Mow your lawn or go to jail


Why? Why? Why?

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She got the wrong judge. Several years ago a Nashville neighbor of mine was asked by the city to fill in her pool, which had become a rotten, festering stinkhole of algae, mosquito larvae, and drowned dogs. She had abandoned the house and was allowing an accountant friend to use it for his business (in violation of zoning laws). The yard surrounding the pool was a mess too.

She explained to the judge that there was a chance she might want at some point in the undetermined future to use the pool. That was good enough to get her off the hook.

Edit: I didn’t want my neighbor to go to jail. Even though her neglect created a hazard even a few hours in jail wouldn’t have solved anything. I merely bring up my experience to show how amazingly inconsistent the treatment in these situations can be.

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Why? Because she neglected her yard for 12 YEARS. Not for 12 days, or a month, or even all summer. She has been to court about this issue before - even states it in the article. Of course, the pictures that they used in the article don’t look so bad, but I know exactly where this house is and have driven by it several times. I honestly thought it was abandoned.

Frankly, if you want to be able to let your house fall to pieces, go live outside of the city limits, but if you move into the city then you need to obey the codes. You’re not only creating a safety issue for yourself, but for your neighbors when you create a literal rats nest.


Why should anyone ever have to do this destructive work? Why? Why?

Just because someone hasn’t burned tires or burned poison ivy for twelve years isn’t enough to reasonably demand that they burn tires or burn poison ivy now.

(I am biased. I think it is pointless destruction regardless, but it is likely to be pointlessly noisy pointless destruction too. And constant noise bombardment from this and that, combined with head-splitting noise bombardment from backup beepers several times daily, are driving me to despair. If I don’t kill myself first, then the backup beepers and sirens and flashing lights will kill me sooner or later. I have already often collapsed in sheer pain when these things hit my while I am crossing the road.)


Welcome to the boards.

I didn’t see anything in the article that suggested the property was unsafe or a “literal rats nest.” Or that she was cited for letting her house fall to pieces. It looks pretty sound to me.


It doesn’t look that bad to me. There are plenty of houses that look like this. I wouldn’t really want to live next door, admittedly.


As I said, they picked pictures for the article that made it look not so bad. My parents live in Lenoir City so I drive by there often.

Also, where in the world are you getting the idea that someone is having to burn tires or poison ivy? All she has to do is take her crap to the dump and let it be disposed of. The trash collection center is less than 2 miles away. If she’s got health issues I guarantee that all she has to do is ask for help and one of the many churches near her house would help, or Scouts, or Rotary, or Jaycees, etc. She’s making a choice not to fix the issue, period.

Codes exist to not only protect people who know no better from themselves (yes, I know, I’m attracting the Ayn Randians with that statement) but to protect the property values of others around them. That’s one of the benefits of living inside of the city limits - just like enhanced police and fire protection. If you don’t want to abide by those rules you don’t have to - you can live outside of those city limits. This is not a house that was recenty annexed into the city - it’s near the original center of town.


A destructve act, which is why I compared it to other destructive acts.

On that note, you obviously haven’t lived with major disabilities. Nobody else ever understands. Everybody else either expects you to be able to do what you can’t, or doesn’t expect you to be able to do what you can, or unknowingly hurts you, or mocks you, or deliberately hurts you.

Many bad policies have protected property values. Such as prohibiting clotheslines, requiring watering lawns, and worse, prohibiting sales to anyone but whites, stop and frisk, criminalizing the homeless, and criminalizing trans people. So when you point out something that this has with other bad policies, that isn’t anything to suggest it is a good policy.


How much did it cost to take her to court and jail her for 6 hours?

How much would a gang of labourers to clear the yard have cost? (how about people serving community service orders?)


Seriously? They sent someone to jail over that? That looks like half the houses in my neighbourhood. I personally like a bit more clear yard space, but would take exactly no offence at all if my neighbour preferred to keep more brush like that.

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That’s what puzzled me. I thought the standard setup was that a city would send a crew out to take care of it and add the cost onto the property tax bill. The community service twist is a nice one I haven’t heard before.

I wondered if the jails had been privatized along with prisons.


Get Off Her Lawn!


“I feel like I’m being bullied,” she added.

Yeah! And I feel like the government’s constantly bullying me to pay taxes, drive the speed limit, and all this other crap I don’t want to be bothered with. Just leave me alone, right?


Realistically that is what our local ordinance laws would have done in the first place. The city would have come and cleaned her property, then probably fined her and sent her the bill.


They probably have, several times. People who don’t take care of their lawn never pay the bill either. I lived next to some deadbeats (they eventually abandoned the house entirely) who didn’t take care of the lawn and the city came out twice a year to cut it and sent them a bill. Last I heard all of those bills were included on a lien against the property once it foreclosed.


I am pretty sure there’s an entire lawnmowing/gardening industry that is built on people not taking care of their lawns but paying their bills.

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Unless her health issue is depression, which is very very likely. In that case, just asking for help can amount to one of the Labors of Hercules.


Well as a local, I consider it to be a good policy. We get to choose where we live. If we feel like the rules of a homeowners’ association are too strict, we go elsewhere. If we don’t like the ordinances of a particular city or county, we can choose to go somewhere else. Just because codes protect property values it doesn’t mean that they are rooted in greed. Safety is certainly a big factor in this case.

As for saying that getting rid of poison ivy and trash is destructive? Let me get my weed killer and garbage can. Not everything that is destructive is negative.

And no, I’ve never had to live with a disability. As a matter of fact, I don’t know any disabled people. I know a guy that was born blind who is not only an invited member of a Native American Dance Team, but he’s a sign language interpreter (let that one sink in). I have a friend that doesn’t take off his left shoe as much as he removes the bottom half of his left leg. I know a few people with some challenges, but none that are disabled.

Oh, and for everybody that likes to project whatever pet issues that they have onto this poor woman being taken advantage of by the system - who by the way had no problems with taking interviews for the three local TV news outlets (WBIR, WVLT, WATE), watch the more in-depth coverage on WBIR. I like WVLT, but they really just glossed over the story. She doesn’t even live in the house - it’s one that her family bought in 2002 and is trying to “fix up.” Sounds like she’s seen a few too many episodes of “House Flippers,” and thought that she could do it herself.



Did you get a taste of at least mid-strength depression? Or did any of your friends?
Spoiler: it’s ugly.