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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After having my garage in city limits for just about 4 years now we are to the point where if we get another nastygram from the city for junk or a dismanlted vehicle it comes with a $500 ticket. I know i'm a slob and deserve some of this but i'm trying to educate my self and use the law to my advantage. I've never really read through city codes/ laws and don't know where to find things.

Here's our community development city code web site http://www.mqtcty.org/departments/community/code.htm

I have found the 2 laws that we violate (not really that important to read)

26.16 Prohibited Accumulations.
It shall be unlawful for any person to accumulate or permit the accumulation on any yard,
alley, vacant lot or other spaces in the City of any lumber, boxes, barrels, bricks, stone, scrap
metal, motor vehicle bodies or parts, or similar materials, or rubbish or any articles or junk,
except as may be necessary and incidental to construction work or the normal course of a
business or trade.

26.17 Storage of Unlicensed Vehicles.
No person in charge or control of any property within the City of Marquette, whether as owner,
tenant, occupant, lessee or otherwise, shall allow any partially dismantled, nonoperating,
wrecked, or junked vehicle on any property within the City for a period in excess of one week;
provided, however, that this ordinance shall not apply to said motor vehicles which are stored
in an enclosed building or vehicles on the premises of a business enterprise that stores or repairs
such vehicles.

I understand the accumlation of junk one. I have a question about the dismantled/ junk vehicles, the zoning nazi lady that takes pictures/ writes tickets said if she drives by she is just going to give us a ticket for junk vehicles, pretty much we can't work on them out side. According to that law we have a week to fix what we need to fix. How do we prove this and avoid tickets besides not working on junk?

Where do i look to find the fine schedule and laws, the laws about working on a vehicle on your own property, and if there are any ammendments to those laws?

thanks,
andy
 

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Speak to someone on the code board about your project. Sometimes you can have one "project vehicle" (non running, not insured/ reg) but you must have a form fitting car cover (READ: NO TARPS) covering it. And it can't be visible from the street (behind house). I'd also look at buying a shed to store your parts in - it's cheaper than the $500 fine.

It's the standard 'no junk' codes. We call them the Fred Sanford codes.

If you stop by city hall and find the code enforcement office - they can supply you with a set of the codes and the enforcement procedures.

Either you have angered the code officer or one of your neighbours dislikes your style.
 

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When I lived in Wisconsin I was:
  • Working on the CJ
  • Had a CJ7 fiberglass body fenders/hood/grill sitting in the driveway under a tarp
  • Working on two 91 Caravans with transmission problems
  • Had a GM Storm one daughter drug home for free... but never worked on and,
  • A daughter's Ford LDTII that I was giving the death sentence to...
  • I could only put one in the garage.
A new community officer had been hired and was riding with a police officer to get to know the city. They came by my house and saw the vehicles. Three were being worked on and two were DOA and would never move again. They stopped and I was told that I had two weeks to fix 'em, license 'em (Not running vehicles were not tabbed to save money), sell 'em or move 'em out of the city limits or into storage out of view. This had nothing to do with the neighbors. They would often walk by and inquire how the latest project was going. Even the motel across the street was supportive. But the law was the law. I talked to the city attorney and he said that he could give me an extension. Baring a change in the law I had no recourse but the options given. So, I had the two DOA cars removed to my favorite junk yard. The Jeep and two Caravans were licensed for the year... and the fiberglass body was soon put on the CJ.

Problem solved. Total cost was about $80 (which hurt!) to update licenses. It was cheaper than a fine, or having the city come and help me get rid of the vehicles to their storage site... and charge me a daily fee as well as the removal fee.

The moral of the story is don't take things personal... it's the law, and if you can't change it then you must abide by it.
 
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I concure with West....
In most cases, they don't take action like issuing a cite unless someone complains or the city decides to 'clean up' it's image.....

In most cases, you will find they are reasonable (if behave that way as well) when it comes to how long a veh is on your lot....A week is not unreasonable to effect a repair...soem take longer....but if it's a customer car, you will have a work order and the veh will be registered.

It might be time to expand the building or move....

Lets just say it's a good thing my garage is detached and in the back of the yard with a 6' wooden gate hiding all of my 'projects'....
 

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Consider yourself screwed!

As I keep pointing out, government is a big problem. Government has been given way too much power AND we have given it the power to give itself more power. Government officials like having this power to feel superior to the lowly citizens.

Read the above until you understand it. It’s important.

Now as to your problem, what the law says doesn’t make any difference. They have you on the defensive and they will keep you there. In order to fight your case, you would incur huge attorney fees. The city has attorneys on staff with nothing else to do but to handle these cases.

If you want to be a little more specific in the area of your particular problems, we might be able to help.

