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Great Phone Calls from the Public

arcplans

As Featured in "High Times"
Messages
6,628
Points
32
Seems public service comes some great phone calls. case in point:

Caller: I would like to put a sign on my car to advertise a business.
Me: Ok, well depending on the sign that may violate our ordinance.
Caller: Well, it is actually to advertise to not support a local business. I hate them, and i want people to know they are frauds. They burned me.
Me: Um, ok.
Caller: So i want to place a sandwhich board on the back of a pick up, can i do that?
Me: No, we don't regulate context, so the revenge sign needs to be either permenantly affixed to your vehicle or used with magnets or other type of graphics.
Caller: So I can advertise not to shop there?
Me: I guess. The business may not like it, but as long as you don't violate our sign ordinance i don't see an issue.
Caller: So i can do like decals like "generic appliance store"
Me: Well, yes, i guess, if you want to take this thing this far.
Caller: I do. Thank you, You have been very helpful.
Me: Ok, good luck with the revenge thing. Have a wonderful day :r:
 

ursus

Cyburbian, raised by Cyburbians
Messages
5,071
Points
25
Caller: So i want to place a sandwhich board on the back of a pick up, can i do that?
Me: No, we don't regulate context, so the revenge sign needs to be either permenantly affixed to your vehicle or used with magnets or other type of graphics.
:r:
My new favorite quote. Ever, Raf. Ever.
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
Good for him. Everybody says they're going to do something like that but no one follows through. And he even has the decency to check with the local zoning office. :)
 

Hink

OH....IO
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
15,608
Points
49
The fact that he checked, shows he is a decent guy. I appreciate the legal revenge sign. Those illegal revenge signs get me. I had a great converstation a while back with a lady about a rock that went something like this...

Caller: Can you have large rocks in your backyard near the property line?
Me: Yes ma'am we don't regulate rocks.
Caller: So I can put a huge rock right on the property line?
Me: I suppose so.
Caller: So my neighbor can line our property line with gigantic rocks? (getting angry)
Me: Yes ma'am, again we don't regulate rocks.
Caller: Well this is stupid. You regulate houses, but you don't regulate rocks?
Me: Well houses...
Caller: Where can I get a huge rock?
Me: Excuse me?
Caller: Well I want to buy a huge rock. Is there a huge rock store?
Me: Sorry ma'am I am not sure where you can get huge rocks.
Caller: Well what help are you. This is stupid. I pay taxes...

I also have a voicemail from her saved which says.. "this is Mrs. X, you know what I want." No number no reason. Just that. Ahh the life of a public employee :)
 

TOFB

Cyburbian
Messages
2,431
Points
29
Just today: "Can't you make them Vietnamese get rid of that Bhudda thing in front of that church or whatever it is? This is a Christian neighborhood."
 

imaplanner

Cyburbian
Messages
6,673
Points
27
Caller: Can you tell me who owns this property?
Me: Sure. Its public record. Its xyz corporation.
Caller: Oh. Do you know how I can get a hold of them?
Me: All I have is a PO Box address.
Caller: Is there any way you can find out anything else for me?
Me: Why are you asking?
Caller: Cause I was hanging out on the road by the fence and the cops came and I threw my bag of weed over the fence and I want it back.
Me: oh. Sorry.
 

Mastiff

Gunfighter
Messages
7,181
Points
30
Message left yesterday:

Lady: Hi, this is Mrs. X, and I've been thinking a lot about this lately. I wait a long time running water waiting for it to get hot, and that must waste a whole bunch of water. Can you do anything about that?
 

short timer

Cyburbian
Messages
140
Points
6
the best call I ever got was from a new resident who wanted the town to send "some men" out to rake the dead worms out of their lawn after a bad rain storm.

They were shocked "...shocked I tell you, shocked..." to learn that we didn't provide such a service despite the public health threat of "diseases and unpleasant odors"

actually, now that I think of it, the funnier call was from a resident who wanted the town to "do something" about the HUGE flocks of seagulls that showed up to feast on a 17 yr cicada emergence...
 

stroskey

Cyburbian
Messages
1,212
Points
17
This was in 2008 after Bush signed a bill so homeowners could get 300 or 600 dollars to stimulate the economy.

