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Is this Kaukauna yard a form of art or city violation?

According to the City of Kaukauna, the tractor is a violation of city code. August 7, 2017 (WLUK/Pafoua Yang)

KAUKAUNA, Wis. (WLUK) -- You may notice the house sitting on the corner of Draper and Jefferson Street with its patriotic theme and big red tractor in Kaukauna.

Joe Grundy owns the home and is facing a citation for storing items in his yard not in compliance of city code, but Grundy says his yard is self-expression.

"The gardening part, I would say, is my adopted grandma. She was awesome and the tractor incorporates my dad and grandpa's farm," Grundy explained. "And we live in America, so I got red, white and blue, and that's how I came about doing this."

City officials say Grundy is violating city ordinances because his tractor, fuel tank stand and other items, are in the setback areas.

City inspector Jon Oldenburg says the city prohibits items within 25 feet of the lot lines adjacent to a street.

Because Grundy lives on a corner lot, his side yard also follows the front yard code. Grundy faced the same violation 11 years ago regarding the tractor, but he says it was resolved.


"The Judge Chafer and the other building inspector at the time said I was in compliance, so it's been here for 11 years now," Grundy said.

The city's Code of Ordinances section 10.07 says storage of junk vehicles are not allowed in the open upon public and private property for more than three consecutive days, unless it is in connection with an automotive sales or repair business enterprise.

Grundy argues the items remaining are yard art.

"I did not remove the tractor or some of the other things because to me that is just like somebody having a windmill. Down the road a guy has a windmill in his yard."

But Oldeneburg states, "These items are in fact farm implements and equipment. It is not the place of this office to judge what art is, and by policy, I must call the items by what they are. It is this department's policy that items placed as 'yard art' be judged as only what they are in fact, and dealt with accordingly."

Grundy believes he is not violating city code and even hopes to add more things to his yard.

Grundy is scheduled for court Aug. 22. If convicted, the fine would be $238.

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