Man Spends $20,000 To Clean Up Vacant Lot, City Says He's A Trespasser

During the past few years, a Philadelphia developer and business owner says he’s been fined for un-shoveled snow, trash and other violations for a vacant lot (pictured, left) adjoining one of his properties — a vacant lot he doesn’t even own. But after he decided to spend his own money and time having 40 tons of debris removed from that same lot, the city claims he’s a trespasser.

“They don’t like nice things,” the man tells the Philadelphia Daily News. “For a private developer to create a garden, it’s a question of who gets credit. To do it without their blessing, you’re basically insulting them.”

But a rep for the city’s Office of Housing and Community Development tells the paper, “Like any property owner, [the authority] does not permit unauthorized access to or alteration of its property. This is both on principle (no property owner knowingly allows trespassing) and to limit taxpayer liability.”

In August, the developer went to the Redevelopment Authority to complain about the lot and offered to clean it up. The city told him not to, but he just couldn’t stand it anymore.

“Finally out of frustration, I said, ‘I’m going to clean it,’ and that’s when I rustled every possible feather there,” he tells the News.

Since then, the city has threatened legal action against him, though it has not actually issued a citation.

“They said we need to return it to the condition we found it in immediately,” he claims.

One area resident doesn’t understand why the city is so upset about the lot, which has gone unsold for years.

“They liked it filled with garbage and broken glass?” she asks.

The above image is the lot as it appeared before the cleanup. Since it is is only a few blocks from Consumerist’s Philadelphia office, I was able to run over there and snap a couple of pics of the results.


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  1. NightSteel says:

    Truly, history’s greatest monster. If the city can fine him for the upkeep of a vacant lot he doesn’t even own, then they can damn well butt out if he decides to improve it.

  2. mcgyver210 says:

    IMO Philadelphia is mad because he just put a stop to their revenue from the fines & the most likely plan to take the property & then sell it to someone of their choosing at below market value.

    He said they fined him so he could argue he is tired of being harassed by a incompetent government if that is what has been happening.

    • Necoras says:

      He didn’t own the property. Any fines they attempted to level against him would be void.

      Correspondingly, he didn’t own the property. He had no right to take any action on it whether positive or negative. The city does have a right to cite him for trespassing. It would be stupid for them to do so, but they do have that legal right.

  3. Scrutinizer says:

    I wonder if he could claim an adverse taking? Any one have any idea.

    • gobanana says:

      That’s exactly why they have to be assholes about it. If they don’t tell him to knock it off, they’re knowingly allowing him to use the property, and that’s one of the grounds for adverse possession.

    • ZachPA says:

      Pennsylvania requires 21 years of occupation, and proof thereof, in order to claim ownership in adverse.

      A better avenue for him to proceed might be something called Ejectment. It is exactly as it sounds. A claimant with an arguable right to a property, whether or not said claimant is actually the deeded property owner, can sue others who may exert a right to that property to have the Court declare all others ejected from that property for the exclusive benefit of the plaintiff.

      In this case, since the City of Philadelphia previously fined the OP for his failure to maintain the property, and since OP paid those fines and has subsequently maintained that property, he could argue that he has a definite ownership interest in that property and sue the City to force the city to quit either the title to the property, possession thereof, or both.

      Then, after he wins that suit, he would file a quiet title action. Quiet title is an action against any and all who might have a claim against the property. In essence, the seeker of quiet title broadcasts through newspapers, law journals, and by summons to every known current owner, mortgagee, claimant or other interested party, and seeker says “let all who have any interest whatsoever come and express said interest.” If none do within a specified time period, the Court declares the plaintiff the unequivocal owner of said property. At that time, all liens, encumbrances, claims by other potential owners of the property and any mineral/gas/oil rights under the property are forever ceased to exist. Plaintiff then winds up with a warranty deed conferred by the Court, which is insurable and which permits the plaintiff to mortgage or dispose of the property in the usual manner.