Caller: Hi, when can I pick up my check?
Me: I'm not sure I understand...?
Caller: The president said he was giving out checks so people could work on their houses.
Me: Ah, yes. I heard those were being distributed through the Social Security office so I would say you should call them with specific questions.
Caller: But why would I call the Social Security for money for my house? You are the Housing Department. If the money is for buying stuff for your house he should have sent it to the Housing Department. It's obvious.
Me: I think we may have some confusion here. Please call the SS office at xxx-xxxx.
Caller: This is typical; say one thing but do another. I'm not spending the money on retirement, I'm spending how we're supposed to spend it, on our houses.
Me: I'm sorry I can't help you further.
Caller What's your address, I'm coming up there tomorrow.
Me: 123 Main Street.
Caller: Oh, that's not anywhere near me, I'm in name of city (3 counties away)

<hangs up>

_________________________________________________

Caller: I don't mean to be a pain in the a** but Joe's Garage is running a salvage yard without a permit.
Me: I checked on that last week and there are no signs of a salvage yard. It is normal for cars waiting for repair to be parked outside. A repair shop is not the same as a salvage yard.
Caller: I really don't mean to be a pain the a** but Joe is a prick and if I have to follow the rules then he does too.
Me: You're right, we enforce the codes regardless of who is in violation and if you have any more complaints I'd be happy to check them out, but Joe's is not in violation.
Caller: I know something fishy is going on because he's a prick.
Me: If you have personal issues with Mr. Joe I am not going to get involved as those aren't relevant to enforcing the zoning code.
Caller: You're damn right I have an issue, he slept with my baby cousin in 1988 and he's been a prick to me ever since.
Me: Alright then, I have someone waiting at my door. Goodbye.
 

Gedunker

Moderating
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
11,391
Points
39
In the Spring of 1999, I got a dead-serious call from a woman that claimed to be a nurse, expressing the idea that the City demolish dilapidated houses in certain neighborhoods throughout the City. When I inquired why she thought that should be important, she explained that if the City tore them down and left them on-site, citizens would be able to salvage the wood framing, etc., for fuel once the power went out during Y2K.8-!:-o

**

The woman I had to "dumb-down" the fair housing act for, essentially explaining that the law meant she couldn't refuse to rent to someone that was black, or in a wheelchair, solely because they were black, or in a wheelchair. She immediately started in with how her husband fought in WWII to keep "Amurca" free, yada yada etc.

(I imagined her husband was a clerk somewhere in the rear while my father actually did clean the decks of his aircraft carrier of the blood of his friends who were killed when a Kamikaze struck his ship. I didn't go there ... )

It's no wonder we sometimes turn to American Champagne to wash it all away.:-D
 

mike gurnee

Cyburbian
Messages
3,066
Points
31
I cannot recall any specifics right now, but I love the calls from females...with a male voice in the background telling her what to say.

Then there is the one with a list of properties that should have violation notices. After some questioning I come to find out that she just divorced the owner.

And the fellow who does not want to make repairs to his rennovated hotel until his divorce is final. Making the repairs would increase his assets.
 

btrage

Cyburbian
Messages
6,423
Points
26
I cannot recall any specifics right now, but I love the calls from females...with a male voice in the background telling her what to say.
Or the ones who are calling you because their spouse isn't around to find out.
 

imaplanner

Cyburbian
Messages
6,673
Points
27
Another good one I had

Caller: Can you tell me what this notice I received is about?
Me: Sure, can you tell me the project name or the address?
Caller: I can't read and I can only make out phone numbers
Me: Oh Ok, Maybe you can tell me your address and I can try to find what project is proposed in your area that you would have received a notice for
Caller: I live down the street from Jim Bob
Me: How about an address
Caller: I don't know my address
Me: You don't know your address?
Caller: No
Me: Well then I don't think I can help you
Caller: Ok. Thanks anyways
Me: Have a good day
 

kms

Cyburbian
Messages
6,324
Points
36
I may have posted this before, but I took a call from a woman who wanted to know who could tell her whether the plant growing in her backyard was extinct.
 

ursus

Cyburbian, raised by Cyburbians
Messages
5,071
Points
25
I may have posted this before, but I took a call from a woman who wanted to know who could tell her whether the plant growing in her backyard was extinct.
:) :) :) here's how I imagine that as a perfect conversation...

