We unexpectedly received a letter at the end of last week informing us that we were in violation of local municipal codes. As it turns out, there are rules requiring that all trees with branches that extend out over local sidewalks be trimmed to a certain height (7 ft), which one of ours in the backyard apparently was not. Thankfully, My Prince was able to promptly correct that problem.
The second violation was more of an inconvenience: city codes require that all vehicles be stored on “improved” surfaces only… i.e. we are not allowed to park our RV in the backyard, or even on the side of our driveway. All wheels must be resting on concrete. Which means the RV now takes up the bulk of our driveway.
That’s annoying, but not the end of the world. It’s also got us headed to the city codes website to find out what else no one thought to tell us about. As a writer, and as someone who has dealt with things like codes and legal requirements before in my grant writing days, I am thoroughly unimpressed by the city’s attempts to communicate the situation. The letter was half unintelligible, they didn’t answer their phones, and the emails My Prince got in response when he attempted to reach out were basically functional but not particularly helpful.
Considering how easy it would be to hand/mail out simple pamphlets to the new owners every time a home is sold, none of this should have had to be a surprise. Moreover, if you want people to comply, communicating clearly is of paramount importance. None of that is actually my problem, however – just one more lament about the inefficiencies of the world.
The situation has gotten us thinking about what changes we’ll make down the line, however. With these new considerations, redoing the driveway and possibly the garage have bumped up the list from minor convenience to a bigger deal. Thus I’ve added researching driveways, garages, fencing, and stamped concrete to my long-term to-do list. We’re unlikely to find any deals as sweet as what we got for the solar, but there’s no harm in looking at options and getting informed before we have to make decisions!