AVALON — A local woman must return to court Monday as the borough continues to cite her property for an indigenous vine, Virginia creeper, that has grown in abundance on her home.
The Virginia creeper, a plant native to eastern and central North America, provides foods for birds and butterflies as well as a habitat for a species of moth, she said.
While the borough argues that it’s an overgrown eyesore, Elaine Scattergood said it’s good for the environment.
“The house is not a remarkable house, architecturally,” she said. “I think the vines make it look cottage-y, and also they provide food for the migrating birds.”
In January she was cited for “failure to remove overgrowth vegetation from house,” according to court documents. In July she was cited for failing to “maintain the exterior of the property and premises in a clean, safe and sanitary condition.”
While a trial date was set for Aug. 5, the hearing was postponed until Sept. 30 so both parties could “permit additional discovery,” court documents stated.
On Sept. 27, Scattergood was cited for a third time for “obnoxious growth” of brush and weeds.
Joseph Grassi, Scattergood’s lawyer, will seek to have all three citations dismissed.
“There is not a question that my client has been an activist on environmental issues,” he said. “I hope everything goes her way.”
Scattergood has lived in Avalon for about 30 years. The house, which was her parents’ home, has had the Virginia creeper vines growing on it for about 40 years, she said. The vines grow on the side of her house, in the backyard and on her garage.
She has never cut the vines, they are in full bloom during the spring and summer months with hanging berries.
“In the spring they start, and in the summer they’re green and start getting the little navy blueberries,” she said. “Then in the fall they turn this beautiful crimson color, they’re gorgeous. All the birds enjoy the little berries,” she added.
Being cited for the vines upsets her, especially because she believes the vines are good for the environment.
“Everybody should do what I’m doing,” she said. “Everybody should provide food for the birds and the butterflies.”