Caller: Hi, who can tell me if the plant in my backyard is extinct?

kms: I can do that, ma'am. Can you describe the plant?

Caller: It's green, maybe a foot tall and has big, orange flowers at the top.

kms: Hmm, I'm just consulting my directory of extinct flora. It looks like what you've got is an Oriental Poppy.

Caller: Oh my goodness. Is that extinct?

kms: Yes, they are. You should call "Antique Roadshow" right away.

Caller: I'll do that! Thank You, you're very helpful.

kms: Have a nice day, get some rest. *click*

leaves office and tells everyone she'll be at lunch for the next 2 weeks....:)
 

kms

Cyburbian
Messages
6,324
Points
36
I thought that it was so amusing that I told her to call the Extension office and ask them. I couldn't keep that one to myself! :D
 

btrage

Cyburbian
Messages
6,423
Points
26
This thread reaffirms my belief in the democratic republic form of government. Some citizens just shouldn't be allowed to make decisions.
 

imaplanner

Cyburbian
Messages
6,673
Points
27
I may have posted this before, but I took a call from a woman who wanted to know who could tell her whether the plant growing in her backyard was extinct.
Caller: Is my plant extinct?
Me: Is it alive?
Caller: Yes
Me: Well then it's not extinct.
 

beach_bum

Cyburbian
Messages
3,427
Points
21
This thread reaffirms my belief in the democratic republic form of government. Some citizens just shouldn't be allowed to make decisions.
Absolutely!

Just recently I had a call from an appraiser (ok, not exactly the "public") who was adament that a regional trail shown on a map was a planned toll road. I spent like ten minutes on the phone with him showing him maps from the town web site. To top it off, he had never heard of the trail, ever....by the end he apologized for being an idiot :)
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
CPSURaf - Are "revenge signs" defined in your orinance?

I always enjoy reflecting on the call I got from a run-down, usually closed tavern. The septic was condemned and the owner (old guy) wanted the city to run sewer out to his property. I calmly explained that it was not something we would be inclined to do, since he was outside of the city. As he continued to insist, I then explained that in order to get sewer he would need to annex to the city, which meant that he would need to be contiguous, which meant that he would need to get everybody between his property and the current city limits to annex. Then he would be responsible for the cost of extending the sewer. Since it was mostly farmland, he would only have to convince perhaps 20 or so farmers to annex their land. Sewer ran about 100/LF at the time, and it would likely require a couple lift stations as well. Since he was about six miles outside of the city, he should budget six million for the project.

"I'm a taxpayer! I shouldn't have to pay!"

"Your property is not in the city. You do not pay city taxes. You are in the town of ___. You pay taxes to the town."

"But I have a city of ___ address."

"You are in the city of ___ zip code, but you are not in the city."

"You don't want economic development!"

Actually, that whole "live in the city" thing came up often. I once tried to get cable at my farmhouse on the edge of the city. The cable company insisted that I did not live in the city and they did not need to provide service. I gently explained that the property had been annexed ten years earlier and was in the city. They continued to disagree. I went so far as to explain that I worked for the city, I was responsible for many of the annexations, I prepared the official map, and I submitted the boundary description to the state. Never did convince them, though.
 

Gotta Speakup

Cyburbian
Messages
1,455
Points
21
Not a phone call, but an incident I witnessed while at our cities Inspectional Services Department.

Woman: Why can't I rent out my basement?
Clerk: It has no windows, only a single egress through another apartment and the bathroom was put in without a permit.
Woman: But I have a tenant willing to rent it.
 

