My township has fined me $5000 for my garden...
........claiming my garden blocks rainwater from getting to my own sewer on my property. Guess who my neighbor is?
Perhaps some of you may remember that I posted a while ago about some problems that I was having with my neighbor who is the commissioner, and his son who lives next door to me. They planted over 40 trees along the fence including leyland cypress to block my garden. Well, it has gotten much worse.
*This story is being published in a well known newspaper tomorrow in my region*
So, 3 years ago I built a pretty expansive garden on my property. I have grown just about everything. In that time, I have been able to loose over 85 pounds and get my life back on track, living a much healthier lifestyle. I was tired of being fat and unhealthy and decided that planting my own food was the best approach at changing my life. Through my garden, my mother was able to help nearly cure her diabetes after i convinced her to start eating food that i grew from my garden. Today she is off of all of her insulin and diabetic medication.
The problem? My neighbor just happens to be the commissioner in my town. My other neighbor, just happens to be his son. They have made it fairly public that they hate my garden. After i went door to door and had an overwhelming majority of people who live on my street sign a chicken petition, things started to take a curious turn. So curious that my commissioner neighbor and his son, purchased over 40 trees and planted them all in a line right along my property fence to block my garden. He then had the audacity to question my neighbors and ask them why they signed my chicken petition.
It's a long story, but to keep it short, the township sent me a letter claiming that my garden was restricting rainwater from reaching a sewer grate located on my property. We live at the bottom of a hill, so this could never physically be true. The township cites that this water restriction had been, "brought to their attention", by an unnamed source.
We sent certified letters to the township asking for proof that our garden blocks rainwater, and we also asked for proof of the complaint that was called into them. The township ignored our requests and failed to respond to any of our letters. After some time had passed, we received a letter from the township stating that if we did not remove or relocate our garden, they would begin fining us. The township code officer told us we had 7 days to respond to his letter. So, we called his office to talk to him, and what a coincidence, he just happened to go on vacation, so that we could not respond to him in the allotted time frame.
So, we ended up calling and talking to the township administrator. After a lengthy debate the township finally conceded and agreed to send an engineer to evaluate our property to prove what they were saying was true. Guess what? The engineer never came, the township never contacted us and on one fine day we received an envelope in the mail with 3 fines for nearly 700 each claiming that we were in violation for restricting/obstructing stormwater. The citations read that we had 10 days to respond and plead not guilty. Guess what? One of our citations were already 10 days old on the day that we received them. On the very next day, we received 4 more citations for again nearly 700 a piece claiming the same violations.
It still amazes me that this is the world we live in sometimes. People who hold positions of office just do whatever they want. They ignore laws and act as if they can get away with anything they want. Well, i decided to call every newspaper and television news station in my area. One newspaper is running the story tomorrow, and a second one just sent their photographer. I've had tv stations call me back and I am hoping it makes the evening news. At this point, we are going to have to get a lawyer. I know some of you could care less about an organic garden. But for me, this is about a whole lot more, such as property rights and personal freedom. And those two things are worth fighting for.