Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Standard-Examiner: Ogden City Cites Children's Box Fort As Junk Violation - Updated

The quirkiest local story since 2012, when "Goat Man" was spotted roaming the hillsides above North Ogden

In the interest of provoking a wee bit of  ever-friendly Weber County Forum discussion, we'll shine the spotlight on a Sunday Standard-Examiner story which is developing a whole robust online life of it's own.

Here's the lead, folks:
OGDEN — Jeremy Trentelman wasn’t thinking about violating any municipal codes when he helped his 3-year-old build a major box fort in their front yard last weekend, but apparently someone else did.
When Trentelman got home from work Wednesday he had a notification on his door that he was in violation of Ogden City’s code 12-4-2: Waste Materials or Junk; prohibited on premises. The prohibition covers junk or salvage material, litter and/or any abandoned or inoperable vehicle. In the notification Trentelman was told he had 15 days to get the boxes off his lawn or he could be charged $125 with the first violation (after the 15 days) with fees and legal actions proceeding from there.Code enforcement officer Gordon Sant issued the notification. “I’m going to send him a letter, but I haven’t been able to get myself calmed down enough about it to do it,” Trentelman said.
Read Rachel Trotter's full SE writeup, peeps:
Since the original SE story appeared, Utah media have jumped on it (with both feet):
And just like so many other stories emphasising abject Utah "silliness," the story's drawn it's fair share of national attention too:
Here's the specific language of the above-cited ordinance:
A. Prohibition: It is unlawful for any owner, occupant, agent or lessee of real property within the city, to allow, cause or permit the following material or objects to be in or upon any yard, garden, lawn, or outdoor premises of such property:
1. Junk or salvage material;
2. Litter;
3. Any abandoned vehicle or inoperable vehicle.
Our take? What we're dealing with here is cleverly and lovingly  crafted "folk-art," at the very least; and this above-pictured "kids' play fort" thus does not reasonably fit any of the conditions prohibited by this particular Ogden City ordinance. These distinctions are merely academic, of course, inasmuch as Mr. Trentelman indicates he'll be compliantly removing this clever edifice "within fourteen days."

So what do you think, folks?  Tempest in a teapot; or yet another obnoxious example of perfunctory regulatory overreach by a cold-hearted Ogden City government?

One thing's for sure:  This has to be the quirkiest local story since 2012, when "Goat Man" was spotted roaming the hillsides above North Ogden, yes?

Update 4/8/15 8:30 a.m.:  Strong editorial from the Standard-Examiner keeps this story rollin':
Jeremy Trentelman chimes in with his own 2¢:
Update 4/8/15 8:35 a.m.: There's more grist for the discusion mill with this morning's hot-off-the-press SE story:
Mayor Mike Caldwell: “I remember building forts with my friends as a kid. It’s healthy for a child’s imagination to get away from their electronic devices for a while and use their imagination to create something. I’m glad to see that kids still want to play with the cardboard box.” 
Greg Scothern, Building Manager for Ogden City: “I don’t think our code enforcement officer would have issued the warning if the box fort was complete. At the time he visited the property it looked like a bunch of boxes.”
Read up:
High time to formally rescind the City's heavy-handed demand letter, wethinks...


James F. said...

It was picked up on the Today Show and how dumb it was presented. Said the dad should be Father of the year.

Ozboy said...

Had this occurred during the Godfreyite's reign, they woulda slapped an RDA on it and issued several million bucks in bonds with the tax payers being on the hook to pay it back.

Michael T. said...

As a former Building Inspector for the City of Alamosa, CO, back in the 1980s, I came across this cardboard structure. Initially, I thought, some sort of prank. However, I saw-wow- some political issue. Clearly, it is not a dwelling- no 200 electrical Amp Service noted, no plumbing vents to suggest that a water or sewer tap was issued or applied for, no 8 foot walls, ingress and egresses not noted at 6 ft.- 8 inches, the list goes on. Not my business, but the Building Department really has no say about playhouses, play equipment, except -of course- if it was located on a public-right-away!

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