Tom R

Cyburbian
Messages
2,274
Points
25
Fences

We just has a phone call complaint about a neighbor installing a INVISIBLE fence.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
28,266
Points
71
Very timely thread bump. We've all had callers who do the ham-handed name dropping thing. Well, the guy I just got off the phone with PREFACED his "question" with the name drop! I'm sure he thought he was leading with his highest trump card :-|8-!:-c:r::-::.... "Hi, my name is XXXX and I'm good friends with the Mayor, can you tell me if it's okay to open my new retail store in an industrial zone?"
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,313
Points
44
Just took this call, "Hey, RJ, is builders services still down in the old building or did they move into the new government center with you?"


Why didn't he call builders services? :huh: :u: :s:
 

Mastiff

Gunfighter
Messages
7,181
Points
30
Just took this call, "Hey, RJ, is builders services still down in the old building or did they move into the new government center with you?"


Why didn't he call builders services? :huh: :u: :s:
He was probably checking to see if you were still in the office! :D
 

ThePinkPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
365
Points
12
Skunks

This was my first week on the job 6 years ago and I still haven't forgotten it.

Caller: I'd like to complain about skunks in my yard.
Me: I would be happy to give you the number to animal control and they can help you if they believe they are rabid.
Caller: They are not rabid. And I don't want animal control.
Me: Ma'am. You've called the Planning Department.
Caller: I know. I did that on purpose.Please hear me out.
Me: Okay, go ahead.
Caller: Well the skunks are eating the bugs. (Long pause, assuming I'll see the obvious problem)
Me: Okay, well we don't regulate bugs either.
Caller: Well this IS your problem. The skunks are eating the bugs, the bugs are important for my garden. The landscape berm you approved last spring was essential in channeling the water properly for my garden. If the skunks are eating the bugs, and the bugs can't take care of my garden, what point is that berm you approved for me??!!

She hung up on me. Which is good because I had no response. And I was singing "the wrist bone's connected to the arm bone" for a month.
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,313
Points
44
Why I like going to work everyday...

Caller: "Would you be interested in selling one of your parks to my company? The one with the boat ramp..."
RJ: "That's unlikely. It's one of our most popular boat launch sites and we recently spent over a quarter million dollars in park and ramp upgrades."
Caller: "But I'd really like to incorporate the boat ramp and park into our planned nearby development."
RJ: "Do you realize your company has an application pending for a multi-family project on your property?"
Caller: "We do? Let me look into that and get back to you."

:r: :u: :huh:
 

wahday

Cyburbian
Messages
3,960
Points
23
Caller: Do you all need some bricks?
Me: I'm sorry, could you be more specific?
Caller: Yeah, I have 120 tons of brick I am looking to unload.
Me: Ok, well, we really don't need any bricks
Caller: You all build stuff, right? Houses?
Me: Well, yes, though none of them are brick
Caller: Well, the bricks came from down in your neighborhood originally and I bought them from the City 30 years ago and hauled them up to the West Mesa. But I haven't used them and I thought it would be nice for them to go back where they came from.

I wanted to ask "you mean the earth?" but I didn't have the heart.
 

Masswich

Cyburbian
Messages
1,303
Points
23
A woman named Comfort calls me occasionally just to say "God bless you." And me an atheist...
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,313
Points
44
We don't have control over the weather...

If you've followed the Strange demo thread in Make no Small Plans, this is related. I got the call this afternoon.

Caller: Who allowed those three townhouses to be demolished?
RJ: We issued a demolition permit.
Caller: Why did you do that?
RJ: The buildings were in poor structural condition and the owner made the request and builders services issued the permit.
Caller: Well, you shouldn't have done that. Now the sand from the beach is blowing up onto the road and into my yard!! That never happened before the demolition. I'm calling my Commissioner. Who is my Commissioner??
RJ: That would be Commissioner MT.

