If you are a car person – or just want to be able to park your car in your own damned driveway – be sure you read the fine print before you buy a house in a neighborhood that has an HOA.
Or – worse – peculiar zoning ordinances.
But even if you do read them, it may not matter. Because the rules can change at any time – and when that happens, your choices boil down to obey – and pay.
For instance, this:
A local news affiliate in Cobb County, Georgia (see here) covered the saga of the Oviedo family, well-scrubbed and extremely middle-class. The family was targeted by local code enforcement bureaucrats (remember BTK?) for having “too many” cars parked in their own driveway.
How many is “too many”?
Four, as it turns out.
The county passed an “open space community” zoning ordinance after the Oviedo family bought their house. Faster than you can say ex post facto, it became an offense – punishable – for any homeowner to have more than two cars parked outside.
The idea being to “encourage” people to not own cars at all – by making it a hassle to own them.
It wasn’t that the cars were parked on the lawn.
Nor that they were parked on the street, in front of the house, on the road – which might be a reasonable restriction or at least, not an affront to the concept of private property – because the street is public property.
The “open spaces” code applies to the Oviedos’ own driveway.
The one they paid for.
Probably having done so on the wild and crazy theory that they’d be able to actually use the driveway they paid for.
The cars were not unsightly “clunkers,” either. One might see reason in that. If we were talking, say, about a primered ’86 Monte Carlo perpetually perched on jackstands, rivulets of oil streaming down the driveway and into the street, open headers fired up at 11 at night.
Something like that, perhaps.
But the two over the limit cars – which belong to the Oviedo’s college-age children, home for the summer – are late-model, not primered and as well-scrubbed as the family itself. One car is a late-model VW Golf, the other a late model Toyota Corolla.
It wasn’t a case of an eyesore or nuisance or expired tags, even.
Just “too many” cars.
“Sustainability,” you see. That’s the subtext.
An anonymous tip from a local Clover sicced the code enforcement bureaucrats on the Oviedos. They immediately faced enormous fines for “noncompliance.” Which amounted to telling the Oviedos that their children could no longer spend summer break at their parents’ house.
Or at least, making it difficult (and very expensive) for them to do so.
The county relented a little after media coverage ginned up a kerrfuffle and told the Oviedos that they could file an affidavit with them attesting that their kids’ cars were only going to be parked their temporarily (during summer break) in which case the county would “give them a break” on enforcing the code.
All they had to do was pay the county $150 to file the affidavit – plus pay for a “current boundary survey,” which the county says would cost about $1,500-$2,000.
Mind, this is merely to avoid being fined for now – and potentially, dragged away in cuffs and (ultimately) have their house sold off by the county (in the event the Oviedos committed the hideous crime of ignoring the ordinance and not paying the fines) … all because they let their kids park their own cars on – ahem, er – “private” property.
Property which the Oviedos paid for – including the perpetual taxes thereon.
All the burdens of ownership – without the perks!
Which is what it’s coming down to in red giant stage America. A red giant is a sun on the verge of going supernova – or collapsing in on itself and becoming either a black hole or a crisped out cinder of its former self. Its main fuel (hydrogen) spent, it burns other, less (and less) fissionable elements until – at last – there is no longer anything left to burn.
America is a red giant.
The liberty that was its fuel for so many generations is virtually spent. There is no longer any aspect of our lives not subject to interferences, orders, micromanagement… and ultimately, punishment. Not because of a harm caused. But only because someone else doesn’t like whatever it is you’re doing and wants you to stop doing it – or wants you to do something else.
Can you think of one?
What does it say about “our freedoms” – which we’re told constantly are being “fought for” even as they are systematically being taken away – when a family is not allowed to let their own kids (or hell, whomever they damed well please) park in their own damned driveway?
A great deal, actually.
Our freedoms are nullities. We exist on sufferance. There is nothing that’s off limits. No tiny corner of peace where we may rest secure in the knowledge that no one may interfere with us – under color of law, at least. It brings to mind the rape scene in Deliverance, when rabid hillbilly number one tells John Voight’s character: “If we want your money, we’ll take your money. Now get up against that tree.”
Think about that – and the Oviedos – the next time you see some flag-waver warbling about “our freedoms.”
