Entry: Fun with city code enforcement Friday, June 25, 2004

Time to complain about the previous owners of my house again... Yes, it's only been a couple of weeks and there's a new and exciting issue that they neglected to tell us about.

Our driveway is mostly old gravel with some grass. There's a four foot strip at the end that's paved but that's it. We've talked for a while about how nice it would be if we could afford to have the whole thing paved. The way it looks I figured we'd probably have trouble with the city sooner or later if I at least didn't get it regraveled.

And we got a couple of flyers from paving companies offering free estimates so I thought I'd check it out.

As an apparent "sales" tactic one of the guys asked me if the city was after us about getting the driveway paved. I told him we had just been talking about doing it because we thought it would look better. He said, "what is it - like a $700 fine?" with a sly look in his eye.

So I called the city and talked to the code enforcement folks. They were very nice and extremely informative. This is where it got interesting.

There's currently no fine, but there could be soon. The sales guy was trying to manipulate me about the $700 at least. However there was more...

Our city apparently decided a few years ago that all residences must have their driveways paved with asphalt, concrete or paving stones. No gravel. Notices were sent out almost two years ago to the previous owners that they needed to have their driveway paved by the end of this week.

Naturally they didn't disclose this to us when we purchased the house. They even had an opportunity to join a program to have the driveway paved at a discount rate as part of a citywide group, but they didn't do it.

We aren't immediately in trouble because the city now knows that we didn't receive the notices since we didn't even own the house until last fall. They're being quite nice about the whole thing but in the end we still have to have the driveway paved.

So... To sue, or not to sue. That is the question. Whether tis less hassle to simply pay up and have done with it, or to stick it to the previous owners. And in sticking it to them seek a small measure of justice for all the other little things they tried to hide from us.


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