  4. BigDragon says:

    This story, all the others like it, and that TV show Parking Wars makes me never ever EVER want to visit Philadelphia.

    • ospreyguy says:

      I want to see the liberty bell and some of the other awesome history stuff, which will take about a day, then I’m good.

    • MarkFL says:

      Stories about Philadelphia sports fans — ESPECIALLY Flyers fans — is enough to make me not want to visit. And no, it’s not all hearsay, I have had some first-hand experience sitting in front of a Phillies fan, at least until security took him away.

    • Kestris says:

      Park in New Jersey and take the high speed line in. We’re partial to the Collinswood station.

  5. ZachPA says:

    In most municipalities in Pennsylvania, it’s up to the property owner to take care of the property consistent with ordinances in effect in the municipality. In case that isn’t undertaken by the property owner, the municipality has the authority to step in and hire someone to do it. The firm hired to care for the property will then bill the municipality, which will bill the property owner or place a lien against the property.

    In this case, it’s obvious that the City of Philadelphia, who owns the property, was not complying with the same ordinances requiring other owners to maintain their properties. As such, a firm stepped in and maintained the property for the City.

    Although he went above and beyond, he should definitely bill the city for the entire cost of the cleanup. If Philadelphia would like to fight that bill, maybe they could explain to a Commonwealth Court judge why they disregarded their own laws while fining the OP for failing to maintain a property they claim he trespassed on when he maintained it.

  6. some.nerd says:

    Just goes to show you, no good deed goes un-publicly shamed.

  7. raleel says:

    A similar sort of situation arose near my house.

    Vacant easement along a walking path. City gov wasn’t doing anything with it (turns out, it was not even on the 15 year plan). Guy on the corner decided to irrigate it and beautify it with roses and the like.

    Turns out, he needed to ask permission. Fortunately, the City (particularly the parks service) was not so insular and said “Oh, hey… how about you sign this adopt-a-park agreement so that we can reduce our liability concerns”.

    he signed it and got a sign out of the process. Looks really nice now. Lots of nice little flowers, ground cover, roses, etc. He waters it out of his irrigation.

    I happened to benefit from this, because i saw what he was doing, and I had been angling for a project for my own. I went and asked him and then the City. Everything was really nice and smooth, and now we have a 30′x200′ vegetable garden (along with his own flowered section) that donates it’s produce to the local food bank and to low income seniors that live next door. 4th year running now and we’re over 2000 pounds this year donated.

  8. MBZ321 says:

    Well, now instead of garbage, it’s just going to be a giant litter box for all the stray cats in Philly.

  9. scoosdad says:

    Are the two seemingly identical pictures for use with our Consumerist 3-D Glasses?

  10. Peggee has pearls and will clutch them when cashiers ask "YOU GOT A WIC CHECK MA'AM?" says:

    I wonder if the city is worried that now they have to maintain the garden, or that someone might get hurt due to the improvements and sue them (say the bench falls apart when someone sits on it). Not that I give a damn after how they acted, but that’s probably their reasoning.

  11. ovvnt says:

    why didn’t he just buy the lot? He’s a developer. Develop it!

  12. Quirk Sugarplum says:

    That debris really tied the city together.

  13. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I think he has a good countersuit if they do decide legal action.

    They can’t fine him because the lot he doesn’t own is in disrepair, then threaten legal action for actually cleaning up said lot.

  14. Xzigraz says:

    i thought the government is created by the people and for the people so if people wants to use his/her own money to clean up a lot owned by government then what right does the government have to not allowing it?

    • euph_22 says:

      The guy went way beyond cleaning up the lot. He’s added features that are just inviting others to trespass, and require his further trespassing to maintain. The city would be legally responsible should anybody would be injured on the land.

  15. Mr_Magoo says:

    Goto

    https://consumerist.com/assets/after2.jpg

    to see the second picture.

