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Old 02-21-2010, 10:20 PM
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town is giving me a hard time

hi everyone. you all probably don't know me because i mostly lurk, but i'm on here off and on for a few years. id figure id search the internet for ideas on my legal problem because i just dont know where else to go other than spend lots of money on a lawyer.


I'm sure there are lots of members on here with 1000 projects at once; all waiting for a thing or two to complete, maybe even just nice weather. that being said i'm sure at least SOMEONE has been in a similar situation.

i'm got a letter in the mail from the town that pretty much says i need to "clean up" my property. it was 4 warnings:
1. unregistered/uninsured vehicles on property
2. restricted vehicle on property (tow truck)
3. failure to maintain property
4. operating junkyard on property

here's my answers
1. HUH? i have three cars on the property: 2 daily drivers and my tow truck. tow truck is the only one not registered/insured. it was until fall last year when i took it off for the winter. i plan to put it back on when the season starts.
2. my tow truck is a 1969 chevy c50 that is historic registered/insured personally to me (well, was and will be in the spring. i still have the plates on it). i use it to do demo-derbies and i want to start LeMons racing in the summer. it's also sometimes randomly used to haul MY personal classic cars around (rarely and not in the last 6 months). it is barely used even during the summer, never before 7am or after 9pm. i'm not allowed to have this?
3. my 1.5 acre yard had it's grass cut fall last year, along with all the bushes/trees trimmed. now there is a foot of snow on the ground. i do have a wood pile with sticks behind it (because i have a wood stove) but it is 100+ feet from the road, against the woods that boarder the right side of the property.
4. ??????? wuuuutt? granted i have a few "projects" that i'm working on, but i'm not selling anything that i work on. i dont have people constantly coming in and out of my drive way. i'm not making loud noises on weekdays (when i'm at work) or at all hours of the night.


the worst case: ok yes, i have some "stuff":

- 5 small garden type tractors. all work and are used because they each have a speciality (1. brush cutting, 2. snowblower, 3. has a bed welded on to it for hauling yard refuge, 4. standard grass cutter, 5. another standard grass cutter because 1 grass cutter always seems to not work)

- also have pushmower, walkbehind leafblower, grass sweeping attachment for tractors, small cement mixer (concrete house), couple extra wheels/tires for tractors. i dunno, i use all of this stuff and it works. it's moved weekly/biweekly whenever i need to do yard maintenance.

- i have some lengths of metal and metal pieces, less than 150lbs. they are all together, not randomly scattered, again against the woods. it's there because i make things out of it. not for sale, just for me. i do this EVERY WEEKEND and sometimes after work (never later then 9pm) over 90% of this work is done in my garage anyway...

ANYWAY
sorry for the 10 page letter. I'm just at a loss for ideas how to handle this. making my stuff go away is just going to make my life miserable, leaving it here is just going probably make me get fines. anybody have any tips?


best regards,

-dave

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Last edited by bentrod; 02-21-2010 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:44 PM
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Dave, I know there are a lot of people on here with the same problem. The way I see it here are some options.

1. Get rid of everything and clean it up.

2. Find out who writes the letters like the one you got and try and get his job.

3. Start buying guns and ammo and build a fence around your property with lots of signs that say beware of owner.

4. Get the old wrecker licensed and park it legally and regularly in front of the mayors house. You may want to pickup an old very large rusted motor home and rotate them. (this one is my favorite).

5. Move.

Seriously, we have the same issue where I live. No cars can be parked on the grass. So we pour a slab. All vehicles have to be licensed, so we do. Fences do help to hide things like the movers and parts. The best thing to do would be to talk with them and try come to an agreement as to what you should do. If you get mad it only gets worse. Hope this helps.

Kurt
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Old 02-21-2010, 11:19 PM
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Can you post some pictures, and let us tell you what we think?
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Old 02-22-2010, 12:34 AM
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hi guys thanks for your reply. i'm glad i'm not alone on this.

rodder18: i think my goal is right now is what you said; work with the guy. i even agree with him to a point. alot of my yard stuff i guess can be cleaned up and consolidated. but im afraid to what point? if the guys says no tractors or ANYTHING outside, i'm going to get a lawyer and call all kinds of politicians. some of this stuff i need to maintain the property so i can avoid other tickets. the yard was honestly a disaster to begin with and cleared out alot of vines and planted grass. (those vines were probably shielding me now that i think about it...dumb decisions)

tony79dr: thanks for your welcome. ill take pictures tomorrow for documentation purposes and post them here to get your honest opinion. in my mind, it's not bad at all but it will be good to see what you guys think.