You quote section 26.17 Storage of Unlicensed Vehicles. If the vehicle is licensed, that section does not apply but you still may have problems. Here, the law says that licensed vehicles must be operable. Can you put the vehicle in the garage? If not, how bad do you want to keep it? Is this your Jeep or a parts vehicle? If you really want to keep it, you could build a shed around it but don’t forget to get a building permit. Do you have a trailer? You could build an enclosure to go on the trailer that could also be removable. Put the vehicle in the enclosed trailer and it’s no longer a problem.

Same thing with the “junk”, get it enclosed in a shed or an enclosed trailer or some type of rolling bin. Generally speaking, if an enclosure doesn’t have wheels, you need a building permit to erect it. If it “looks” like it could be towed on the highway, it needs to conform to the laws of licensing a trailer. You need to fall somewhere in between.

The Nazi lady also gave you a hint, “…said if she drives by she is just going to give us a ticket for junk vehicles …” Get them to where they can’t be seen from the street when she drives by.

It’s also a good bet that the city didn’t just decide to hassle you, somebody, probably a neighbor made a complaint.
 

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You like junk vehicles, and one of your neighbors doesn't. Imagine if one of your neighbors liked hogs and decided to put a hog lot next door to you. You'd probably/might find it offensive and call in a complaint. Same thing, possibly exaggerated somewhat.
 

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Talk to the Code Enforcement office. You don't have to identify yourself. They'll tell you what the laws are and how you can comply with them.
A new officer is often "Gung Ho" trying to impress someone, talk to someone that's been around longer.

Generally they are trying to keep the area from becoming a huge junkyard. They even have laws that they can use that prohibit too many licensed and operable running vehicles on your property, so it's not limited to junk. They could say it's an unlicensed, unzoned parking lot!

Clean things up as best you can, store the better ones at a storage facility, junk the trash.
Do the best you can.

Above all - be nice - many of the code enforcemet officers are retired cops. Let them know you are trying to cooperate, they'll work with you.

Often laws are written with teeth - but only are really used to the fullest extent when absolutly necessary on the gross violators.

Here - there is a law on the books you cannot park on dirt - and driveways must be paved. It's desert! Almost NOBODY has a paved driveway - few even have a pad to park on! If they wanted they could write thousands of tickets for non-compliance. Ha Ha - Politicians would be swinging on light poles!
 

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Taz has a good point, though you may not need wheels, just a temp garage thing. Oh Taz forgot to remind you to don the tin hat. The government probably read your mind years ago that this is going to happen, and as the government goes, just getting around to it. Put the Tin Hat on Andy, that way they are never really sure what you are up to /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif
 

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The law is irrelevent. If your place looks like a dump, it'll be considered a dump, and people will complain about it.

[ QUOTE ]
I know i'm a slob and deserve some of this...

[/ QUOTE ]

This needs to change.

I've got some experience in this. I live in a cul-de-sac in the burbs. It's one of those story-book neighborhoods where everyone has 2.5 kids, 2 minivans that you never see because they are in the garage, where everyone's house is perfect with a white picket fence and the kids play in the circle at the end of the street. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif

...Except for Pete's house. I have 6 cars and a car trailer, and a 2 car garage. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif But the tarp over my Model A hotrod project is a nice black tarp, with no holes, and it stays on every night. It's only off when I work on it. I don't leave parts out (like overnight) where they are visible from the street, and all of my cars are lined up nicely in the back/side yard. I move my stuff to mow the lawn so the place doesn't look like a dump, and my stacked-up tires are not visible from the street either.

Our house looks very respectable. It's all about appearances. If you have a neat tarp over your project, and no parts all over the place, it looks better. If you have a taken apart car out in the rain, and parts all over the place, a jug of antifreeze you didn't put away....

Well, you get the idea.

It's politics. What the Law is dosn't matter.

Good luck
Pete
 

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If it's an "outbuilding" like a shed, towns have special ordinances regarding them. Foundation, location on property and number of sheds comes to mind.

So before you erect some type of storage shed, check those regs also. Don't compund your problem any more than you need to. If you need more time, rent a space at a self storage facillity.

It's a hassle, but usually they are for the good of the hood. Takes a lot of pressure of joe homeowner when they have issues with the neighbor's collection of dead lawnmowers, etc.

Most ordinances are passed because people just do not know how to be good neighbors.
 

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If you think a neighbor reported you and you think you know who it was (ie they complained to you in the past) then talk to them. Be apologetic, make it clear that you did not mean for your collection to get so big and that you are working to clean it up. Some neighbors will just report you and not complain first, but often there are hints or complants to you before hand. Also Pete is correct if it looks good then no one will think to look into weather it is illegal. Also if any of your neighbors have simmilar yards check if they are having a problem they may have ideas to help. When dealing with the city be as nice as you know how to be, if they like you they will not wish to right you a ticket.
 