    • Mr_Magoo says:

      Note for future generations: When I posted the above comment, the Consumerists had posted the first picture twice. It may have been corrected after my post.

  16. Maxedaddy says:

    Submit the bills to the city and go to court! They fined you for not taking care of it and now that you did you can show the court your fines for not taking care of the city property.

  17. dush says:

    So they fined him for not keeping up the property then fined him for keeping up the property??

  18. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I would be shaking that man’s hand and thanking him. That place is amazing.

    Get the local news involved, because not a single human being will be against you.*

    *Philidelphia legislature contains no human.

  19. sorta savvy consumer says:

    This sounds like a prime example of the law (in possessor or something). Since they were fining him for snow removal etc., clearly he was maintaining the property and even has city records to back it up.

    Should get interesting real fast.

  20. Mr Grey says:

    I guess sue Phillie for the back fines, and cost of the restoration – maybe he will get a sympathetic judge who will give it to him.

    Or maybe the city will deed him the lot, then tax him on the improvements.

  21. TBGBoodler says:

    I don’t know. He kind of went overboard, don’t you think? Cleaning up would mean getting rid of the trash and debris and maybe planting a small garden. But benches, planters, walls that kids are going to want to climb? Looks like a liability waiting to happen.

    • euph_22 says:

      Agreed.

      • Black Bellamy says:

        Disagreed. Are we so enslaved by lawyers that the ONLY thing we can think about is OMG maybe some child will want to climb something?

        Why don’t we just tear everything down forever. No one can injured on an endless flat plain made out of soft rubber.

        • euph_22 says:

          So if i built this on your land with out permission and approval, and somebody told you about the massive liability issues you would be fine with this?

          • Cor Aquilonis says:

            If my land had 40 tons of garbage on it? And he turned it into that? I would thank him profusely and shake his hand vigorously.

            Liability: that’s what el cheapo liability insurance is for.

    • msbaskx2 says:

      And the giant pile of garbage there wasn’t a liability?

    • Jane_Gage says:

      All of Phila’s public spaces (rec centers, LOVE park) are use/play at your own risk.

    • Kuri says:

      And pieces of broken glass and scrap metal weren’t a liability?

  22. rhdins says:

    They did boo Santa Claus there, would we expect anything different from people in Philly? I guess the real story here is, why is a resident of Philly trying to clean up/better something?!

    • The Unincorporated Man says:

      Boooooooooooo.

      Guarantee Philly has way more to offer then whatever ass-pimple of a city you live in.

  23. TheUncleBob says:

    So *WHO* does own the property?

    If it’s the city, why the heck were they “mistakenly” sending him fines? If the City is the owner, I’d think he would have grounds for some kind of harassment claim.

    If it’s not the city, can they prosecute him for trespassing on someone else’s property if no one has filed a complaint? Or did I miss something and someone did file a complaint?

    • NickRayko says:

      I think it’s the city of Philly, given this: “But a rep for the city’s Office of Housing and Community Development tells the paper, “Like any property owner, [the authority] does not permit unauthorized access to or alteration of its property.” ”

      I had to go back & re-read, given how many commenters are referencing city ownership. A link to an outside article would be nice.

  24. Gravitational Eddy says:

    Stand by for orders men, we’ll be going up against a city this time.
    Remember, take NO PRISONERS.
    We shall shine the light of utter consternation at them, and if they can’t get out of the way, they’ll be toast when the public gets through with them.
    “Office of Housing and Community Development” indeed.
    It looks like somebody in the city has way too high an opinion of themselves, and it’s time to take them down a few notches.
    Drain the tanks and refill them with extra strong derision.
    I need City Hall to really feel this one.
    Oh yeah, give a heads up to the mayor, he’s a friend and I know he’ll cut off a couple of heads to help keep this from getting any more ridiculous.
    After all, it is supposed to be the city of brotherly love, right?
    Come about helmsman, weapons at the ready!
    Stand by at the sally port, and remember, let’s be safe out there…

  25. shepd says:

    And this is why “if you are willing to defend it, and nobody else owned it and/or outwardly expressed they don’t care about it, it becomes yours” is the way the laws should be written.

