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Greedy City (would you let them take your money?)

Updated on September 7, 2012
Greed | Source

So over two years ago after buying a car I realized that I really needed a garage. The winters here can sometimes be quite harsh and so I thought about building a garage onto my house but as it turns out it would have bee quite costly building, getting the permits. Also of course when you make changes to your building or property the city is just waiting like ravenous dogs to jack your property taxes as high as they can. Considering this I decided to purchase a tent garage.

I erected the metal frame and stretched the tarp over the frame. It wasn't perfect but for two winters it kept the snow and elements off of my car and kept it in great condition. However less than a week ago I received a letter from the city threatening the following:

"Dear Sir"

"It has been observed that you have erected an automotive shelter at the above property. As you may or may not be aware, automotive shelters such as this one are treated as accessory buildings and can only be situated in side and rear yards. Also, these structures must be located at minimum three (3) meters from any other structure and any property line. If you would like to situate the automotive shelter closer to another structure or a property line, a building permit will be required."

"At this time we are asking that the automotive shelter be moved to a proper location, be taken down or that the required permit be obtained. A re-inspection of this property will take place on or about April 23, 2012 to ascertain compliance. Failure to comply will put the City in the position to take legal action."

"If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact me."

"Yours truly, blah blah blah...."

Now I'm not one to be bullied. I don't accept their explanation that a tent should be considered a building and that I should have to acquire a building permit which is something you'd normally need if you were actually constructing an actual building with a foundation, solid walls and a roof. Situating the tent garage anywhere else would be impossible as I'm sure the person writing this letter knew. On the street where I live the houses are too close together for me to put it in my yard between my house and the next one over and have fifteen feet on each side. Putting it in the rear of my yard would make it inaccessible for my car.

In the long run I may take the garage down as it is spring and it has endured a lot of wear and tear over the past two years. It has served it's time. But it bothers me that when it gets close to next winter I am barred from erecting a new tent.

This is a tent, not a building, I shouldn't have to pay the city to put up a tent on my own property. They are simply over reaching in a greedy attempt to extort as much money as possible from it's residents and I am not impressed. Nor will I forget this issue. Tell me what you think about this below. Maybe you've experienced this yourself but is it right?

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    • gregas profile image

      Greg Schweizer 5 years ago from Corona, California.

      Hi Terrek, I lived in California and I am now living in Colorado. I know that when I was in Cal., I ran into a similar situation, only industrial. I know housing codes are different. My situation was that I wanted to build a cover over our hazardous waste area. They said I would need a building permit and sprinkler system IF the cover was attached to the main building, which sounded rediculous, but we built it with a 1" gap and it was OK. As for housing building codes, they can be just as rediculous and a lot depends on neiborhood codes too. Some neiborhoods are overly concerned about keeping the areas uniform and neat. I know that when I lived in a mobilehome park in California we had to get a building permit to REPLACE a carport or patio cover or to install a new one. Not that this probably helps, but it really all depends on where we live. Also, I would go on the Internet and research the building codes and make sure. Greg

    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      gregas - I suppose local government can be pretty nasty when it comes to charging for every possible thing they can think of. I keep wondering when they are going to tax the air we breathe. But all kidding aside I suppose before I do anything I will look up the local laws and make my decisions from now on.

    • Barnsey profile image

      Barnsey 5 years ago from Happy Hunting Grounds

      The Government invents literally thousands of new, petty laws each year. They do this hoping to catch us napping so they can take more of our money from us. They are all hurting because their salaries are so high by now they'll do anything to keep their non-job.

      I once had my heating and Ac system replaced. The old heater and ac were a lot of metal scrap that any scrapper would take for free. The counnty demanded we pay them $300 to remove the junk. The heating and AC company laughed and explained that the county pulls this on everyone! I laughed and said they could kiss my Ass. I called a guy I knew to be a scrapper and had him come over and take all the stuff away. The county was so offended, they spat and sputtered when we explained it had already been taken care of. Bottom line, rather than anyone taking a paycut, which is sorely needed for these suits who get pensions for life after a single term, they pick and scrape at the everyman. Great hub and I say put it back up for the winter. By the time they realize you did it you can take it back down for the spring.

    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      Barnsey - way to stick it to the man, I'm sure you've got better things to do with $300 than give it to them. You are right about them figuring it out too, the letter they sent me sounded like they thought I just put up the tent garage when it had been there more than two years. So we'll see. Thanks for commenting :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      So sorry. They make new rules every year in order to obtain money to run the government, local or not. We have to pay a backflow pool check each year which is not really necessary, but it goes to fund some type of activity (maybe the annual holiday party?).

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      City laws vary. A former co-worker of mine, whose elderly mother lived in a home in a nearby section of the city, where she was served with a warning to remove the weeds from the strip of ground in the middle of her driveway. She was threatened with a ridiculously costly fine if she did not comply. Begrudgingly, she had the weeds banished.

      The company I worked for was a small, commercial electrical company that had a fleet of small trucks that the foreman drove. One of the electicians parked his company vehicle off street. As the receptionist, I started getting calls from an elderly woman in the neighborhood, who stated a subdivision law about parking and threatened to call the police and report her grievance if it wasn't moved. The electrician then rearranged family parking arrangements to accommodate the work truck in his driveway. Then, the complainer insisted the truck be parked inside the garage, despite the fact that the garage would not accommodate the size of the truck. The neighbor did call the police, and the matter was resolved with the worker parking one street over were it was then legally parked! Unfortunately, where government is concerned, logic is not relevant!

    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      teaches12345 - such is our lot in life I suppose government reigns supreme and whatever reason they come up with we must pay. They say the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away but that can be applied to the government as well but I would say their more akin to the devil than god.

    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      Amy Becherer that is for sure. I can't understand why it wasn't fine if it was in the driveway. Some neighbors need to learn to mind their own business. Thanks for commenting. I see I'm not the only one seeing problems like these.

    • Rusti Mccollum profile image

      Ruth McCollum 5 years ago from Lake Oswego, Oregon

      Wow you are right the city's up everyones bottoms these days.Sorry my friend.

    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      Rusti Mccollum - thanks for the support, I guess my situation is partially showing things that are part of the economic meltdown too. They are over reaching for any money they can get.

    • picklesandrufus profile image

      picklesandrufus 5 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

      Ridiculous. Do you think someone complained about your tent cover to the city and they responded in this manner. If not, your town needs to get a life for they are scraping the bottom of the barrel! So sorry.

    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      picklesandrufus - I agree, they really do need to get a life. I wonder as well if someone said something, some people can be like that, but I'm not sure. Thanks for reading and commenting, I appreciate it :)

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      that sounds like Northern Virginia.. there were so many rules there I felt like I was in a police state. I live in Tennessee now in the country and there are not all the rules. I feel sorry for you.. I don't know if you can fight it.. but i guess you can try.


    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      Deborah Brooks - it seems that the more we progress into the future the more we pay for it. But you may be right. But if I hope for change instead of trying to stand up to it I think it may never change, at least not for the better. Thanks for reading and commenting :)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      They get you one way or another; one man's tent is another man's garage! I realize building codes started as protection but they seem to be going too far!

    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 4 years ago from North America

      tillsontitan - true, I think the building codes were started for good reasons too but these days they seem more about pinning people down and making every personal freedom a cost.

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