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I am a resident of Cobb County, mentioned in this blog post. Here are links to two separate articles that concern that subject of this blog post; they both made the front page of the local newspaper within the past week.
On Oct. 24, 2015: http://www.mdjonline.com/view/full_story/26925937/article-Cobb-takes-second-look-at-residential-driveway-parking-limits?
On Oct. 28, 2015: http://www.mdjonline.com/view/full_story/26929919/article-Cobb-to-give-residents-a-pass-on-residential-driveway-parking-limits?
I’ve lived in Cobb for about twelve years. I remember news articles from several years back about an ordinance being put into place which restricts the number of unrelated persons living under the same roof. The two articles linked above refer to “single-family houses being turned into boarding houses or arrangements where groups of students live together.” But at the time the ordinance was under consideration, there was a hue and cry from local Hispanic community spokespeople about allegedly racist white county leaders directing the ordinance against *them.*
(I learned many years back that Hispanics, particularly immigrants, have a much greater tendency than do other ethnic groups to place under the same roof many folks who are related. Say, two men, and their wives, and all related kids.)
The Oveida family, mentioned in this blog post, is not mentioned in the articles.
The folks in this neighborhood may simply want to force a zoning change of their area to one more in agreement with how they actually live
“• Single-Family Dwelling Unit
A dwelling unit consists of one or more rooms which are arranged, designed or used as living quarters for one family including up to one unrelated adult, or two or fewer unrelated adults and their children and/or grandchildren.
(1) A dwelling unit shall have an interior bathroom and complete kitchen facilities, permanently installed.
(2) A dwelling unit shall have at least 390 square feet of living building square footage (as determined and maintained in the records of the Cobb County Tax Assessor) per each adult occupant.
(3) No more than one vehicle per 390 square feet of living building square footage may be parked regularly overnight on the property upon which the dwelling unit exists. Of the total number of vehicles allowed per 390 square feet of living building square footage, there may be a maximum of 3 or less cars parked outside of the garage, carport or the like for property zones RA-5, R-15 and R-20; a maximum of 4 or less cars for properties zones R-30 and R-40; and maximum of 5 or less for properties zones R-80 and RR. Other zoning districts used for single-family dwelling units shall have no more than two vehicles parked outside. This includes vehicles parked within the right-of-way adjacent to the building. “Regularly” means a majority of days in a seven day period. Exceptions to this definition may be considered as part of a land use permit processed in accordance with section 134-36. Family means one or more persons related by blood, legal adaption, or marriage occupying a dwelling where such persons are all related to each other within the fourth degree, which means parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren, brother and sisters.
Adult means any person over the age of 18 years old or legally emancipated in the State of Georgia.”
Why should they have to force a ‘zoning change’? Why not a zoning elimination?
The control freaks have declared war on you, why engage in a guerilla war against their property that you might just be able to win?
Just received a mailout from ASF and found something disturbing. For lack of a better option I put it here. ASF (Aussie Speeding Fines) is a site that sells an e-book on fines and shows how to eliminate them.
Imagine if these situations were left uncontested. I was in Germany on holiday ans a child in 1974, where on practically every corner, some costumed goons demanded our “papers”. I thought I was in East Germany, not full-blown Russia.
Yep. Flat-out Communism is the desired direction, where cops can search and trash your house at whim, take what they like, not even requiring reasonable suspicion of anything. Fight it at all costs.
* – The quote was my reply to ASF.
I saw that too Rev. I’m a member of ASF, created in response to the rapacious raping of the Australian people by their equally rapacious gov’ts. I fight infringement notices now, and have had some success. Have also helped others out to defeat and nullify tax frauds conducted by gov’ts.
Excellent to5. I recently helped a new friend in my smallish town of Albury get off a camera ticket without court. Ziggy Zapata who runs the CARR website (www.carr.org.au) referred him to me since he was local. It’s a good feeling. You might also have heard of http://www.knowyourrightsgroup.com.au that’s a great resource.
The more we know and exercise our rights, the more pseudo-power we take from them.
Land of the Free.
I know that bc its in the national anthem. And don’t you dare question that either.
America is dead. Died a very long time ago. I hold the theory that Thomas Jefferson actually killed himself after witnessing the gradual decline of his great experiment.
