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Thread: Prohibited vehicle or lawn ornament?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
    Registered
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    Bloomington, Minnesota
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    Prohibited vehicle or lawn ornament?

    Our inspectors are battling with the homeowner over this tractor. It sits on a 9,700 sq. ft corner lot, so clearly is not used for lawn tasks. It's in a suburban single-family neighborhood. There were no complaints about it, the inspector just saw it. The homeowner claims it is a lawn ornament, the inspectors see it as a prohibited vehicle.

    http://www.cyburbia.org/gallery/show...hp/photo/21838

    Too cool, or an outright eyesore? Your thoughts?

  2. #2
    maudit anglais
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    Hmmm...well, it's definitely RUGGED!

    I would probably say that if it is kept in good condition (looks like it is freshly painted!) and there have been no complaints about it to just leave it be.

    Is it in running condition?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    It really depends on the makeup of the community. Is it all single-family suburban, urban, growing suburb with active farms? It is going to be different things to different communities.

    In this case, if there is vagueness in the codes and there have been no complaints, people are obviously accepting of it.

    The inspectors should use their time more wisely.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Rem's avatar
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    Jun 2003
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    It's a lawn ornament - I have one almost the same.

    I agree with btrage, the inspector needs counselling.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus
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    It's really cool, and children will think so too, and that's why it may be an attractive nuisance:

    http://definitions.uslegal.com/a/attractive-nuisance/
    http://www.answers.com/topic/attractive-nuisance

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BobH View post
    The homeowner claims it is a lawn ornament, the inspectors see it as a prohibited vehicle.
    It's a LARGE drive portion of a self propelled lawnmower. (I was hoping for a John Deere.)
    WALSTIB

  7. #7
    Looks like they have a couple of other implements up by the house as well. For me, if there were no complaints and it isn't blocking sight distance, I'd forget about it.

    It's really cool, and children will think so too, and that's why it may be an attractive nuisance
    I'm sure the owner has reported it to his homeowner's insurance agent.
    Je suis Charlie

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    Farmall

    Quote Originally posted by Seana View post
    It's really cool, and children will think so too, and that's why it may be an attractive nuisance:
    What, like a jungle gym or swing set?
    WALSTIB

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Suburban Chicago
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    Tell your inspector to pick his/her battles. Making someone put an old John Deere back in the shed in some midwest locales could be akin to making someone take a virgin mary off the front lawn here in Chicago. Or blow-up Santa off the lawn at x-mas. It's a lose-lose situation.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    If they make him get rid of it - I'll take it.

    Seriously, though, this seems to fall squarely in the lawn ornament or, dare I elevate it to this level? public art (on private land). I live in the West and if the City went after everyone that had an old wagon, tractor or large, antiquated ag equipment prominently displayed as "art" in their yards, we would be swimming in litigation. I see this kind of thing everyday. And frankly, I think its pretty cool. They even went to the trouble of cleaning it up and painting it rather than leaving it rusting (which has its own intriguing effect). To me, they clearly see this as a lovely piece of craft (as do I) worthy of display. And what the hell is wrong with that?

    If no neighbors are raising the issue, I think your inspector needs to cool it and go after something truly problematic to the health, safety and welfare of your town...
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Fat Cat's avatar
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    Fat Cat

    Does this inspector have a lot of free time to go shopping
    Or is there another agenda going on
    Usually there is dailey list

  12. #12
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    1956 International Farmall. Cool.

    Seriously, my vote is: tacky-as-hell lawn ornament. As others have said, there were no complaints. Also, there's a growing number of people who restore old tractors. This tractor may or may not be in running condition, but its context and upkeep suggest that it's acting as a lawn ornament; that it's not a half-finished-and-abandoned project, part of a crazed hoarder's collection of junk, or included in some eccentric farmer's on-site junkyard.

    I've seen small boats used as lawn ornaments in the Great Lakes area, and wagons and old furrow plows in the Rocky Mountain West. I think my tune would change if it was a car, eighteen-wheeler, combine, bulldozer or something like that.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    I think my tune would change if it was a car, eighteen-wheeler, combine, bulldozer or something like that.
    You're such a Philistine...
    Moderator note:
    mendelman

    I can't tell whether you're being facetious or not. Your statement without some other indicator has the look of a personal attack on another user. I will give you the day to explain your intent or I may have to consider a suspension.

    Remember - the smilies are there for a reason. It really helps convey meaning and tone.
    Last edited by mendelman; 10 Oct 2008 at 10:55 AM.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Jamestown, New York
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    If they make him get rid of it - I'll take it.

    Seriously, though, this seems to fall squarely in the lawn ornament or, dare I elevate it to this level? public art (on private land). I live in the West and if the City went after everyone that had an old wagon, tractor or large, antiquated ag equipment prominently displayed as "art" in their yards, we would be swimming in litigation. I see this kind of thing everyday. And frankly, I think its pretty cool. They even went to the trouble of cleaning it up and painting it rather than leaving it rusting (which has its own intriguing effect). To me, they clearly see this as a lovely piece of craft (as do I) worthy of display. And what the hell is wrong with that?

    If no neighbors are raising the issue, I think your inspector needs to cool it and go after something truly problematic to the health, safety and welfare of your town...
    I agree. It's "Americana" at its best -- and is definitely superior to the small windmill that graces my side/front yard (I couldn't afford a full-sized one!).

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Richi's avatar
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    Tallahassee, FL
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    Lawn art!!! It's an antique, so it has history going for it as well. The inspector needs more real work to do.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
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    Moderator note:
    mendelman

    I can't tell whether you're being facetious or not. Your statement without some other indicator has the look of a personal attack on another user. I will give you the day to explain your intent or I may have to consider a suspension.

    Remember - the smilies are there for a reason. It really helps convey meaning and tone.
    Well, I certainly haven't made it any secret that I am not part of the planning profession, but part of the excavating profession. As such, I'd have thought it wasn't any great leap of deductive reasoning to infer that I have a strong affinity for such things as bulldozers. (But just in case it wasn't apparent, that's part of why it was bolded in my original quote. The other part was to distinguish it from my lack of a similarly strong affinity for cars, combines, etc.)

    Further, I wouldn't have thought that the use of one word, in one sentence, would be seen as rising to the threshold of a "personal attack", at least not one worthy of a threatened suspension. Where I come from, one would have to be pretty thin-skinned to let that bother them. (Of course, where I come from, most would have to take out the dictionary and look up "philistine", that is, if they could even find one.)

    Still further, my comment was aimed just as much at having fun with my own above described affinity for construction equipment as it was at Dan's expressed disdain for same.

    I won't apologize for my playfully sarcastic comment. I will however, apologize for overestimating anyone's ability to recognize it as nothing more than playfully sarcastic, without the aid of a smiley.

    And if it'll make you feel any better, here's winking a smiley for Dan:

    And another one, for you:


  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    Bloomington, Minnesota
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    There isn't a farm within miles. Solid single-family subdivisions around it, and about a mile from the Mall of America. Couldn't tell you if it runs or not. But it's a lot shinier than most tractors actually used in "the field" (sorry)

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