Skip to comments.County to homeowner: tear down this mess or go to jail
Posted on 06/01/2011 12:26:58 PM PDT by SmithL
Homeowner, who owns the land you live on? You might think you do, in America, but you'd be forgetting a few things. One) eminent domain: you could at any time lose you house if, say, your city or state wants to put in a freeway there. Two) County building codes: You can lose your house if it gets too weird, ugly, unsafe, or enough of an annoyance to neighbors. Yes. In the end, this is not as free a country as you think when it comes to home design.
Ask former telephone tech Alan Kimble Fahey of Acton, CA, who began building the "home" he lives in with his wife and son 30 years ago. The L.A. Times reports that Fahey "christened the project 'Phonehenge' because it sits atop pilings modified from phone utility poles."
. . . L.A. County deputy District Attorney, David Campbell, told the L.A Times that Fahey repeatedly ignored official warnings that he was "violating multiple municipal building safety and fire codes and thinks he is above the law." "He has set up his own arrogant interpretation of the law," Campbell said. Meanwhile, Fahey's attorney says L.A. officials failed to enforce their own rules for over 20 years before finally deciding to issue this ultimatum.
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
I remember when the US was a free country.
Looks like a work of art to me. no sarc.
Who ever has the original deed (not title deed) to the land owns that land. Where are the original deeds kept? In the county seats.
I’m and architect and I think it looks pretty cool.
Try cutting down a tree in your yard, if you live in the SF bay area. The weeds on your land have more rights than you.
yah...looks pretty cool unless you live right across the street from it.
If he's violated any covenants in the deed itself (easements, equitable servitudes, etc.), that would be a civil matter that can only be filed by a party who's property is burdened by his property.
Frankly, I don’t like cookie cutter housing tracts. I want something little different in my neighborhood.
Look at that guy. He’s had fun with this. That’s the real crime here. It’s not a run down dump. It’s not an eye-sore.
If the guy has some code violations, then I can see some need for compliance, but buy and large these code issuing departments are little fiefdoms what like to wield power as much as anything else.
There are many places in this nation where a house is out half a mile from anyone else. In such places, it baffles me why a government agency forces their codes on anyone.
If a guy burns himself to death, who cares. If he electrocutes himself, who cares? If he complies with codes, fine, he can sell the home on that basis. If he hasn’t, there won’t be a paper trail for the owner to prove he went with the codes.
Buyer beware. Enough said...
If the home is in a populated area, I can see more need for compliance. A fire or other violations could cause a problem for the neighbors.
Yeah, but if it was named the ‘Osborn Good Art Center’, you would be asked to move before he would be criticized.
As long as he keeps those tacky pink flamingos and grotesque gnomes out of his yard, I’m all for it!
Sorry, but as long as the penalty for not paying property tax is your removal from a property, there is no other conclusion other than that it is the government that owns “your” property. You just rent it from them.
The normal houses they build these days are even worse looking.
In fact...I'm pretty sure those a "snail darter" trees!
He can't tear the place down!
First, there will have to be a complete environmental study!! Then on to the US liberal packed Supreme Court!
The County are obviously “beardists.”
Besides, how unsafe can it be? It has apparently survived earthquakes for 30 years, including some real doozies! Besides, I am a great fan of pole building and have built a few with scrounged and bought phone poles, one of the greatest building foundation materials ever!
Ugly in LA? Now there's a troublesome definition! LA was a paradise with 5 million people; a Third World hellhole with 20+ million. Maybe the planners ought to work on the overcrowding. Ugly? I'll give you a tour of LA Ugly!
Perhaps the Mexican Government will straighten this all out when LA becomes the capital of Aztlán.
Yet a black man who built the towered metal castle in the middle of LA doesn’t face such domination. It’s a national treasure!
Because we have to pay for the firemen and ambulances.
And everytime an emergency occurs somewhere, other people risk life and limb, for example, emergency vehicles can get into an accident racing to the scene.
And firemen are more likely to be killed or injured when fighting a fire in a house that is not up to code--floors more likely to collapse under them, roofs to fall on them, etc.
