Zoning Board Spying With Google Earth

 
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Old 05-20-2017, 09:31 AM   #1
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Zoning Board Spying With Google Earth


Greetings all,

The County Zoning Board has served me with a Violation Notice and a Hearing Date.

The have found what in there words is "debris" on our vacant lot. The notice states that debris is visible on Google Earth.

We have owned the property for 38 years. It is the last vacant lot in the subdivision. The vacant lot is 120' wide at the street and 320' deep. The vacant lot is surrounded by a double row of 40' tall Norway Spruce that were planted every 12' as a windrow 30+ years ago. The driveway is only 8' wide and runs at a sharp angle between the trees. Our trucks do not fit in the driveway.

The property is not visible from the outside, the trees are too dense. I have spoke to 3 of the 4 neighbors and they all said they don't know what is on the lot. They said they can not see anything through the trees. They also said they don't care what I have stored there since it is not visible.

There is no debris as listed as debris in the Zoning Ordnance. There are 3 piles of stockade fence being stored for a job. A pile of cribbing covered by a tarp. No trucks, tractors, no old stoves or fridges, no barrels or buckets, no scrap lumber or recyclables or anything else on their list.

So to be offended by materials stored on the property you need to view Google Earth. Nothing can be seen from the ground. Walking or driving nothing can be seen from all 4 sides.

I have taken pictures from all 4 sides to use at the hearing.

Any ideas on how to respond to "Big Brother" at the hearing?

Thanks for any ideas.
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Old 05-20-2017, 09:42 AM   #2
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Re: Zoning Board Spying With Google Earth


Get name and address of every board member. Get poster size images of their homes from Google earth, and street views. Set up displays of all this in lobby before hearing. Tell em to bugger off.

Ok, not really helpful. But it sounds like you got it covered. Maybe check into what your zoning laws actually say about material storage for your lot.

It may be strictly forbidden wether it's visible or not.

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Old 05-20-2017, 09:49 AM   #3
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Re: Zoning Board Spying With Google Earth


This will be interesting.

I don't have any advice but i do like the poster/picture idea presented.

Do you have an attorney?

Keep us informed.
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Old 05-20-2017, 10:01 AM   #4
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Re: Zoning Board Spying With Google Earth


My hate for the machine is as strong as it can be. The fact that they want to push good people around makes me sick.
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Old 05-20-2017, 12:29 PM   #5
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Re: Zoning Board Spying With Google Earth


Paint a big sign on your shed roof that says "F You!", then ask for a second review via Google Earth.
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Old 05-20-2017, 02:29 PM   #6
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Re: Zoning Board Spying With Google Earth


Hard to believe they would have a current google map to look at. When look mine up they are 6- 10 years old. LOL
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Old 05-20-2017, 02:36 PM   #7
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Re: Zoning Board Spying With Google Earth


What law are you breaking? and if so, request it in writing so you can review it. These asshats got nothng better to do than google earth peoples prvate property. It's trespassing IMO and they should be charged as such.

Ask them who gives them the authority to view your home and invade your privacy without your permission ?

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Old 05-20-2017, 02:37 PM   #8
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Re: Zoning Board Spying With Google Earth


If you can't see it from normal viewing, and you have no complaints, other than from views from a satellite in orbit, I don't see how they can complain or issue fines.
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Old 05-20-2017, 02:52 PM   #9
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Re: Zoning Board Spying With Google Earth


I would ask them if they had a search warrant prior to invading your privacy. Just because it's on the internet does not give them cart blanch to look, at least in my opinion.

A guy I know a number of years ago was running a mulch business on his property, he had petitioned for an exception, as his was a large residential lot, but was far from any other lots and surrounded by farm land.

The county zoning had it in for the guy and tried to prove he was trashing the place and running an illegal transfer station, he also had a roll-off dumpster business.

The zoning hired an airplane and flew over this guys property and took photos, which pretty much confirmed that he was in fact running a transfer station.

He would bring the cans in, dump them and when the pile was big enough he would load out onto his demo trailer that could hold as much as 4 or 5 cans of debris, he would then save a lot of money on the actual disposal costs.

When the evidence was presented to the judge, he asked if they had a warrant to photo the property....They did not and the judge essentially told the zoning guys that if they violate Mr. xyz's rights again he would bring them up on charges....threw it out of court.

I don't know if that will help you, but I also wonder why the Gov. has nothing better to do than look at google maps to find people violating zoning regs. What a waste of taxpayer dollars.
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Old 05-20-2017, 02:53 PM   #10
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Re: Zoning Board Spying With Google Earth


This just happened to me with my insurance co. They said that I had a lot of debris (construction equipment/building materials) on my property. I have an acre fenced in and my place borders nothing but farm land, can't see anything unless looking from above.
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Old 05-20-2017, 03:03 PM   #11
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Re: Zoning Board Spying With Google Earth


Quote:
Originally Posted by rustyjames View Post
This just happened to me with my insurance co. They said that I had a lot of debris (construction equipment/building materials) on my property. I have an acre fenced in and my place borders nothing but farm land, can't see anything unless looking from above.
So what became of it?
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Old 05-20-2017, 03:09 PM   #12
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Re: Zoning Board Spying With Google Earth


Get Google Earth Pro - it's free
https://www.google.com/earth/download/gep/agree.html

Then look up your address. Find VIEWS along the top heading and go down to HISTORICAL IMAGERY. When that option is checked it will show a timeline 'slider' on the top left of the map. You can then see the month and year that the pic was taken.