  26. LizardFoot says:

    Why didn’t the guy just say “Hey, I didn’t do that! I just woke up one day and it was all fixed up.”

  27. jojo319 says:

    I just can’t believe this “1 percenter” did something nice. I thought they were all greedy and evil?

    • Torgonius wants an edit button says:

      Just like all entities ruled by the Democrat party are jammed pack with cronyism, inefficiency and corruption.

      Well, they are, but the Republican ones are as well.

  28. jbandsma says:

    Sounds a lot like Reagan’s response (when he was governor of CA) to the people who cleaned up an empty lot in Berkeley, planted a garden, built a playground and called it People’s Park.

    It got ripped up, fenced off and the local nursery school got tear-gassed.

    • MarkFL says:

      He probably saw the sign that read “People’s Park” and assumed that the place had been invaded by Commies. Especially in Berkeley.

      How in the world did it come to breaking out tear gas?

      • jbandsma says:

        The people took over the space again and Reagan ordered them to be teargassed…by helicopter. Nobody bothered to take wind conditions into account so the people on the ground got less than a whiff but the nursery school downwind got the biggest load.

        • MarkFL says:

          But still…was there some sort of mob scene? How many people were there? Were they ignoring police orders to vacate the premises? Protesting?

          It’s just a local park, not Chicago ’68.

  29. smartypants503 says:

    Unfortunately he could have just created a liability nightmare. If a liability lawsuit arrises out of this for lets say…that bench collapses (humor me). Is the owner of the lot responsible and will his insurance cover it? Will the developer’s insurance cover it? Will the City be liable because they let it happen? I think the city is playing a little CYA, and they may not be knowledgeable enough to just admit it.

    • Kuri says:

      And the city wouldn’t have been held liable had some kid gone onto the dirty lot and cut his or her foot on a piece of broken glass?

      • smartypants503 says:

        No the owner of the lot would. I am assuming that the city has issued warnings and citations to the absentee lot owner as well.

  30. NorthAlabama says:

    compromise…have the adjacent property owner agree to move all of the items he added for the new owners once/if the property is sold. in the mean time, it’s nicer for all to enjoy.

    no good deed goes unpunished…

  31. human_shield says:

    Obviously I need to get into the landscaping business if fencing off a tiny plot of rocks, 3 planters, and a concrete bench costs $20,000.

    • NickRayko says:

      RTFA, it’s easy.

      “he decided to spend his own money and time having 40 tons of debris removed from that same lot”

  32. bben says:

    Philly is the same city that tried, and failed, to kick the Boy Scouts out of a building the scouts built and then gave to the city and has been paying for the upkeep of since 1929 to begin with. Something about the legal concept of ‘in perpetuity’ in the lease seems to have been missed by the city lawyers.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cradle_of_Liberty_Council_v._City_of_Philadelphia

    • FishtownYo says:

      It’s a shame the city didn’t win. As a life long Philly (real city, not burbs) guy and former Boy Scout, I find it shameful that the Boy Scouts get away with bigotry and hate.

      The city charter states no businesses or affiliations that deal with city can trample others rights. The Boy Scouts discriminate against homosexuals, they should be forced to leave city owned property.

      • arcticJKL says:

        Yeah, and whats with the American Communist Party not accepting Nazis!

      • Sneeje says:

        You know, the boy scout bashing is getting a little tired–and I’m not sure you and most people even know what you’re saying anymore. Yes the organization BSA has those beliefs, but here is what I don’t think anyone stops to think about: at the local level, almost none of that matters. if you know that this group specifically acts/speaks in a bigoted manner, by all means speak out about it.