best regards,

-dave
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Old 02-22-2010, 06:35 AM
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I just got out of court for the very same thing (I mean thursday) The problem is the county is running out of money and cant raise taxes,so thier finding alternative ways.I was lucky,for medical reasons I cant work so no court costs.but while I was in court everybody that did comply paid court costs...I was in compliance,plus it helped that the marshal took pics of my car and the judge knew it was a rare biz coupe and it was done except for some very minor stuff (I can drive it)...All i had to do was park it out in the back yard so nobody could see it I put up a 6' fence and built a pole barn for parts and all my other stuff.all you really got to do is insure and register your truck GrundyClassic car ins. was the best deal for me.unless everybody around also got warnings someone is calling...its easy to find out who....one way is look to see whos selling their house...then when someone comes to look at it, pull the truck out and start reving it up with no shirt on and an empty beer can in your hand ... After a couple weeks of this, walk up to them and tell them if they call again it'll get worse much worse.so just clean up the yard get the truck legal and let them sell their house ,if they give you any crap pull te truck out and take it apart in front of the house and repete the same proceedure every time someone comes looking(nothing they can do about it) and if he does sell it, you'll have a good friend next door....It worked for me.I've been through this a dozen times.yesterday I walked up to my neighbor and told him I know it was him because of the freedom of information act and you shoulda saw his mouth drop (it was all BS) all he had to do was ask and I would have took care of it.all the times I helped him out fixing his car and wifes truck and this is how they act.Dam yuppies...and I walked back across the street ......
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Old 02-22-2010, 06:50 AM
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same problem

I bought and old farm house out in the country, only one red-neck neighbor, 3 cars that didn't run and kids and dogs, goats everywhere. they sold out to a developer and the city annexed 60 acres, part for housing, I was rezoned light industrial I had to spent $ 4 k for material to build a 6 ft sight obscuring fence around the shop and my one acre of storage space. If I leave a tractor outside the fence I can get a ticket. I am now only allowed to have 2 horses and one cow in the back pasture.
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Old 02-22-2010, 07:23 AM
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That aint Right ,Tim...You were there first.sounds like those county hoes are bought and paid for...time for a little target practice? I might just get me a pilots licence and drop a ton of bull sheet on something.like the mayors house..or car......mabee he'll catch on, if it happens enough...
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:15 AM
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Pray for more budget cuts, It worked here. The zoning guys were out of work, no money to pay them. It sure is making life easier for the car guys in this area.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:22 AM
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city hassels

Be glad you don't live in Calif !! some cities have ordinances about working on your cars in a residential zone, even in your garage with the door down. I had a friend in Calid. that bought the old blacksmith shop and one acre of fruit trees, a few years later the land around him was developed with 6 houses to the acre. He had a tow truck and worked on his cars behind his 8 ft fence. He had 4 cars parked outside the fence next to the street. He came back after a tow job and they were gone. He had one friendly neighbor who came over and told him the tow company that pulled out the cars. He called the tow company and he knew the driver . City ordered tow. He called the police to report auto theft.. the city claimed they were abandoned, on city property, He explained that the fence was not the property line and that all 4 cars were licensed and insured but didn't have plates on them because plates with new tags had been stolen before, When he wanted to drive one of the cars he would clip on the plates. the cop that wrote the tow ticket did not run any Vin numbers. He called back the tow driver and told him the city would be calling him to bring them back but to let the air out of a tire on each car so he could charge the city $75 each way instead $ 40. In some cities in Calif the antique and car club guys don't let the city officials ride in their old cars for the parades because of their policies,
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:30 AM
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budget cuts

When you call for a building inspection. the inspector will try to find something minor. Then he will have to make a return trip, something to keep everyone busy so they don't get laid off. Someone missed about 10 nails in a sheet of plywood. the inspector wanted a return visit, cost $ 100. I had a guy there in 30 seconds to finish. In the old days you knew the inspector and they said fix that and left. sometimes stopping by on the way home with out charge. As long as you did that they trusted you and no extra city charges.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:44 AM
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I would begin by getting a copy of the code requirements that is being used to determine you are in violation.

Without this piece of info, you will never know where you actually stand, or exactly what the letter of the law is- nor how exactly to go about fixing things. I'd seriously make this job #1.