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And if you find out who ratted ya out... get some catnip spray and spray it all over, under around their cars ever other night, or so. You'll accomplish two things:
  • Drive 'em nuts
  • Rid the neighborhood of feral cats
and have hoot watching their driveway become a litter box.

Then you can turn them in for having too many cats (get photos)or animal cruelty (get photos). /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif
 

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had the same problem. I was calling the code enforcement office about every hour when i would come up with a new idea to solve both our problems (clean up junk and cost me as little as possible). Only thing that worked was one of those mobile storage units (they look like semi trailers). Had to be under 175 sq. feet and be on a driveway surface, but ended up being cheaper than renting a storage unit somewhere else. The best part, the storage unit looks like complete crap, way worse than my neatly organized jeep parts under tarps, but they cant do anything about it since it meets all codes. Most cities i know run regular sweeps of the city to look for violations. Just make sure whatever you do will completely meet their codes, or you stand to get more fines.
 

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I agree with contacting the code enforcement office and cooperating with them as much as possible. Make an appointment for them to stop by and go through what they perceive the violations to be one by one. Maybe ask for a supervisor's input (in a nice way).

I would shy away from building a shed or shelter right now. Unless your going to get a permit and build it to code, they will likely view it as a quick fix and additional problem for them to contend with.

A lot of times, once you get them there and get to talking they will give you hints on things you can do to squeeze through a loophole while keeping them happy. A privacy fence is probably a realistic option for hiding some of your projects, but schmooze them before you mention it and make sure they know the fence will look good and be maintained and you will keep the fenced area clean while not allowing your projects to breed like rabbits. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
There is some more to the issue.

We have 6 people living in the house and 11 vehicles (not all have been moved here yet), 6 daily drivers and 5 trail rigs. Everything is plated/ insured or has an orv sticker. Everything looks like it runs/ drives.

There is a realestate agent/ company that manges our house, the apartments across the street. My dad has given him enough in comissions to probably put his kids through college and i'm sure the managment cut he gets for managing my dad's properties pay his mortgage. He hates us because his tennants complain about our junk and he thinks our wheelers are ugly. There are times when it has been decent looking over here and other times it looks like crap.

I have gone and talked to the zoning nazi a couple times, she knows who i am. She is new to the job and she has started to make a name for her self as a complete hard @ss and lots of people are sick of her. She isn't really helpful.

We have cleaned up our property now,there's 1 pile of scrap that needs to go to the scrap yard, it had moved from where it was to a nice pile to get hauled, and there's 1 trailer the zoning nazi said is fine we are going to move out of site of the apartments. He complained about a topper that was in the yard but zoning said it was fine.

We have a storage unit and everything has been moved to it, our yard will be real nice looking once i get to the scrap yard tomorow.
 

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Even if she's a complete hard a$$, she will appreciate the effort. And those other tenants will appreciate it geting cleaned up. The last thing you want is a bunch of neighbors that hate you... even if you have to bend over backwards once in a while.
 

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So what's the problem? Are you upset because the neighbors don't like looking at a dump, but you like living in it?

What neighborhood would like slobs?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Lately (when we got our last ticket) it wasn't any where near as bad as it had been in the past. There was 1 pile of parts stacked on the side of the garage on pallets, an axle up against the back of the shop, 2 or 3 tires leaning up against a trailer, i think that's it. It was pretty presentable compared to how bad it has been in the past. Now i'm just trying to "research" incase we get another ticket.
 

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Andy wait, you're in school right? And you live in a house with a bunch of other people from school? Am I gathering this right?

If that is the case... you are in a real tough position. No matter what, you'll be the "college students" and all preceived (mis)notions that come with that will be riding on your back. I'm sure you already know this.

Yeah, good luck bro. ha ha Been there, done that.
 

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ouch andy....is there no provision in your state for "parts vehicles"?

you may want to look into it, IIRC NH allows one unregistered vehicle per registered vehicle on a persons PRIVATE property(including rentals w/ owners OK)--amazingly enough, we still hold life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness dear over here(although the transplants from our south are starting to threaten that), and we have a high percentage of real, honest to god, do it yourself types

i have been living in a "rooming house" situation for near 8 years now(bout 4 of it was basically a surrogate frat house for daniel webster college in nashua /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif--kept me feelin young ill tell ya/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif)

boils down to just another good reason to live in rural areas

i'd welcome you as a neighbor...mess and all...unlike those types who most likely bring their work to someone else to do...you know who im talking to/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif...nuff said

hope the advise helps and GOOD LUCK
 
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