        But I have been working on and off with cub scouts and boy scouts all up and down the east coast for the last ten years and never seen those beliefs affect anything in practice. My own son’s group has many different faiths (hindu, muslim, christian) in it, as well as different sexual beliefs, and developmental disabilities. There is a lot of good being done–so please focus instead on those specific individuals and specific local organizations that are ignorant.

        • who? says:

          The boy scouts being bigoted is getting a little tired, too.

          • rennyn says:

            Yeah, I hate it when people keep bringing the truth up.

            • Sneeje says:

              But it isn’t the truth–if you mean a select few that are running the organization and a select few scattered throughout the local organizations? Or if you want to say that the organization has a bigoted approach to handling potential gay members? Sure. Probably the same percentage of people that are bigoted in the rest of the population.

              But when you speak in sweeping generalizations about the entire organization you throw the vast majority of the members–millions of kids and parents–into that statement that are ignoring and slowly eroding those beliefs from the inside.

    • Greg Ohio says:

      The US Constitution prohibits governments from discriminating on the basis of religion. The scouts discriminate against atheists.

      • AssaultLife says:

        Isn’t atheism the lack or disbelief in all religion? If so, then, by its own definition, not a religion and therefore cannot be subject to religious discrimination.

  33. coffeeculture says:

    Philadelphia is full of corrupt crack head government officials, I’m not surprised about this article one bit.

  34. Overheal says:

    How has nobody mentioned the episode of Hey Arnold! that dealt with this almost exact same idea?

    http://heyarnold.wikia.com/wiki/The_Vacant_Lot

    You know, back when TV used to be awesome?

  35. nez77 says:

    When I was pregnant (I had a really bad pregnancy), my husband was nice enough to do the best he could with the household chores, but our front yard became neglected. Our neighbor decided to help us out and would mow the lawn for us whenever he mowed his. This went on for months even a few months after the baby was born.
    Instead of calling the cops on our neighbor, for Christmas we bought him a new lawnmower (he had been complaining about his old one, but unable to afford a new one). He was very touched and thanked us and we kept on thanking him.

    I’m not saying that the city should pay this guy, but seriously, he’s doing them the favor, and just have him sign some sort of liability waiver form (if that’s all they are worried about), and move on with life.

  36. quail20 says:

    Anyone around here heard of guerrilla gardening? It’s a tactic used with asinine cities. The key is not to get caught. Beautify and move on. Sometimes it can be done with the blessing of a city council but the headaches of the bureaucracy and time makes many on that crusade just fall back on 2 am cleanup schedules and flower bombs thrown over fences.

  37. MarkFL says:

    I wonder if they will also fine Chris for trespassing.

  38. july18 says:

    the ONLY reason they want it returned to the ‘original’ state is because as usual that kind of group of clowns doesn’t have the lot next door to THEIR house ….

    • MarkFL says:

      It’s more likely someone at City Hall is getting paid off to give the trash removal job to some crony who was going to charge the city $50K for the job. If the guy puts the property back to its original state, then the official and the crony can all get their money.

  39. Vegetius says:

    The man is obviously unclear on the concept. He should just shut up and hand over the money, preferably in small bills, and get on with the enjoyment of his unbroken knees.

  40. Jawaka says:

    So why was he fined for the unshoveled snow and other eyesores in the first place if it wasn’t his property? Was he able to get this money back?

    • kobresia says:

      Precisely. He would just have to contest the fine and that’s that.

      There really isn’t any justification for what he did. He could clean-up the trash and maybe mow the weeds, but he overstepped. It’s like claiming that someone else’s bad parking job entitles one to double-park or park on the sidewalk. No, it just doesn’t work that way, two wrongs don’t make a right.

  41. MarkFL says:

    Obviously 40 tons of debris is a huge amount but it’s kind of vague if you’re not familiar with the industry. Does anyone here know enough about waste removal to put that in terms the layman can understand, such as how many dumpsters or garbage trucks that equals?

