9 votes

Senior Oklahoma Land Owner Pushed Around by Code Enforcement - Need Advice

One of the best fellows you'll ever meet is being pushed around by his local city code department in a small town in Oklahoma. City says the man has too much stuff in his yard.

Landowner bought the land years ago and built the house by his own hands. At that time his land was in the country and only later did the city annex his land into the local city limits. Landowner is now 72 and retired from the oil field business.

Landowner is a tinkerer type of fellow and likes to buy equipment, scrap metal, and your average everyday cool stuff that people collect. Landowners neighbor calls the collection trash and keeps reporting him to the city. Land owner has cleaned up the side and front yards, but now the judge/code folks want to charge landowner with running a scrap yard. Funny thing is landowner doesn't sell his collection he just likes to buy stuff. Landowner's dream is to build a small community gathering spot with live music and good food.

Need a general direction to head in as far as legality. I've told him that the local govt is more concerned with their lack of taxes than his natural born rights to own his land and live in peace. Anyone got any expereince here ? Oklahoma I hear is more "free" than a lot of others. Landower will have a court date in a few days.



Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

UPDATE.... After Seeing the Judge

Good to hear my pals voice on the phone this afternoon he was worried they were gonna lock him up if he didn't have any money to pay the small fines. Such a shame one has to worry so much at that age.

Had three charges, more info later tonight: Pleaded guilty to outside storage violation.... $500 out of his pocket. Pleaded NOT guilty to salvage yard and that I think will be going to court in early June. More info to come. Thanks for the prayers.

Ramblin Randy

UPDATE..... Monday Morning

Talked on the phone to Mr (Dreamer) today and told him his ACE CARD was to just stand there asking the judge "What is the Definition of Salvage Yard", and to stand waiting till he gets an answer. Am told in 10 years he's never even had a yard sale... sells very little if close to nothing. I think IRS says $600 a year in yardsale profits is ok.

Mr (dreamer) is a quick study and shoots back to me that he also wants to know "What is the Definition of Public Nusicance ). Another charge on his shoulders.

I let him know people are pray'n for him and cheering him on....!!!!!

Ramblin Randy

I love old men.

Especially the curmudgeons.
You might tell him to look into making his place a "museum." Put little labels on a bunch of stiff, call it "The Tinkering Museum."
My only other thought is that every time the judge asks him "Why?" about ANY of it, his reply ought to be "because it makes me happy."

Love or fear? Choose again with every breath.

My News Tip to the Local Paper

(I'm holding back on names and location waiting to see where the first steps lead in court today... names and town names used below are edited)

NEWS TIP - (town edited) Cheerleder in Court Today...
Mr (dreamer) is a man with a BIG DREAM, a man with the energy of three people, a man a mere 72 years young. When the big auto swap meet arrives each year in (podunk), local gearheads know all too well the enthusiasm Mr. (dreamer) holds for (podunk) OK.

Unfortunately, the bright wonderful dream Mr (dreamer) holds for (podunk) (he doesn't advertise his dream but it's golden... matches his heart and spirit ) and anyway it is now in limbo as the city's code division apparently holds a quite different view for (podunk). The crazy thing here is Mr (dreamer) built his home by his own hands and when built decades ago the town limit was in a far off distance. Today his land sits within the town limits, and in court today he's feeling the hands of government reaching into his pockets. Time will tell if this possibly unconstitutional reach is in the best interest for the town of (podunk).

Court Date Today 2pm in (podunk).... Multiple Code Infractions.
Mr. (dreamer) can not afford legal representation. He does have people across the fruited plains and interwebs praying and cheering for him.

Ramblin Randy

Local story in the paper today...

The biggest connection to your story is possibly the fact that if you happen to wander into Ralph's and ask to buy something he will tell you it is not for sale - it is part of his collection. Anyhoo, thought I'd share:

http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AI...

Ralph Sternberg’s antique shop is a sight.

Phonograph horns and massive model airplanes dangle from the ceiling. Aisles are packed with breakable ceramic and porcelain, old radios, figurines, trinkets, pianos, signs, costumes, uniforms.

It might be more time-efficient to start naming items the shop doesn’t have, the most obvious being substantial walking room.

“I can’t give you the measurement, but it’s a full corner,” said Sternberg, 86, owner of Ralph’s Old Tyme Piano Co. “There’s a five-room apartment upstairs full of junk, too. I utilize every space, the ceiling and the floor.”

It’s a fairly sizable property at 1019 Main St. near downtown Green Bay, with a couple of thousand square feet stocked to the brim with treasures. It appears a bit strewn before looking closer to see how everything is meticulously organized by theme.

In the back of the store, in the middle of the chaotic collection, is Sternberg, with personality bigger than body, eager to laugh and tell stories. Like the time he sold a taxidermy bear and a bicycle to a sailor in town off of a ship.