[click]

The old coot should have never bought property across the street from the beach. :huh: :s: :u:
 

TerraSapient

Cyburbian
Messages
2,588
Points
17
The old coot should have never bought property across the street from the beach. :huh: :s: :u:
Though not a call from the public, this one reminded me of an old neighbor of mine. All the houses on our side of the street were lake-front properties. The woman use to run outside with a broom and chase off the geese and ducks that came onto her yard. She would scream at them to get off her lawn. She was so obsessed and hated waterbirds so much that she would even try to chase them out of everyone else's yards. Why o why buy a home that is on a large body of water, where hundreds of water birds migrate, if you cannot stand water birds?
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,852
Points
39
If you've followed the Strange demo thread in Make no Small Plans, this is related. I got the call this afternoon.

Caller: Who allowed those three townhouses to be demolished?
RJ: We issued a demolition permit.
Caller: Why did you do that?
RJ: The buildings were in poor structural condition and the owner made the request and builders services issued the permit.
Caller: Well, you shouldn't have done that. Now the sand from the beach is blowing up onto the road and into my yard!! That never happened before the demolition. I'm calling my Commissioner. Who is my Commissioner??
RJ: That would be Commissioner MT.

[click]

The old coot should have never bought property across the street from the beach. :huh: :s: :u:
He should have been thrilled by his enhanced view of the beach with 3/4 of the building gone. Some people just love to rant and rave.:r:
 

Blide

Cyburbian
Messages
1,186
Points
18
We get calls as to whether we offer family planning services on a semi-regular basis. The callers always end up embarrassed, especially if they won't let us cut them off before they go into their particular problem.
 

Fat Cat

Cyburbian
Messages
1,683
Points
20
Fat Cat

At one place that I worked my direct phone line was the same as the District Court except for the last digit. I was always getting calls for District Court and I would explain that they had dialed the last digit incorrectly, some people hung up on me, some cursed, and some thanked me and then hung up, but the classic was when one guy called and kept cursing and I couldnt get a word in to explain about the wrong number, he identiified himself (gave me his name and appointed time to appear) and he then began to tell me (something along this line) that you bunch of #*###s can go **## yourselfs,:-c I am to busy to come in for the time you told me to and I will be in at such and such time. And than he hung up. I set there kind of stunned and then kind of smiled to myself and everyonce in awhile I have wondered what happened when he didnt show up and a warrent was probably issued for his arrest.:):D Sometimes there is "poetic" justice:D:D
 

HomerJ

Cyburbian
Messages
1,080
Points
16
I once had a woman call to complain about the grand opening of a fast food joint. The conversation started with her telling me she was a licensed engineer who was going to investigate the city's files and find out how such a facility could be approved...

...near the end of the conversation she was sobbing incoherently and talking about her cats. It got a little out of control :-c

I'll have people call to complain and rant about the city and when I finally get them to specify an intersection or street more than half the time they're talking about an area outside the city limits...
 

kjel

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
12,384
Points
39
I once had a woman call to complain about the grand opening of a fast food joint. The conversation started with her telling me she was a licensed engineer who was going to investigate the city's files and find out how such a facility could be approved...

...near the end of the conversation she was sobbing incoherently and talking about her cats. It got a little out of control :-c

I'll have people call to complain and rant about the city and when I finally get them to specify an intersection or street more than half the time they're talking about an area outside the city limits...
Sounds like an employee in the planning department I interned at in SC. She would frequently have conversations like this with John Q. Public dropping off an application or trying to obtain information. Once she told a man that she wasn't talking to him anymore and had to go take her "happy pill". She just walked away from him into her office and slammed the door leaving him standing at the counter. Naturally, the rest of the PD was at lunch or out in the field except me.
 

imaplanner

Cyburbian
Messages
6,673
Points
27
Sounds like an employee in the planning department I interned at in SC. She would frequently have conversations like this with John Q. Public dropping off an application or trying to obtain information. Once she told a man that she wasn't talking to him anymore and had to go take her "happy pill". She just walked away from him into her office and slammed the door leaving him standing at the counter. Naturally, the rest of the PD was at lunch or out in the field except me.
My last place of employment had a planner exactly like that as well. Exactly like this.
 

