Boy, 9, creates library in his front yard. City, stupid, shuts it down



The city bans buildings that aren’t attached to someone’s home

His little bookshelf is considered… a building? I’ve had garden hose containers bigger than what’s pictured in the story. Would I need a permit for them? Maybe he should stock his library with books on Civics and Engineering.


Stupid, yes, but it seems this isn’t about shutting down a kid sharing his love of books. It seems the problem is building, and albeit small, external structure without permission. It’s petty and stupid and there’s a whole spirit/letter of the law argument, but no one is saying he can’t do the Little Free Library thing.

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It really isn’t the city…
It is a couple of asshole neighbors

Leawood said it has received two complaints about Spencer Collins' library.

We have one of those in our block – drives the building code guy nuts, but if somebody complains then he needs to take action.


First its a little library, then next thing you know the kid is letting hobos set up tents on the lawn, and erecting oil derricks.


I’ve seen bird houses larger then that library


So…birdhouses are in violation. Brilliant.


The city is DEEPLY stretching the definition of “building” under the International Residential Code - “Any structure used or intended for supporting or sheltering any use or occupancy.” Since the thing can’t be occupied it would seem not to be a building at all. This is also in a city that per their own codes doesn’t require permits for “swingsets and playground equipment”, which this could possibly be described as, since it is a fun structure for the purpose of enjoyment by kids and their families. If they don’t issue permits for mailboxes, birdhouses, milk boxes, tool boxes, or garden hose reels, then they shouldn’t be lumping this tiny toy library into an inappropriate bucket.

And to the comment that they “have to do something” because there were complaints - that just isn’t true. Cities aren’t under any obligation to find the 5 most obnoxious people in their community and then do everything that group says (unless they are elected, haha!). My mother grows tall native prairie grasses in her Colorado lawn, and when a complaint was received about “uncut grass” in her lawn the city talked with her, learned that the grasses were native species, and added a specific exception in the grass maintenance ordinances that allow for native plants.


Its sad but not uncommon for kids to have a lot more sense and decency than adults. I wonder how proud those neighbors must be to have shut down a bright friendly little kid. I’m glad his parents are supporting him.


Can someone explain the reasoning behind not allowing any accessory detached buildings? Is it a safety argument somehow or just aesthetic? In most cities I believe accessory buildings don’t require permits until they are of a certain size, which I imagine is argued on the grounds of safety and, perhaps, assessment. I can deal with that. But to to ban them completely? I don’t understand.


Good god. What the fuck is wrong with…

Oh, it’s Kansas.


None of us is as dumb as all of Kansas us


A possible avenue would be to make it mobile - attach it to a sturdy wagon so it can be moved around. Then it isn’t a building! This is a popular loophole for people who build “tiny houses” that don’t meet normal codes - just make it an RV and then you only have to meet RV requirements.


Uh . . . we ARE talking about Kansas here. Parking an RV on the lot is just asking for a tornado to saunter by.


Okay, so if such a small thing is considered to be a house, who would live there? Garden gnomes?

Seriously, though, what about dog houses? Bird houses? Backyard chicken coops? Hothouses? Garden and tool sheds? Detached garages?


Didn’t think of that… The complaints probably came about because the books did not meet certain dogmatic criteria.


Well how the hell is the Governor supposed to slash the budget for libraries, if one do-gooder kid can undo all his hard work? What’s next - underground schools that teach girls how to read?


“Duh - hurr - just dem cuntry bumpkins in Kansayus. We’s don’t need no book lerning heer. Yeehaw!”

Actually it’s the complete opposite of that. Leawood is one of the most affluent, educated, and expensive cities in Kansas. It’s a suburb of Kansas City in the fairly-well-to-do Johnson Co. My friends parents live there and it is a NICE area. Many of the communities are gated. They don’t want the kid’s little book house trashing the place up. Simple as that. Other suggestions like chicken coops (lol, no), sheds, or detached garages are, I am sure, a no-no.

This link shows you just how well off the city is compared to rest of the state and the nation.


I hope you’re not in any way expressing sympathy for the living garbage who made the complaint?