Go to the hearing and tell them that the Google is using an old pic, it is no longer accurate and that THEY are required to prove that there is a violation...
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Old 05-20-2017, 03:13 PM   #13
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Re: Zoning Board Spying With Google Earth


Is this one of those last vacant lots in the subdivision where all the garbage from the construction of the rest of the homes was dumped,i.e wood, concrete, blacktop, etc.

The town, county, etc they do such sweeps and they have the right to enforce the ordinances that the property should be cleaned of any debris, especially in the residential neighborhood. It doesn't matter if you can see it or not from the road because when you have garbage or debris they bring rodents, etc and that is health hazards to the surrounding area and other homes.
Usually, after the zoning department, you get a visit from a health department with the same requests.

That being said, they usually don't break OO if you have a few things on your lot, it has to be really bad for them to issue a violation.

I have a guy down the road here with the same issue, he tried to fight it, but it gets very expensive to do that, so he been packing everything up and removing.
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Old 05-20-2017, 03:21 PM   #14
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Re: Zoning Board Spying With Google Earth


This is just an article that pertains to inspectors coming on private property. They are not allowed (if you deny them access) without a warrant.

The Google thing may turn out to be kinda interesting.

http://www.myfloridalegal.com/ago.ns...256583006C8F9C
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Old 05-20-2017, 04:04 PM   #15
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Re: Zoning Board Spying With Google Earth


Thanks everyone,

To answer some of the questions.

I was served by mail. They sent people to serve me in person, at 8:15 in the morning. But I have a policy "If I'm not expecting you. Don't expect me to answer the door". They then sent me certified mail, but I would not sign for the Certified Letter. A certified letter from the government is never good news, So they sent it regular mail.

Yes I have an attorney, $250.00 per hour.

As noted I have photos from all sides, including a shot of the "driveway".

It is the last lot in the subdivision. But we have owned it since the beginning. Last home was built in 1979. There is no construction debris on the property and never has been any. One persons debris is another persons construction material. In this case 3 piles/stacks of stockade fence about 4' high and some cribbing covered by a brown tarp. If it was a blue tarp they might think I have a pool. No brush piles, no trash piles, no garbage piles. I have looked at Google maps and I can see the stacks. But I can not see them from the ground.

Mrs. has a garden on the property. Small size maybe 10' X 10'.

Property is posted and has the signs at all 4 corners and 3 at the driveway including one that hangs on a chain across the driveway. This is the sign I use: http://www.narlo.org/sign.html
The Inspectors note that were included states that "We were denied entry by signage but the debris is clearly visible from Google Earth".

The copy of the ordinance was also included. It lists what the ordinance considers debris. At the end of the list it says "etc". So again, what is debris to one is usable material to another. Nothing stored on the vacant lot is included in their list.

When I spoke to one of the neighbors about the issue he said "What good is the lot if you can't use it?" He and the other adjoining property owners have no issues.

Thanks to those who have responded and thanks to those who will respond.
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Old 05-20-2017, 04:17 PM   #16
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Re: Zoning Board Spying With Google Earth


They might do a flyover and compare picture images. That how they also see improvements to land as well... new pools, sheds, garages and additions are easily spotted when comparing images

I read some areas use planes, helicopters and probably drones in the near future


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Old 05-20-2017, 04:25 PM   #17
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Re: Zoning Board Spying With Google Earth


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bad Boy Biker View Post
Thanks everyone,

Property is posted and has the signs at all 4 corners and 3 at the driveway including one that hangs on a chain across the driveway. This is the sign I use: http://www.narlo.org/sign.html
The Inspectors note that were included states that "We were denied entry by signage but the debris is clearly visible from Google Earth".
Thanks for the Narlo link. Never heard of it, but will be ordering some signs.
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Old 05-20-2017, 04:25 PM   #18
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Re: Zoning Board Spying With Google Earth


In that case...the big box stores are filled with debris.

My garage and basement shop are filled with debris....

My lumber yard is filled with debris. I can see that on Google also and from the street.

Over-reach by Uncle Sammy.
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Old 05-20-2017, 04:27 PM   #19
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Re: Zoning Board Spying With Google Earth


I had a run in with the county a few years ago when I was building my garage/workshop.

My neighbor was getting ready to sell and reported every home around here for some violation.

The inspector came out and we walked the property to address the "violations." I had some lumber laying around, sort of scattered around, he said if you stack that up..it's usable building material...no violation.

Anything, and I mean anything, that was under a tarp or otherwise concealed they could not look at without permission.

Unlicensed vehicles can be a violation, but if covered with a tarp..they can not lift a single corner to determine if it's legal or not.

If you've got it in you, take these bastards to task....
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Old 05-20-2017, 05:01 PM   #20
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Re: Zoning Board Spying With Google Earth


Give these f$ckers an inch, they'll take a mile

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