    • NickRayko says:

      Of course there are a bunch of variable, but when I was dealing with large roll-off containers on a regular basis at work, a 30-yard container full (of grape must, which is surprisingly dense) typically weighed in around 7.5-8 tons. If we filled it much beyond that, the front end of the truck picking it up would come off the ground as much as 4 feet while winching it up into place. Some drivers were hotshots & got a laugh out of it, some pissed & moaned.

      40 tons of mixed rubble? I’d guess 8-9 containers worth, at least. Can’t imagine he was having a bunch of rock & soil hauled away.

      • NickRayko says:

        *variableS.

        And debris – trash, dead hookers, misc. weeds & vegetation – not rubble (broken concrete & construction waste, at least in my under-caffeinated mind).

    • kobresia says:

      “40 tons of debris” is apparently how much several sections of Jersey Barriers weigh. I suppose that’s about right, they weigh a few hundred pounds-per-foot. He just hauled off the barriers from around the perimeter of the property, which pretty much makes it theft. Those barriers aren’t cheap, either. The moron is just calling the barriers “debris” because he doesn’t like how they look, but they’re most certainly not, even if they’re chipped on the edges.

  42. glorpy says:
    • euph_22 says:

      Thanks for posting this. Reading it, i get the impression the city is upset about the structures the guy built on property he didn’t own and remove the j-barriers that weren’t his from land that wasn’t his. I’m assuming that is what the city means by “return it to the way you found it” (though it’s hard to tell since that exchange happened in person).

      If that’s the case, the city’s position it’s quite reasonable. let’s ignore the fact that the lot was in disrepair, which is immaterial here unless he gets fined specifically for the clean up.

      If you owned the land, and somebody removed the barriers you put up and built this, wouldn’t you want the structures removed and the barriers put back in place?

  43. Sean says:

    If he returns it to the condition he found it in they will probably give him a citation for dumping.

  44. bonzombiekitty says:

    To a degree, I understand the city telling him he shouldn’t have done what he did and even fining him for it. If they just let him basically take over the lot and do what he wanted with it, then that could end up causing legal issues in the future of various sorts. So if I was the city, yeah I’d be a bit concerned about that sort of thing.

    But it should be noted that there is probably a good amount of politics in play here. The guy who did this is a developer who has been fighting for years with people in the neighborhood he is trying to develop. I honestly believe he is really trying to do what is best for the neighborhood, but the people who live there now really fear gentrification. In their view, they are being driven out of their homes (better neighborhood = skyrocketing rent). Arguments over race and class abound, and the community and zoning meetings over his projects have been absolutely nuts.

    So it wouldn’t surprise me if someone who has been opposing him has some friends in the city government, which is probably why he couldn’t buy the lot in the first place.

    • who? says:

      I don’t know Philly, or this neighborhood, but I’m guessing that you’re exactly right. The developer is trying to improve the neighborhood. Many of the residents, mostly renters, are trying to preserve the status quo. It’s a fight that happens in most gentrifying neighborhoods.

      In my neighborhood, there’s a woman who has lived here and owned a local restaurant for the last 30 years. At the time she opened the restaurant, the neighborhood was mostly a slum, and her restaurant was pretty much the only game in town. As a former social worker, she started working with the local people to improve the quality of life in the neighborhood. Her efforts worked, and she’s a huge hero within the neighborhood. The neighborhood got better, became more desirable. As a result, it started gentrifying. People with more money began moving in. Businesses came in. Housing prices went up, and the people the restaurant owner was trying to help can’t afford to live in the neighborhood anymore. But the genie can’t be put back in the bottle.

      Personally, I have mixed feelings. I don’t miss listening to police helicopters every night, and like that I don’t have to paint out graffiti every couple of days, but I miss some of the character and people that have left, and I get tired of dealing with tour buses and tourists (in addition to gentrifying, the neighborhood has become a tourist destination).

