↑ A decorated car planter outside a headshop on the interstate is at the center of a city effort to enforce an ordinance prohibiting junk cars.
By BRAD ROLLINS
A state district judge on Monday scheduled a hearing for later this week on a novelty shop owner’s appeal of a municipal court ruling on a 1988 Oldsmobile converted into a sculpture and cacti planter.
On Monday, Planet K owner Michael Kleinman filed for a temporary restraining order to keep the city’s marshal office from hauling off the brightly colored vehicle from the store’s property on the access road at 910 Interstate 35. The car is painted with lively murals by San Marcos artists Scott Wade and Furly Travis and planted with prickly pears and yucca where the seats used to be.
In December, a code enforcement officer wrote the store’s managers that the exhibit constitutes a public nuisance under a city ordinance that prohibits junk vehicles visible from roadways. Municipal Judge John P. Burke upheld the citation on Thursday and Kleinman said he would appeal.
“We’re going to take it as far as they want to take it,” Kleinman said on Friday. “It’s not a junk vehicle. It no longer moves, never will move, and on top of that, it’s got art on it. And it’s a planter on top of that. And it’s got freedom of speech on top of that.
In a meeting with both parties in his chambers this afternoon, District Judge Charles Ramsay set a full hearing on Planet K’s claims for 9 a.m. Thursday. But assistant city attorney Andy Quittner said the city would likely file notice on Tuesday to have the case moved to federal court instead.
“If they’re going to raise federal issues, we’d rather have a federal judge hear the case,” Quittner said.
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