Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Crisis In Ogden, Utah: City Orders Cardboard Play Fort Razed

The cardboard castle in Ogden, Utah, that has
some city officials up in arms.  
A dad in Ogden, Utah had a whole bunch of big empty boxes. He must have made some big appliance purchases or something.

He was going to throw them out or recycle the cardboard, of course, but first he decided he'd have a little fun.

Jeremy Trentelman built a giant castle out of the boxes, complete with a  slide, trap door, tunnel and windows  or his two young children, ages 3 and 2, reported the Salt Lake Tribune.

Trentelman said he was going to take the cardboard castle down soon. After all, cardboard isn't all that durable in the outdoors.

Now he's going to leave it up longer. Because Ogden City Code Enforcement swooped down quickly.

The enforcement officers said the castle constitutes "waste materials or junk," and he would have to take the castle down within 15 days or face $125 in fines.

"It was a great project for all of us to build, and now it's just fun watching them play in it, and watching their imagination run wild is just fantastic," Trentelman said.

Trentelman said it's absurd that code enforcement acted so instantaneously, so he's going to keep the cardboard castle up longer, out of spite.

Like all code enforcement department's Ogden's is understandably worried about piles of materials that could pose fire, safety and health risks. Secondarily, they want to keep the city looking pretty.

Which all means there's good reason for most city zoning codes, in Ogden and everywhere else.

What gets me is when zoning officers strictly enforce city ordinances in a way that make no sense. Clearly, the Ogden cardboard castle wasn't going to be there forever. Maybe the city prefers children not play outside or use their imaginations.

Maybe code enforcers they feel they have to enforce the codes when they make no sense, because, after all, they do have to follow the law.

That's when you get stupid things like crackdowns on Little Free Libraries. Those are little kiosks that people put in front of their houses so people can voluntarily put books in, then take them out for awhile to read, then put back in the kiosk.

Nice thing, but code enforcers say those are structures. You can't have a fun little convenient little free library.

Some cities said they would allow the Little Free Libraries only if people pay for permits, and they can get the money to do that from local arts organizations, say these crack code enforcers.

Or as The Atlantic put it:

"We've constructed communities where one must obtain prior permission from agents of the state before freely sharing books with one's neighbors! And their proposed solution is to get scarce public arts funds to pay for the needless layer of bureaucracy being imposed on the thing already being done for free."

There've also been big crackdowns on people who dare to plant vegetable gardens in their front yards.

Apparently, your front lawn is supposed to be a useless expanse of wasteful grass, and not something that can provide food, and, if properly cared for, some beauty to a neighborhood.

In most of the enforcement of libraries, gardens and in the Ogden castle, action was prompted by an anonymous complaint. Apparently every neighborhood has at least one miserable killjoy who can't STAND to see anyone have any kind of fun, and in their wimpy, anonymous fashion, try to put a stop to it.

Back in Ogden, a protest movement is growing. The Salt Lake Tribune said a Facebook event is on calling for people to build cardboard castles in their front lawns.

No comments:

Post a Comment