I'm very much in favor of codes and zoning.
And before I buy a house somewhere, I check to be sure the rules are to my liking.
Fine with me across the street as long as I get to visit.
Had a guy on our lake build a little shed. The town council said it was too close to the lake and violated an ordinance. They told him he would be fined 500 bucks a day until it was gone. He looked at them and said, “ Well get the damn clock rollin and the addin machines addin, cuz I ain’t movin it”...they left him alone, and 10 years later, he is dead, but his wife still has the shed in the same location....
Anyone who thinks this is a free country is badly deluding themselves.
When an Earthquake hits the USA - a few people die.
When the same magnitude Earthquake hits Iran, Haiti, etc, etc - THOUSANDS die.
They are “free” to build cheap crap that falls down and kills people as soon as the Earth shakes a little.
Just trying to list the differences between that and the Chrysler building in New York.
We own nothing here unless you are a so called Native! The property is rented from the Government, Via Property taxes.
One does not actually own land in the USofA. One buys a lease on land, pretty much terminable at government option, that only includes a partial set of rights, all of which are terminable by just about any level of government. And you have to pay rent to the local government unit for so long as you “own” it, even after “buying” it.
Free Country, that’s one of those oxymorons, like public servant or spending cut.
As long as another man can exercise his will over what you think to be yours, you are not free and it is not yours.
I am more inclined to agree with you within city limits. I intimate as much in one of my comments. I am considerably less inclined to agree with you if a person is miles from anywhere.
If say a farm is ten miles from the nearest fire department, that department is not going to respond, or by the time it does, the house will be so far gone, they’ll more or less stand by and watch. The farmhouse will burn down and by the time anyone shows up it’s going to be academic whether the wiring was done properly or not, as it relates to a threat to the firemen.
I also stated, let the buyer beware. If a person who has built their own home hasn’t complied with county suggestions or ‘requirements’, then I wouldn’t purchase the home.
It’s just rubs me the wrong way to tell a person who is trying to get away from it all, that they must answer to some bureaucracy anyway. They didn’t move to the country because they loved intrusive entanglements.
If a guy out there wants to slap together a shanty, as long as it’s not creating a health problem for his neighbors, I say leave him alone.
The little bureaucracies in our nation have gotten to the place that an Indian with a teepee would be in trouble these days. We can survive running people into the dirt in our cities. We can afford to let the others take care of themselves. Really... they’ll do just fine.
I remember when the US was a free country.
You are not that old. You just feel like it sometimes.
I call them land fungus.
A lot of newer housing tracts today, are planned a lot better, but the old conventional ones were definitely land fungus. Good call.
Grotesque gnomes like this?
There are far too many people who want nothing more than to be as big of a pain in the ass and a public nuisance as they can get away with, and very often they get away with a very great deal. It only takes one or two people to let their property go to the dogs to affect the livability of an entire neighborhood.
Now that, I can live with!
LOL... Google Dirt shows Acton Ca as a geological wasteland. Some rich liberal must have moved into the area. BTW, I like the house...
"Why yes this house is worth every penny. The plumbing was inspected and certified by 'XYZ Plumbing Raters' as above their highest standards, the electrical meets all five of the top rated standards associations ratings for electrical safety, the four top HVAC conventions have certified the heating and air conditioning as meeting their top rating, and seven of the national insurance underwriters associations have certified the general construction as meeting their standards; so you should not be concerned about the quality of this house."
And if someone wants to build or to buy something "less", they're entitled.
You will actually get competing standards and builders promoting their buildings as having been certified for "the best" standards.
Instead of Nazi-like law producing construction "improvements", Liberty and economics will set the standards, by the choices people make, not because the law makes some choices illegal, but because reason and income make them both affordable and desirable.
He has been working on it for thirty years. I suspect everyone around him around moved in recently and are the type of people who delight in forcing others to obey them.
It looks like something from a theme park. Checking the fb page, it has wonderful views, however.
Yeah, but California sucks.
It’s better than your average eifs McMansion.