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To: LibWhacker
"Just because it looks funny doesn't mean we ought to be telling people how to run their lives and what they ought to do on their own property," Regan said. "Just because it's hanging doesn't mean it's going to fall."

OK, I give up, who is Regan? Stoopid AP writers!

22 posted on 04/11/2005 3:35:27 PM PDT by upchuck ("If our nation be destroyed, it would be from the judiciary." ~ Thomas Jefferson)
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To: upchuck
Okay, lots of good questions here. Lots of hilarious questions, too, guys, thanks for the laughs! :-)

Anyhoo . . . I went to the Raleigh NewsObserver to get more details. Here's the article:

Raleigh confronts man over bike

Staff Photo by Sher Stoneman

Richard Woodworth, who lives outside Raleigh city limits, has been slapped with a nuisance abatement fine by the city.

By CINDY GEORGE, Staff Writer

RALEIGH -- Harley-Davidson enthusiast Richard Woodworth has an odd ornament hanging from a tree in his back yard: a metal mess of a motorcycle he calls art.

He strung up the gnarled wreck about a year ago as a decoration for one of his oaks.

In February, on a Friday while Woodworth was directing construction site work in Virginia, a city inspector walked on his wooded property and decided the dangling metal at his home fell under Raleigh's code definition of a nuisance motor vehicle.

Trouble is, Woodworth doesn't live within the city limits, and his Wake County property has no-trespassing signs posted.

But even though he receives no city water or sewer service, no fire or police protection, no snow removal or road maintenance, Woodworth does fall under some city code enforcement. He is one of the latest property owners sent into a tizzy by tougher nuisance abatement and code enforcement rules approved by the City Council in the past two years.

In Woodworth's case, his home sits less than a mile beyond the Raleigh line, which means his property is subject to city land use regulations. His Berkshire Downs community was scooped into the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction, known as ETJ, about 20 years ago.

The jurisdiction includes areas adjacent to the city limits but in unincorporated county territory. Those sections of Wake County fall within Raleigh's zoning and planning regulations because they could be annexed by the city one day. Thousands of acres with the same designation surround Raleigh.

That's why Woodworth found a city of Raleigh inspections letter taped to his tree telling him to pay a $100 administrative inspection fee and demanding that he remove the motorcycle.

Woodworth, a restaurant building contractor, thinks the city has gone way beyond its limits, and he is ready to fight.

"I don't like the city coming here and telling me what to do with my property," he said. "I knew for a fact that I did not live in the city. I did not know I lived in the ETJ. They've got more to do than hassle me."

He appealed his case Tuesday during a Raleigh City Council public hearing.

New approach

Woodworth's complaint arose out of council action last summer, when the body created the new $100 administrative fee for any person whose property contained a nuisance motor vehicle. Usual targets are cars on blocks, those with standing water that can breed mosquitoes or those that can become homes to rats or snakes.

Such a fee also applies to other types of code violations.

In the past, the city warned property owners about a code violation and set a deadline to correct the problem.

But the new approach adopted by council in recent months does not wait for warnings.

Now, folks come home and discover that the city dropped by and left a $100 consequence.

"How do I know it's wrong until they tell you or somebody brings it to your attention?" Woodworth said Sunday.

A drain on resources

City Inspections Director Gene Ellis reiterated before the council last week that the warnings were eliminated because habitual offenders could circumvent penalties yet sap city resources by requiring constant reminders of knee-high grass and other nuisances.

Another technique revived by the city is concentrated code enforcement, a program the city has used in several redevelopment areas since September 2003. The house-to-house inspections in older neighborhoods near downtown were halted two weeks ago after residents in the South Park community said the practice violated their privacy and property rights. The council placed a moratorium on the program until it can set a policy guiding the inspections.

"The whole point of moving forward with this nuisance abatement is to get people to take care of their property," council member Jessie Taliaferro said at Tuesday's public hearing.

Woodworth was among several residents last week who asked council members to rescind administrative fees.

Council member Mike Regan questioned whether the city's demand about the hanging motorcycle violated Woodworth's rights, especially since it was secured by a logging chain.

"Just because it looks funny doesn't mean we ought to be telling people how to run their lives and what they ought to do on their own property," Regan said. "Just because it's hanging doesn't mean it's going to fall."

City inspectors contend that someone could get hurt.

"The code stipulates that any public vehicle that may fall is considered a public nuisance," Ellis said, adding that the motorcycle had sharp parts that could injure someone below.

Woodworth said Sunday that he will erect a fence around his art or remove the bike's motor so it is no longer a "motor vehicle."

The irony of the whole situation is that Woodworth is fighting for a bike he really doesn't like.

Woodworth lives for his American-made Harleys and doesn't care for motorcycles manufactured elsewhere. (He thinks his art is a Suzuki, but he knows for sure it's not a Harley.)

That's why he strung up the wreck. Now he is set on keeping the darned thing dangling near his roof line.

25 posted on 04/11/2005 3:48:53 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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