Sorry, I can’t figure out how to cut and paste this, and I’m too tired tonight to type it out, but if you get a chance, read Penn Jillette’s short commentary on taxation and charity.
Why not park one or two of the cars in the garage? Or is that too obvious. Being in New Zealand, where such actions are unheard of the officiousness of US bureaucrats continues to surprise me.
The entire city of Pasadena has an ordinance against parking cars on the street overnight in a residential neighborhood. I was moving to the Los Angeles area and hadn’t gotten a place to live, yet. A friend of mine who lived in Pasadena offered to let me stay with him for free until I found a place of my own. Of course, this meant that I had to add my car to his that had to be parked the driveway. The problem with this was that this property contained a house in front, that he was renting, and a mother-in-law house in the back where the woman who owned BOTH houses lived. And there was very little room for parking, which meant that both my friend’s car and mine were an obstacle for the woman’s getting in and out, which I appreciated could be a serious inconvenience for her. But my friend would go to work extremely early in the morning and the woman never really wanted to go anywhere (if at all) until late in the day, and I agreed to take my car out of the driveway when my friend did with hopes of not inconveniencing the woman at all.
Unfortunately, she was a witch of a landlady who really disliked the fact that my car was in that driveway AT ALL and I wasn’t having to pay anything for the privilege. She was angry that I was getting free “sleeping space” in a house she owned, and free shower water, and I, suppose, free toilet water. She threatened to charge my friend extra rent for “the roommate” and for the various “utilities” and “parking” I was using, but he just laughed in her face. If I attempted to do a load of laundry in my friend’s washing machine, she would shut the water off. She would even go through the mail in my friend’s mailbox and pull out and keep all the mail that came to me (since, in her view, my use of the mailbox was illegitimate), which happened to involve her keeping my paychecks that would come every few days for some work I was doing. Once I figured out why I wasn’t getting any paychecks, I threatened to call the cops on her, which is how I finally got my money. All of this was basically based on the inconvenience caused by the parking ordinance; my friend had lived there for years without ever having any problems with the landlady until my car had arrived on the scene.
Dealing with her was so unbearable that I hurried up and got an apartment of my own as quickly as I could to free my friend from harassment. But the experience had soured him on living next to that woman, so he moved out to a house across the street that fortuitously became available. He told me that after he left, she was unable to find another tenant for the house in front, which cut her income down to zero for paying her mortgage and the bank ended up foreclosing on her and she lost the property. Good riddance, in my view, all this was because she was so nasty. But from another point of view, it’s parking ordinances like this that go against how people normally want to live their lives, so instead of making the neighborhood “better”, they actually can cause destructive friction among the neighbors.
It’s like Benjamin Franklin’s story of “for want of a nail” (that causes the soldier’s horse to lose its shoe) “the kingdom was lost”. In this case, because a friend of mine generously helped me for a few weeks which set up a problem “due to this parking ordinance” that ended up for this landlady “her two houses were lost”. So there’s some kind of metaphorical lesson in there, I think
Sorry to be pedantic, but the Sun is running out of fusionable fuel, not fissionable.
Anyway, great post as always.
I live in Warren, MI. We have a gestapo type mayor that actually drives around residential neighborhoods with a team he put together call the Beautification Squad where he targets any yard (front or back) that doesn’t meet his “beauty” standards. Of course, he is the final judge of that! The first time, the owner is warned, the second time he is warned is the last time. The third time they arrive with a landscape crew and “beautify” the property! I kid you not, this is serious. The homeowner is then presented with a landscaping bill that is about 3-4 times what a typical landscaper would charge, at the mayor’s own admission. His words “Either you clean up your yard or we’ll do it for you and believe me, you won’t like what we charge to do it!”
Let me guess- Warren is a City run by democrats.
Well, the mayor is actually a Republican. When it comes to acting like a tyrant, I haven’t noticed a whole lot of difference between the two parties.
there isn’t much difference, maybe a bit of emphasis – You can keep your welfare if you let us have our empire, and vise versa.
You need to watch out when politicians, or, worse yet, their unelected relatives and other hangers on start setting appearance standards. Some of you will be old enough to remember Lady Bird Johnson’s “Campaign to Bootify ‘Murica.”
