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Published: Friday, 10/22/2004

Board upholds nuisance ticket

Levine Levine

A city of Toledo appeals board yesterday handed amateur botanist Steven Levine another horticultural setback.

Mr. Levine, 47, of 2654 Letchworth Pkwy. was ordered by a nuisance abatement appeals board to pay the $75 ticket he was given in August and trim the growth in his backyard.

Mr. Levine appealed the nuisance citation, claiming his yard is a garden of native plants. He said he might appeal the ruling to Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Richard Thielen, the city's manager of code enforcement, said Mr. Levine's rear neighbor complained that his plants grow over the fence and breed bees and bugs.

Mr. Thielen said the city had no objection to Mr. Levine's choice of plants.

"We are saying your plant material has to be cut back in the backyard so it is not imposing on your neighbors," Mr. Thielen said.

Mr. Levine, who became upset during the hearing and rested his head in his hands, said his backyard is a sanctuary from the depression he suffers.

"The loss of my backyard will be my death," he told the appeals board.

Mr. Levine was supported by a friend, Jan Hunter, who owns Naturally Native Nurseries in Bowling Green, and who praised his yard.

On Monday, the city's board of zoning appeals upheld a companion violation under the zoning ordinance, ordering Mr. Levine to trim the bushes along his driveway to no more than 42 inches.

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