“I held my side, because here he is riding that bicycle with that big bear strapped to his back heading back to the ship.’’

Sternberg has made a second home for himself among true valuables and scrappy ornaments. He’s ferociously dedicated, from collecting parts and continuing to do precision repair work to staying open nearly all the time.

“I’m here every day of the week, including Sundays,” he said. “I never close — only on my birthday.”

The reason for that dedication is his demeanor as much as his savvy.

“I’m a fair man, yet I’m a shrewd man,” Sternberg said. “You have to be.

“I try to be fair, but I still have to buy. I have to buy as cheap as I can buy it, and I’m gonna sell it for as much as I can get. I’m willing to wheel and deal.”

Sternberg worked for Red Owl grocery stores for most of his post-Navy life, retired at 55 and has been running his antiques store in one form or another for the past 45 years. He travels around the area to various auctions, snatching up everything from model cars to real cars.

Since starting, he has nurtured four other affiliated antiques shops in Appleton, Egg Harbor, Kewaunee and Little Chute, which are operated by his daughter, Amy.

But in recent years, it’s not as if the antiques business has been hugely lucrative. Sternberg recognizes that struggle and realizes sometimes it’s just the way things go.

“It’s drying up. The antique business is done,’’ he says frankly.

“Right now a lot of people are destitute and money’s tight, so you have to wheel and deal. People are looking for gas and cereal for their kids. That’s what they’re looking for.”

There are plenty of occasions — probably too many — when the store is full of people and he doesn’t sell a thing, he said.

“(There are) a lot of lookers. Everybody says they’re just looking,” Sternberg said. “I had a lady and man spend three hours here. They looked at everything. I was going to give them a a dust rag so they could dust everything. They didn’t buy anything.”

In the face of endless lookers and slow afternoons, however, Sternberg has no intention of stopping. He still has his sights set on a few specific items: a complete Edison phonograph collection and a high-wheel bicycle.

“I’m gonna get one someday, but I want to get a good one,” he said. “I buy the meat-and-potatoes stuff, the stuff I know is going to be around for a hundred years.”

Chalk Sternberg’s persistence up to doing something he loves.

“It’s been exciting and fun. I would do it again if I had the chance.” he said. “I’m just gonna go to the end. I hope I can live another 10 years. It’d be nice. If the old body holds out, I’ll be here.”

Pandacentricism will be our downfall.

This group may be able to help

Oklahoma property rights association

http://www.copra.us/about-us/

Property Values vs People Values

The Copra website is all about preserving property values. The problem my friend is having is that his nosey neighbor can't mind his own business. Nosey neighbor wants a pretty neighborhood, with generic sheeple as neighbors.

Maybe I'm countrified but I believe that one should be able to do what ever you want to your own property ( paint house pink, build a 3 story dinosaur replica, whatever ) as long as you don't cause enviromental damage that would spill over the property line. I say "so what" if my neighbor collects old boats or whatever.... that's his right and I just let him go about his life and mine.

Ramblin Randy

If they are trying to charge

If they are trying to charge him with running a scrap yard, you will need the exact definition of a scrap yard. If he doesnt sell anything and the definition includes that some sort of business must take place, should be a win I would think.

To climb the mountain, you must believe you can.

Doing What I Can...

A few years back I owned a house outside of Atlanta. One summer I bought the vintage travel trailer of my dreams, but when the local code officer told me I couldn't keep my 1964 Shasta Camper in my own front drive way I was shocked. Sold that house at the top of the realestate market and got the hell out of that cookie cutter neighborhood.

Why do people want to live next to other people who walk talk and crap all the same.... what's wrong with a little spice and flavor in ones neighbors ????

I'm on the East Coast and wish I could be by his side this week when he goes to see the judge. I'll be running all the advice past him Sunday night. Thanks to all.

Ramblin Randy

You're awesome

Your friend is lucky to have a friend like you.

Seems to me he's being harrassed and I would begin by going to a mediator, or public law library, or a paralegal, and get help with the neighbor, and the city. He has the RIGHT to live in peace.

I'm really sorry this is happening to your friend and I will lift you both up in prayer that PEACE is near and your friend prevail.

Contact local media with the

Contact local media with the details of your story.

I'd start here: http://www.news9.com/category/156309/about-us

Local Media.... ?

I'm not sure they are on our side anymore....

Ramblin Randy

The Federal Reserve system is the problem.

When Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act corporations could form an alliance with government.

Government would regulate competitors of those allies (cronies). Government's allies can maximize profits.

End the Fed and facism and bring back free markets.

Short term, I don't know. This is a problem from coast to coast.

This is just a township claiming to be zoned and having the right to impose the will of the voting minority on the rest of us. The townmship has stolen my money, also.

Free includes debt-free!

Time Running Out

BUMP... Any Advice or Direction

Ramblin Randy