I received a similar letter two years ago, concerning my property in FL. The letter (w/8X10 glossy photographs...) said I was in violation because I had a truck- sitting in the uncovered carport beside the house- with a freaking flat tire!

I got the info I needed to determine that by pushing the truck off of the slab and into the backyard, behind the plane of the house's back wall, that I was now in accordance w/the law.

Your situation probably won't be so easily rectified, but I did find that talking to this yahoo face to face did WONDERS to the deadlines, etc. Suddenly it was all like "yeah, get it done when you get the opportunity, I won't be citing you now that we've talked and I know you're on it."

Good luck!
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:59 AM
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This is EXCELLENT advice!


Quote:
Originally Posted by cobalt327
I would begin by getting a copy of the code requirements that is being used to determine you are in violation.

Without this piece of info, you will never know where you actually stand, or exactly what the letter of the law is- nor how exactly to go about fixing things. I'd seriously make this job #1.

I received a similar letter two years ago, concerning my property in FL. The letter (w/8X10 glossy photographs...) said I was in violation because I had a truck- sitting in the uncovered carport beside the house- with a freaking flat tire!

I got the info I needed to determine that by pushing the truck off of the slab and into the backyard, behind the plane of the house's back wall, that I was now in accordance w/the law.

Your situation probably won't be so easily rectified, but I did find that talking to this yahoo face to face did WONDERS to the deadlines, etc. Suddenly it was all like "yeah, get it done when you get the opportunity, I won't be citing you now that we've talked and I know you're on it."

Good luck!
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Old 02-22-2010, 02:08 PM
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Yes, very important to know the rules...

I was under the gun like this when I had a bunch of cars lined up against my side fence on a 1-acre homesite here in Australia back about 27 years ago. The law related to 'unsightly conditions' and the real clincher was 'able to harbour vermin'.

I fought it all, first by mail. They'd give me a deadline, I'd write a letter, they'd come and inspect (I never seemed to be around when they did)... and it all boiled down to a neighbour complaining. Yet just up the road was a friend of the Shire President, his yard was loaded down with stuff he took home from the local rubbish tip. If there were ever any complaints against him, they weren't acted upon.

Some points we can use in defence are 'hobbies' and being able to get cars up and mow around them so the vermin can't nest in there.

In my case, the task got a lot harder when I nominated for election to the local Council. From that moment I was a wanted man! They launched a court case against me (which they lost) the day I put the nomination in.

In the end, everything went to the Supreme Court in our state. I was actually disposing of a lot of the cars by then and the only reason I didn't meet the deadline (a couple of days before the court hearing) was because the wrecker's truck didn't turn up on time as he'd promised. The cars were lined up across the front of the yard ready to go, but in court they were claiming I was snubbing them.

I still had to contend with other stuff, though. Stuff I wanted to keep. The Act under which they operate is annoyingly permissive to them. "The Council may..." is a common phrase throughout. In other words, the Council could pick and choose who it persecuted.

But even in the parts where it gave the Council power to clean up your yard and take the stuff away, it never gives the Council ownership of that stuff. I seized upon this in court (unrepresented, of course) and in pointing it out I said that I would demand that my goods be put in a safe place, that I have 24/7 access to them and that I be compensated for my travel and time obtaining such access.

This was never tested, but it would have been interesting.
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Old 02-22-2010, 03:35 PM
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Funny....They call it an eye sore but add a registration and some plates and all of a sudden its not an eyesore anymore.
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Old 02-22-2010, 03:49 PM
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Yes, that's true... but that's not as hard to take as the singling out of individuals while others nearby are the same or worse...

It struck me as interesting one day back in 1996... I was the Press Liaison man on a charity event that travelled into the edge of the famous 'outback' here.

Going into a tiny town on the New South Wales/Queensland border, where there were maybe six or ten homes, a general store with a fuel bowser or two and a little cafe on the side. The cafe was on a concrete slab at ground level in a lean-to kind of addition to the main building, very basic, though clean and acceptable.

But looking around at the houses you saw the signs of dust storms and so on, soil mounding up alongside the walls and fences. And there were old cars in the yards and adjoining paddocks, not a lot of them, but they were there, and obviously many of them were specifically 'spares cars'... cars kept to provide spares for the family car.

I thought at the time of the difference between that town, called Berrigan, and where I lived in suburbia. A trailer left on the front lawn, registered or not, was the cause of contention. And a car in the backyard was a reason for distress in the neighborhood.

Give me the freedom of the country!
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