She urged everyone to plant a tree or a flower or a shrub, and before you know it, we got Bushes inside the White House
Her campaign still costs hell out of Texans. Barditches must grow to the point of full seeding of the plants and wet years like this one have made driving more dangerous since you can’t see around curves or wild animals that would normally have 30 feet or more to cross before getting to the road.
It’s a boon for body shops though……as long as it’s not one of their family members that dies.
We used to peruse junkyards driving by, occasionally finding something. It wasn’t a blight to me but it was to a pols wife and that’s all that matters.
I had a derelict pickup truck in my driveway with no tags. Some nosy person reported it to the county and I was notified that it needed tags or would have to be removed. The county officer told me to put a tarp over it and that was all that was done. Being in New Kent county, Va helped because it is a rural area. Next time, I will move anything like that out of view in the woods.
Again, if it was really your property, what difference would it make? Are they afraid someone will take your pickup off of your property and drive it on their road w/o their permission (license)?
Sorry America, there is no “Lewis Medlock” coming to rescue you.
Zoning laws, including “Historical Preservation Zones,” are proof that private property does not exist.
[…] Read the Whole Article […]
Restrictive covenants are a mess anyway even if they have their purpose, but the ex post facto portion of this outrage is the real grabber.
This is why I defend the Constitution, because even the Articles of Confederation could be abused by those who wished to do do. Local governments can be as despotic as national. Any charter, including that of anarchic libertarianism, if not supported by the people can and likely will be abused and twisted by the cretins who usually rise to power. The only answer is a steady watch on power by an alert, informed, jealous public, and we lack the latter entirely.
Sorry Ross, but post makes no sense what-so-ever. Even the first 3 presidents violated the CONstitution without consequence, and there was no effort by the founders of our federal mafia gang to put teeth into it. It was a farce! The citizens back then were not able to restrain the government because there has never been any such thing as a “Limited Government.” It is long past time for people to stop worshiping the CONstitution, the so-called founding fathers, and Statism.
I would be happy to post links if you or anyone requests them.
Problem is, if no one supports whatever form of government he’s under, then power will be abused. It doesn’t matter if it’s a township, city, county, etc. It won’t matter if it’s the purest libertarianism–let the people’s vigilance go slack, and despotism arises every time.
Thus if we supported the Constitution we would be in fine shape. That people don’t, and as Eric’s article above shows people don’t at all levels of government, then no government or lack thereof will work. We might as well defend what we have. We sure won’t defend any other type of governance either.
I invite you to consider alternative ways of community organization that do not require government force. It has been my observation that people do not need rulers with powers to force compliance at implied gunpoint. Think about your day to day activities. Have you ever found it desirable to force an employer to hire you? If you are an employer: Have you ever found it desirable to force someone to become your employee? Do you have to force cashiers to check you out at counters?
Way back when you were a 4 year old: Would you have felt mollified if someone snatched a whole candy bar from your hands, broke it in half, and gave you back the other half? Even as a toddler you instinctively knew that part of your property had been stolen from you. What has happened since then? The answer is that you and we have been propagandized in government schools into believing that theft and other crimes is acceptable if it had been done by a government pretending to honor the will of the people. Do you remember back when 85% of the people opposed TARP/bankster bailout? CONgress and all presidential candidates except for Ron Paul approved it anyway, and they collectively flipped us the bird!
The CONstitution authorized that travesty under the general welfare clause. It also allows the forced collection of taxes for any reason. The Declaration of Independence states that people have a right and a duty to overthrow a tyrannical government and our forefathers actually committed treason against their then government; yet the constitution allows for the death penalty for “we, the people” for doing the same thing. If we as a people choose to overthrow our tyrannical government, then the constition allows for its laws to be set aside due to insurrection. We have been told that the war was due because of taxation without representation; yet our taxes increased by 300% after the victory, and many soldiers returned home to find out that they were under water in a new property tax bill.
My own favored alternative to our present system is this: We could form voluntary communities of like-minded people. For example: Catholics or Protestants desiring houses with pristine lawns could migrate to communities where there already is a large number of people with the same desires. Catholics or Protestants who do not mind seeing or having cars up on blocks in the yard could likewise form their own communities. Ditto for every other type of community that one may desire. And if we end up with 1000 completely different communities: So what?! All each community would need to do is agree to allow members who have changed their minds to move out, and to not invade neighbors with force. This means that people should actively reject control freaks seeking office which can only happen amongst people who know each other. Natural leaders do exist in every type of profession; but notice that we do not have any natural leaders in our current system. They all come into power by collecting funds from the entrenched financial establishment and by telling us lies convincingly.
