This is a court case to watch. Sounds like a city that's acting like an HOA.
Pagedale is 1.19 square miles of St. Louis County. Approximately 93 percent of its 3,000 residents are African American and about 25 percent live below the poverty line. There is not much of a tax base for their government. But supposed necessity does not confer constitutionality on Pagedale’s decision to budget on the assumption of a steady blizzard of capricious fines. Pagedale residents are subject to fines if they walk on the left side of a crosswalk; if they have a hedge more than three feet high, a weed more than seven inches high, or any dead vegetation on their property; or if they park a car at night more than 500 feet from a street lamp or other source of illumination; or if windows facing a street do not have drapes or blinds that are “neatly hung, in a presentable appearance, properly maintained and in a state of good repair”; or if their houses have unpainted foundations or chipped or aging layers of paint (even on gutters); or if there are cracks in their driveways; or if on a national holiday — the only time a barbeque may be conducted in a front yard — more than two people are gathered at the grill or there are alcoholic beverages visible within 150 feet of the grill.
The entire nation should hope that this small city’s pettiness will be stopped by a court that says this: The Due Process Clause, properly construed, prohibits arbitrary government action, particularly that which unjustifiably restricts individuals’ liberties.