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Village Agrees to Waive Fines if Shorewood Woman Brings Natural Lawn into Compliance

The three-year battle between Louise Quigley and Shorewood over the height of prairie grasses around her home culminated in court on Wednesday.

In municipal court Wednesday night, Louise Quigley agreed to comply with Shorewood’s requests to bring a portion of her lawn into village code and officials waived a $429 citation.

planted around her Shorewood home came to a head Wednesday when the village's and Quigley's attorney agreed on the deal.

Ericka Lang, the village’s Planning and Development administrator, said Quigley had previously been given permission to plant grasses in the parkway and they are still working on a plan to make sure those grasses remain in compliance with the village’s ordinance. Discussion Wednesday in a pre-trial hearing centered around a strip of plantings starting at the sidewalk and ending four feet in toward her private lawn on East Jarvis Street and five feet on North Maryland Avenue.

The village is asking she reduce the grasses in that area to six inches, and aren't asking her to alter her private lawn. Lang said the village actually never took issue with the private portion and simply had issue with the four to five feet and the parkway.

Shorewood will waive the citation Quigley received after missing a court date, but she is still on the hook for a $177 fine for not bringing her grasses into compliance and about $50 in court costs.

But Quigley said she'll plant some short native plants in that area and plans to keep them below six inches.

"I'll still have my prairie," she said.

“It’s not that you can’t fight City Hall, it’s that at this point, it isn’t worth it. I can still get something that is comfortable for me.”

Since Quigley started circulating letters and a , Lang said she has received no less than eight formal complaints, which she has documented, from residents showing support of the village’s effort to tame Quigley's lawn. Lang said the battle came on the heels of 15 years of complaints she said the village received about Quigley's prairie grass.

Lang said the village will continue to monitor Quigley's lawn.

Bob McBride December 08, 2011 at 10:45 PM
Does the headless purple and black rag doll on a stick get to stay?
David Tatarowicz December 08, 2011 at 11:35 PM
Lang says that complaints have come in for 15 years --- and noted before that there were many complaints but she did not document them -- only now has she started to document the complaints, since the publicity started --- from my experiences rather typical non-response and sloppy paperwork procedures in Lang's department.
Onederteam December 09, 2011 at 12:57 AM
And how many more years is this going to take? The article says nothing about the time frame. Either another example of inept village management or poor reporting. Quigley misses the court date and now says she "plans" to keep the grasses below 6", not that she "will". Send the village crews out and mow the weeds, then charge her tax bill like every other municipality does.
Adam W. McCoy (Editor) December 09, 2011 at 01:29 AM
How many more years will what take?
pupdog1 December 09, 2011 at 07:35 AM
I'm sure glad that Lang saved the city from this terrorist prairie. It would be inexcusable for parents to be able to walk past this fine house with their kids and say "See kids, that's what it looked like before the suburbanites came!" Can't allow an unapproved teaching moment. Can't allow unregulated appreciation of nature. As Barney Fife so often said, You gotta nip it! Nip it in the bud! Perhaps one of Lang's forebears killed the last of the Shorewood wooly mammoths, who were known to be grumpy, unkempt, and not especially cooperative with authorities. Lang's ancestors chiseled endless citations, but the mammoths just ignored them. Ultimately, that's what did them in. The headless rag doll on a stick is a perfect metaphor for Lang--what a stunning waste of public resources.
Bob McBride December 09, 2011 at 02:12 PM
Well she really needs to get rid of the metaphor then because it looks like crap. And, hey, if you'd like to teach your kids what the world was like before the suburbanites came, buy a chunk of land up north, dig yourself a hole in the ground and live off the land for awhile. A suburban lot with a bunch of prairie grass is hardly an accurate representation.
Jay Sykes December 09, 2011 at 02:34 PM
I'm surprised the Lone Roundup Ranger hasn't paid a midnight visit; Ke-mo sah-bee.
paul peck December 09, 2011 at 03:47 PM
I am glad there is a balance that can be struck that louise can live with and the village is pleased with. and yes, its a shame about the rag doll....it is so lonely....several more need to be added.
Bob McBride December 09, 2011 at 03:54 PM
That actually might make more sense. At least it would look more like some outré art display of some sort, rather than a leftover, forgotten and abandoned carcass from some holiday gone by. Then again, it has no head so it's unlikely to notice the presence of others of its type, so it's destined to be lonely, even in a crowd. There's no getting past the sadness.
paul peck December 09, 2011 at 04:19 PM
If art is not controversial, it has not pushed its own limits far enough. Bob, I am impressed. There are many artists that use the "power of repetition" as part of the work. You seem to have an intuitive understanding of this. I do hope this whole affair can lead to a better design for everyone. It seems louise feels she can work with the 6 inch limits, and maybe this can lead to a better prarie lawn-community integration. After all, it is a prarie space within a suburban context, and there is something positive from both sides. I do not know if the rag doll has a peticular meaning for louise or if it serves a purpose as a scarecrow....or if it is magical and filled with voodoo powers..... l say let the process unfold. It would be nice to imagine a time in the future when the balance between a prarie lawn and a suburban setting is no longer contentious, and looking back and remembering this very moment as the start of it all. happy days and bob, I am sincerely impressed with your aesthetics. It is my nature to have sympathy for the underdog.
pupdog1 December 09, 2011 at 05:40 PM
Time to send a team of political hacks over to McBob's house for a conformity inspection. BREAKING NEWS... I have just learned that Lang is preparing a no-red-water-barrels ordinance...
Bob McBride December 09, 2011 at 06:02 PM
Bring 'em on, pup. I'm happy to comply with ordinances put in place to maintain the value of the community as a whole over the wishes of some to play suburban radical. I can always move elsewhere if I find the community standards too stringent to comply with.
Jack December 09, 2011 at 08:20 PM
I've got a lot and a half. I'm wondering if it's legal to plow up my front yard and plant corn? I think I could get around 30 rows in.
michael aita December 09, 2011 at 10:49 PM
i hope as part of the settlement the eye level thorns over the sidewalk are removed
Jay Sykes December 09, 2011 at 11:28 PM
No problem, just be sure not to leave the JI Case tractor parked overnight,,,,, on the street,,,,,, without permission. Oh, and no genetically modified seed or the Lone Roundup Ranger may pay a midnight visit; Ke-mo sah-bee
paul peck December 10, 2011 at 12:15 AM
The corn is more than 6 inches tall and effects interstate commerce, which is bad. I once lived in a community near shorewood where the police showed up because there was an ordinance that said garbage cans had to be brought to the curb for morning pick up, but removed from the curb by 5 pm, and since i returned home after 5:30, I was in violation. and yes, the police showed up to tell me that if it happened again, I would be issued a citation....oh say does that purple scare crow yet wave o're the land of the free and the home of the brave?
Alol January 27, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Ha! I wish there was a "like" button for pupdog 1's comment.
Frank C January 20, 2013 at 02:13 PM
Sure, it's reprehensible... But if it's HER property, she should be able to do as she chooses without harassment so long as she's not directly harming anyone else.

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