Backus says a lot of people came out to support his plantings.
Ken Backus has won half of his battle with city hall.
Backus planted the trees in the terrace years ago not realizing he needed a permit to do so. Trees planted in terraces become property of the city, which has an approved list of appropriate species.
Ald. Mark Clear, a member of the board, said "It was just a matter that the guy's done nice work, it looks nice, and I think the commissioners' discounted the concerns of city staff."
"Certainly, the guy did not do this maliciously," Clear adds. "His intentions were good and he wanted to spruce up the neighborhood."
Backus says a lot of people came out to support his plantings, including some people he knew and some he didn't. He says "Some of the [board] members appreciate that I planted dwarf species, which won't grow too high."
Clear says he doesn't know if city policy needs to change on this matter. "Like most bureaucracies, the city has rules that are inflexible," he says. "If [Backus] had known beforehand to contact the city, he could have been given guidance. But he didn't know to do that."
The plantings Backus put in front of his property, at the corner of Baldwin and East Johnson Streets, will have to wait for another hearing. Those have been deemed too high by the city staff, which believes they could obstruct the view of motorists at the intersection.