How to deal with City Inspectors

Posted: January 5, 2013 in Urban farming

How to deal with the City when your evil neighbors call in to complain about your chickens (and your car).

1)  Deny everything.  City Inspector:  So, this isn’t your driveway?  Where is your driveway?  Ken:  Well, I’m not going to tell you that.  City Inspector, surveying the house which approximates the size of a cardboard box in disbelief, “You’re not going to tell me where your driveway is?”

2) Do not stare at the City Inspector with the facial tic.  It does not matter if his face has convulsed 12 times in 5 minutes.  He’s clearly the brawn of the operation and the backup for the petite gal with the clipboard.

3)  Refuse to put the dogs away.  Petite City Inspector, regarding the slavering 100 pound akitas, “Can you put your dogs away?”  Ken, “Oh, that’s okay, they’re fine.”

4)  Know your city ordinances.  Petite City Inspector, “OK, so the chicken coop is at least 20 feet from all property lines?”  Me, “Yep.  One is just under (facial convulsion from the larger Inspector who does not actually speak much) 20 feet and 2 inches, but yes.”  Petite City Inspector, “And there are not more than 5?”  Me, waving at the slavering 100 pound akitas, who have not yet stopped barking, “5?  No.  We only have 3 because we have these two dogs.” Petite City Inspector, “oh.  Right.” (Facial spasm from Hulking City Inspector.)

5)  Deny access to private property.  Hulking City Inspector, “can we look at your backyard?”  Me, surprised he has finally spoken, “No, you cannot look at our backyard.”  Meanwhile, I’m thinking, hell, no, you can’t look at the backyard, there are chickens running loose back there against City Ordinance!

6)  Begin quizzing the City Inspectors on things your neighbors do that might be reportable.  Also, inform them that the evil neighbors pulled down the common fence without your permission. Wax philosophical about that topic.  Ask about the semis that drive down the street.  Inquire about the lack of a Stop Sign at the adjacent intersection.   True, the City Inspectors will start backing away towards their vehicle at this point, asking, “so, do you officially want to file a report?”, but, now, you have them on the defensive.

7)  Follow this visit up with a phone call the next Monday.  Complain again about the evil neighbors, but do not file any actual reports.  One McCarthian busy body in the ‘hood is plenty.  Explain at length where the chicken coop (newly built, but do not mention that it is newly built) is located.  Provide more details.  Ask for a call back.

You’ll never hear from them again.

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