Unfair Application

The Ordinance is schizophrenic. It purports to preserve the architectural standards of the Territorial period but then conveniently (for the historicals, that is) includes anything older than 50 years as a “landmark.” (Ordinance, p. 5) Say what? A fifty year old landmark from the Territorial period?

So, if a person has a 50 year old camper trailer, will that be permitted? No. Why not? Because poverty is literally a crime in Zone B. Of course, the historicals will say that RVs and camper trailers weren’t part of the Territorial period. But the real reason is that, in the eyes of many of the historicals, it is a symbol of poverty and poverty is just not welcome in the historical district. More than one homeowner has said they intend to keep trailers (implying their attendant resident human trash and problems) out of the historical district. Unfortunately for the historicals, this is also housing discrimination. Also unfortunately for the historicals is that anyone who tries to use the laws to practice discrimination too often become the very kind of human trash they are trying to keep out.

But this housing discrimination is written into the very ordinance! Only the wealthy who can afford an RV as well as a place to keep it out of sight from the highway are permitted to remain peacefully in the district. It is also a written requirement (that somehow seems to avoid enforcement by the county) that all new construction projects should be completed within one year – a requirement only wealthy homeowners could possibly live up to.

In Zone B, there are 3 or perhaps 4 intact houses that might come from the Territorial period (albeit significantly modified and modernized) along with several places of disintegrating rubble heaps that may or may not come from that time period. There are approximately 200 properties (Note: we are in the process of making a more accurate count) with houses within the historical districts. The ordinance’s jurisdiction is based on what tourists might see from the highway and extends to a half mile on either side of the road. Houses vary as to how much of their property is visible and obstructive facades and walls and vegetation are accepted as a “cover” to allow owners to build what they like so long as it isn’t seen from the road.

This results in greater application of the ordinance upon a relatively small percentage of property owners whose property is more visible from the road. And, generally speaking it is those whose properties are conveniently out of sight from the road who are the ordinance’s most ardent supporters.

Technology which was not present in the Territorial period is permitted but only on an arbitrary basis. Automobiles and electrical and phone wires and poles which were not invented until after the Territorial period had ended are permitted but satellite dishes are arbitrarily forbidden. Is it a historical zone or not? Forbid the automobiles and utility poles if it is. But no one will abandon their electricity or transportation luxuries and the prohibition of satellite dishes impacts only the properties on the north side of the road but not those on the south just as properties that are not visible from the road, even though within the half mile jurisdiction, are free from the ordinance.

But all of these inconsistencies pale in contrast to the different standards by which various people are allowed to do what they want with their property. Perhaps the greatest (but by no means only) contrast is L.M. Smith’s Pennsylvania-Dutch barn. He can keep this complete aberration while a poor old woman down the road is not allowed to have a chicken coop that has a slanted roof and a, God forbid!, all white door. A previous renter was harassed over a bench placed on a Zone A business but the current renter, board member Katherine Marsh, displays all manner of things around her benches. (Note: Once this is published, there will likely be a change and any admittance of it ever happening will be appropriately excused.)

One resident, because he has money and lawyers, has been able to maintain the name of his “ranch” on his gate but a newcomer was quickly forced to remove the name they gave their property from their gate. Reginald Richey can build his Swiss chalet and Dick Adams his stucco mansion on a hill and Richard Farnsworth’s son can have his Hollywood western log fantasy and all these newcomers can come in and build their mansions too – completely changing the “flavor” and “atmosphere” of Zone B – but anyone whom the board can bully into submission is fair game. And now, it’s okay to threaten to burn someone out whom the board doesn’t like (so long as you use veiled implications).

No. None of this is okay. It never was and it never will be. Whoever concocted this scheme and whoever perpetuates it should be ashamed of themselves.