The first questions that most people new to libertarian anarchism or anarcho capitalism generally ask is:
1 But who will build the roads? Answer: People who wanted them. Roads predate government. Land owners realized that people need to travel just like themselves, so it became a practice to set aside property boundaries for public travel. No, they didn’t have asphalt back then, but neither did the government.
2. But we need police to protect us from criminals. Answer: The police forces are only here to enforce the will of the ruling class. Without them; the opinions of politicians would only be so much hot air! Sure, a small percentage of officers genuinely do care about us. Consider this: What would you do as an employer of a security company if you found proof that an employee of yours was beating or torturing some of your customers without justifiable cause? My guess is that you would at the very least fire him! Why aren’t there hundreds of firings of officers proven to have been excessively brutal across this country? Because YOUR politicians want them to be that way!
I could go on and on; but I am going to stop here.
Again: I invite you and everyone else to conjure up what a voluntary society based upon the non-aggression principle/natural law would look like.
Not saying it is right or wrong, but its their fault (or anybody else’s that signs on with one) for living anywhere with an HOA. Once you sign that contract, that’s that.
In this case, though, it’s a county ordinance; and it was enacted after these people bought their home.
HOAs usually ban commercial vehicles, sometimes motorcycles.
Though I’ve seen one that banned pickup trucks, don’t ask me why.
Baltimore County in Maryland banned commercial vehicles parked in residential zoning, even if the operator lived at the address and was on 24 hour call. All because a county delegate thought his neighbor’s business truck would lower the property value or some other nonsense.
Maryland is mostly Clover state, and Balt. Co. takes it up an order of magnitude. Along w/Montgomery and Prince Georges counties.
I got an expensive parking ticket for parking a U-Haul truck overnight in a neighborhood in West Los Angeles. Why? “No commercial vehicles may be parked in a residential zone”. But I was helping a friend move out of an apartment, that’s what the U-Haul truck was for (and what they ALL are for)! I HAD to park it on the street (the apartment building she was moving out of had no parking lot), unless after spending all day loading it up I wanted to work all night unloading it at her new apartment, but of course that was in a residential area, as well (besides, I didn’t know of this law and would not have even imagined it).
I fought the ticket, was denied, “the law had been broken”, I appealed, was denied again, “the law had been broken”, but then they had a final, “last chance” appeal process of stating your case before a magistrate; he, finally, had some sense. He laughed at the stupidity of the ticket, apologized to me for all my trouble, and got my fine refunded. A good man, that, and fortunately there are some!
HOA’s can and do ban anything and everything. The biggest problem with them is that they can, and do, change. Some bidniss mindin’ biddy gets elected to the HOA Board, doesn’t like cats, and no one can have an outside cat. Or she can’t stand purple, and that “interesting” looking purple house round the corner suddenly has to be repainted some “approved” colour, never mind it was just repainted the month befor BB was elected to the board. County ordinances passed ex post facto can be dealt with, but CC&R agreements are signed on entry into the community, and most are sighed to be retroactive to include any changes after the entry into the covenant as binding. Ex post facto goes out the window. Check, not all are this way, but enough are to warrant careful inspection.
Personally I will NEVER voluntarily go into an area bound by CC&R’s or a HOA. More then enough gubmint nannying apart from these travesties of law.
I used to live in a neighborhood that had an HOA and it was just as you’ve described. The board always attracts busybody types. And they can (and usually do) make life miserable for everyone.
I once got a warning from one of my town’s heroes, for parking on the street in front of my own house for, get this, facing the wrong direction. I live near the end of a cul de sac, and for my own convenience, when I would get home turn the car around in the circle, so when leaving the next time, not have to turn around. But since I live on the left side of the road, it was verboten.
The reason why? Safety? Nope, since my street has a traffic count of about 10 cars a day. The reason, since Indiana only issues a back license plate, the hero would have to turn his neck slightly to be able to look at my license plate (why he would have to be looking at my license plate, I have no idea). So his “convenience” trumps mine.