HomerJ

Cyburbian
Messages
1,080
Points
16
Sounds like an employee in the planning department I interned at in SC. She would frequently have conversations like this with John Q. Public dropping off an application or trying to obtain information. Once she told a man that she wasn't talking to him anymore and had to go take her "happy pill". She just walked away from him into her office and slammed the door leaving him standing at the counter. Naturally, the rest of the PD was at lunch or out in the field except me.

I've occasionally gotten to the point where I thought I was going to lose it, but thankfully never raised my voice or snapped at someone in these situations. Part of that is because the higher ups are pretty supportive and don't leave me hanging out to dry...
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,313
Points
44
Caller: I want to set-up a hot dog stand and your staff told me I couldn't.
RJ: That's correct, sir. Temporary uses are not listed as permitted in our commercial zone districts. And a recent ordinance adopted by our Board requires all commercial and industrial uses be conducted within a permanent structure on a permanent foundation.
Caller: But I've got a Constitutional right as an eight-year military veteran to open a business and make a living.
RJ: Well, I'm not a Constitutional lawyer, sir, but you certainly have an opportunity to open a business, just not as a temporary use.
Caller: You'll telling me I can't make a living and provide for my family and improve our economy?
RJ: No, I telling you you can't open a hot dog stand in a trailer as a temporary use.
Caller: That's just un-American. What's the reason for this rule?
RJ: The thinking is it puts you at an unfair advantage over the the brick and mortars....etc., etc., etc.
Caller: All those fancy restaurants started in a temporary trailer.

This went on for 15-minutes. :wall:
 

WSU MUP Student

Cyburbian
Messages
10,371
Points
43
I never know if this thread makes me happy I don't deal directly with the public or sad because I get to miss out on all the shenanigans.
 

Planit

Cyburbian
Messages
12,845
Points
51
A couple weeks ago Building Inspections caught a guy building an addition to a detached garage without a permit. They went and checked it out and turned out to be 2 bedrooms, a bath, kitchen and living room. They came in to get permits and it wasn't permitted, wasn't built to code, etc.

Daughter called this morning and now claims it is a barn and should be exempt under the AG provisions. The only way that could be a barn if it was for Arnold Ziffel from Green Acres.
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,313
Points
44
Wow!!!

Call from a woman today....here are the abbreviated highlights...

Wants to operate a bed and breakfast inn
House is +5,800 square foot, 6 bedroom, 6 bathroom and appraised at +$1.2 million
Her 20 year old brother inherited the house from the trust that pays the mortage but he lives in Orlando
Her stepfather, former house owner, died in a crash as the pilot of general aviation aircraft in 2008 at the age of 57...also aboard: his 21 year old mistress who survived with minor injuries
The 21 year old is the daughter of the next door neighbor of the proposed b & b
Stepfather had lost his pilot's license and had cocaine in his system when he crashed in the Gulf
21 year old was awarded $275K in a settlement agreement

Some people really spill their guts...that's really more than I need to know.
 

RandomPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
1,715
Points
25
Artwork

Our Building Inspector and Fire Department were out inspecting after a recent fire. Apparently a 2 or 3 bedroom house had somewhere along the way built 7 or 8 additions without any permits. Each bedroom had a small door (some references to hobbits were made) at the rear that led to another bedroom... with a small door at the rear leading to another bedroom... with a small door at the rear leading to another bedroom... All in all, 13 people were displaced in the fire (no one hurt, thank God) and when asked why the homeowner didn't go through proper procedure for the additions, she assured us that they weren't additions; they were art projects! :-o
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,313
Points
44
Two today...:facepalm: :facepalm:

Real estate agent: I want to know if this platted, vacant lot is buildable.
RJ: What's the parcel ID number or the address?
REA: 123 Any Street.
RJ: It's buildable because the aerial shows there's a house on the property.
REA: Maybe that's the wrong address. I don't have my file with me. I'll call you back later.

See called back later with the correct address.
______________________________

Caller: I want to know my zoning.
RJ: It's zoned R-1, single-family residential.
Caller: Can you tell me if I'm in the city or the county?

Caller paid $995K for the house in June of this year.
 
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