pretty neat!
    There are a few other houses around with wildflowers, though not quite to that extent.
    It would seem that a lot of local ordinances are copied from somewhere, and should be re-written to make them practicable for Maplewood and to eliminate ambiguity, which courts typically will resolve in favor of the defendant (Hint: The city should cut their losses).
    I don’t like weeds even if they are under 12″; I like coneflowers (which is what I saw in her yard).
    If she had plants such as Queen Anne’s Lace or Jewelweed (which tend to be invasive) I could see where the neighbors might have a valid complaint. Then again, Jewelweed is known for it’s effectiveness as a poison ivy treatment.
    Bottom line: When I was a kid, among the stock phrases my parents and their friends had was “Don’t let it bother you.”
    Good advice then, good advice now.

  2. this is whole thing is getting out of hand, by the time it gets to court it will be winter and the plants will be gone and we can then look at the trash she keeps in the back yard.

  3. I live in B’wd–and have been ill. I really need to take care of my “Blessed Mother Mary” garden–but just have not been well. I look at the garden and it is an insult to Our Blessed Mother. THANK YOU FOR THIS POST—-i will get on my own lawn/garden. You are blessed and i pray that the woman who has an alternative opinion of beauty will get the leader of some local boyscout or girlscout troop to contact her. When one is older, so many things change. Please let me know in pm if i can facilitate an organized effort. BUT i need to get my own garden , “Mary, Mother of Aborted People” up to standard before i get involved here. all my love, maureen

  4. That’s your taste, and you’re welcome to it. But no one else is obligated to subscribe to it.

  5. My former next door neighbor lost his way in a divorce and maintained a similar appearing monstrosity in his front yard which was an embarrassment to the other seven of us who shared the Cul De Sac who took pride in curb appeal.

    Independent of a neighbor who was brazenly lazy I decided to to sell to find another rehab project. Ahead of my first showing (on an August 2013 Sunday) yours truly spent three hours mowing, trimming, raking, bagging, and tossing trash next door because Only a legally blind buyer would Ever consider embracing my former Des Peres street with that unfit of a neighbor.

    With home ownership comes the responsibly of maintaining a kept yard and grounds. Regardless of whats growing in that unkempt classless disaster ‘It’ belongs either behind a rural home that backs up to a creek Or in what the rest of us call ‘A Garden’ which is typically behind the residence, hidden from the street, fenced, and bears fruit and/or vegetables.

  6. Maybe she could use the money she is spending on an attorney to pay a professional landscaper to make her milkweed look disireable to her neighbors. I understand her willingness to help the Monarch butterflies, but I leave on the street and walk all the time and never seen any butterflies around. Maybe she could also use her money into some minor updates/maintenance to her house. If you take a close look at her house, it could use some TLC.

    • I’m sure your house could use some TLC of it’s own. Why don’t you mind your own business and let this kind old lady mind hers?

      • Sorry, but all the homes on Cambridge are pretty well kept. Maybe you should take a stroll down Cambridge and see you yourself before mouthing off. And, if you knew Alice, you would know she is not a KIND women.

    • Alice Hezel’s counsel are attorneys are with Great Rivers Environmental Law Center, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing free and reduced-fee public interest legal services to individuals and organizations working to protect and preserve Missouri’s environment.

      319 No. Fourth St., Suite 800
      St. Louis, MO 63102
      (314) 231-4181

      Lawyers for the Environment

      • Well maybe the article should state it’s a non for profit organization. You are only showing your stupidity by calling people names. Everyone has the freedom of speech and we can agree to disagree. Now, who is really being the jerk? If you can’t figure it out, look in the mirror.