A knock at the door. The quick flash of a business card and a demand for entry.
A pushy salesman? An irate ex spouse?
Under Gardner’s proposed property regulations, it could be a city employee wanting to do a home inspection or check for code violations.
Laughing? Don’t.
Property owners would do well to read community development’s new property regulations, available online at here. (Click on the “Property Code” hyperlink)
Title 8.20.020 Section A of the code appears to grant city employees, or contractors hired by the city, the right to demand entry onto private property and make it unlawful to refuse.
Police need warrants but it appears city employees won’t.
While we have the utmost respect for city employees, police officers have been given background checks and undergone training in the law and de-escalating confrontational situations. Can the same be said of all city employees – or their “hired contractors?” We’re incredulous both at the audacity of the proposal and the thought that city administration would want to put an employee in what could be a very volatile situation.
The document, which a memo indicates took city staff 60 days to produce, also regulates when you can repair your car. Need to replace windshield wipers, but you work until 11 p.m.? Don’t plan on doing it in your own driveway. You’ll need to drive out of town to replace them. Same with brakes, headlights or any other minor repair. Repairs, except dead batteries or flat tires, will be illegal in Gardner between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
We understand staff’s concern with a noisy, all-night car repair job. But really, does the regulation need to be so specific? Don’t we have noise ordinances in place, and don’t our police officers do a pretty good job of responding to neighbor’s concerns?
The entire document is both tedious and burdensome. It regulates everything from compost piles (there must be no odor), to placement of playground equipment, the size and durability of trash receptacles, snow removal, gravel drives, and a missing board from your fence.
One bright spot: residents will still have the right to use barbeque grills; however, there are about four paragraphs of regulations that must be followed, including remaining in “reasonable proximity” of the grill. In other words, don’t walk into the house to get the sauce, you might be violating the law.
We’re sure city administration will say we’re being ridiculous, that none of this will ever actually happen.
To which we will reply: with the budget shortfall this city is facing, why did you pay city staff 60 days to write it?