One of my neighbors got this warning as well. We ended up reading through the town ordinances but could find no such law again parking against traffic on residential streets. So at the next town council meeting, we told the council that police were ticketing for laws that don’t exist. And that if the police tried to ticket us again, we would sue the town for false arrest.
So far the town has backed down. Most of the neighbors on my block now park in the wrong direction on purpose now.
The think blue line isn’t that thin. Most of the cops in town have very little to do, if they are ticketing stupid things like cars facing the “wrong” direction.
I do this anytime I like, especially to piss them off because my number plate goes nowhere. I did get a fine for it once, but never paid it because I pointed out that our money system in Oz is unconstitutional and therefore would be in breach of the highest law in the land if I did.
Recently we had a stupid road rule introduced in our state where it’s now an “offence” to cross a single solid white line. The cop couldn’t answer why we still had double solid lines, or that if we’re “offending” something or somebody every time we pull into a marked car space or who the feck the “offended” party is. He was a rather angry little man but let me off with a “warning”, so I warned him in return that on-the-spot fines were illegal as per Imperial Acts.
Maybe that’s why he was angry?
It’s just another clever addition where the glorified tax collectors can exploit more revenue.
eric, that sun that’s going down is a bit coincidental to a column by G. North today, a great one since he quotes another author and adds his own views. Both seem to think the sun is about to set. A good read in my view.
Nothing. Changes. Until People FIGHT for it.
Getting worth it to just make examples of several. We’re living “The Walking Dead” and “the Strain,” and no one realizes it.
The zombies/vampires/contagion is all around us, and until we stand up and do what MUST eventually be done anyway….
Well, we’re just targets until then.
Only real option is to make the hunters become prey…
They don’t even need laws to do this, nor HOAs (the example above being county government) They (government, county or city) will make them up as they go along if they have to. I’ve experienced it first hand. They will act our resident troll and just reword the existing laws in their minds until they are applicable.
The goal (besides agenda 21) is to make every little thing require permission. The schools were designed to create permanent children which is why everything follows the model of a four year old asking permission to do every little thing. There’s no need to have some over-arching conspiracy. The right people had this idea over a 100 years ago and implemented their school system. The rest follows along as consequence.
Yeah, I’ve noticed the same thing…
Education, law, etc. – just had to set the ball rolling and allow human (animal) nature to take its course. No conspiracy needed.
Just lazy @$$ crackers…
Best way to “bust” that one wide open is to teach/show your 4 and 5 year olds to not only THINK, but to learn to think AHEAD to the consequences of an action/inaction. Then, to compound the insult to the ruling class, train them to be very articulate in their thinking, to explain to dimwits WHY they favour the ideas they have, or how they developed them. I know five year olds can do this, and its great fun to watch them blow the minds of the ruling elites.
The ruling class wants government to get hold of children at earlier and earlier ages because of this problem. The entire educational system is designed to break that ability to think and see how a feeds into b and so on. They are finding too many kids are already too influenced by parents and relatives before they get them at age 4 or 5 and their solution is to get them earlier. They’ve spent the last few decades perfecting the trap.
There will never be liberty in this country until the people take back the schools. Whatever victories there are for liberty will be short lived so long as those who want to eradicate liberty and manage society have control of the schools.
An excellent reason to steer clear of properties bound with HOA covenants. Buyer beware.
In this case it wasn’t the HOA, it is the county government. Enforcing a “law” passed after the homeowners bought the property.
Time for the residents to challenge that ordinance and rescind it. Then fire their elected officials. All of them. Clean house. Laws like that tend to be attached as a rider on an unrelated action, given an obtuse or misleading title, or voted upon after midnight – pick three. I’m sure there are already laws in place that cover whatever it was the government wants to control. Probably a big wig disliked someone and pinged his paid for representatives to create this ordinance in retaliation.
This ordinance is dumb. A bunch of busy bodies with to much time on their hands worried that someone somewhere might be doing something they do not approve.
I’d consider fighting this to the highest court (assuming that the 9 black riders actually judged the merits of law) if I believed the family would get any justice.
I am sure the local thugs would not approve of car park coverings either to “hide” the cars fro view.
It might be useful to demand who the living victim in this matter is, considering no crime can be committed without a human victim, whereby all fictional entities such as State are dead. I’m sure the most ridiculous answer would be forthcoming.