    • kobresia says:

      Just because someone wants to “improve the neighborhood” doesn’t mean they have the self-appointed right to clean-up things on their neighbors’ properties or steal stuff in the name of “cleaning it up”.

      And you’re spot-on that sometimes people don’t *want* their neighborhoods cleaned-up to yuppie standards. Some people don’t want to have neighbors who bitch about the state of everyone else’s lawns or oil stains on their driveways. Some people don’t want property taxes driven-up along with higher property valuations, low-rent housing wiped-out, and the plague of real estate speculation taking over their neighborhoods. That’s generally how it goes though when a developer gets a foothold.

      Most of my neighbors and I are vehemently opposed to having the roads in our area paved. Most of us own our homes so it’s not a rent thing, but we don’t want to attract the sorts of people who can’t stomach dirt roads. They’re a bad element who just don’t fit-in with the rural lifestyle, they belong in patio homes in HOA subdivisions where it’s socially acceptable to bitch about your neighbor’s basketball hoop or the color of their front door. The lack of paved roads generally keeps them at-bay. Maybe junky vacant lots surrounded by concrete barriers work repel yuppies in much the same way…

      • euph_22 says:

        And even if you think that you can clean up somebody elses land, why would you think that right somehow extends to building your own stuff on it?

  45. kobresia says:

    So, here’s the thing. If you don’t like the way your neighbor is keeping their yard, take it up with code enforcement, and if the property is in violation, then a code officer will tell them to deal with it. You could even sue them, but you can’t just go clean up other people’s property, especially when what they have is not in violation of code, and putting a perimeter of barriers around an empty lot probably isn’t a violation.

    There are also legal definitions in the code for this sort of thing. “Debris” would have a reasonably specific definition, and an intact perimeter concrete barrier would not fall under it, only broken chunks of concrete or a pile of broken concrete. Jersey Barriers in storage would also not constitute “debris”, they would be considered “construction materials”.

    On a related note, I wound-up having to school an overly aggressive code enforcement officer a number of years ago. He was completely ignorant of code and code enforcement (it wasn’t really even his job, he was the building inspector), and was tasked with investigating a complaint against my property that had been made several years prior on heavy excavating equipment and trucks which I no longer even had. He called some awesome old railroad signal bungalows I use as storage sheds “garbage” and also wrote-up stacks of firewood and wooden and chain-link fencing materials as “trash”, and was trying to have them all hauled-off under a bogus clean-up enforcement action. Neither of those definitions were remotely accurate per the county’s own code (“trash”, “junk,” “garbage”, “construction materials”, and a few other things are explained with some precision in the code), I assume he got a bit of a dressing-down after I got my county commissioner involved, who got the guy’s boss involved.

    What it comes down to is that one man’s trash is another’s treasure, and you’d best not be making judgments yourself if you don’t have the authority to do so, and even if you do have the authority, you’d better make sure you know the code to the letter.

  46. deathbecomesme says:

    Maybe the urban environment just isn’t for me. But that is one shitty neighborhood. Good for him for trying to do something to make it better. I hope the neighbors appreciate it and come out to support him and shame the officials who just sit back and collect while nothing gets done

    • euph_22 says:

      So if I think your fence looks tacky and harming the neighborhood aesthetic, you’d be fine with my trespassing on your property, ripping it out and putting something else up? I’m just trying to make the neighborhood look better.

      If he had simply cleaned the lot, we’d all applaud him and the officials would be way out of line giving him any flack (if he got any). He didn’t, he took it upon himself to remove property that wasn’t his from land that wasn’t his and then altered that land and built stuff on it. After being told specifically and repeatedly that he didn’t have permission, and would be forced to undo his alterations.

      And I love urban environments. That’s one shitty neighborhood.

  47. T. Bone says:

    Philadelphia another American ghetto city.

  48. JonBoy470 says:

    And people wonder why Philly is such a shit-hole…