First, let me introduce you to Carol Anderson. She's the Senior housing and zoning inspector, code compliance division, for the department of planning and development (DPD) for the City of Seattle. I figure a formal introduction here is in order, because this is a story about Carol.
Carol was a little shy initially about having her picture taken, but warmed up pretty quickly. Carol is good that way. That's Carol on the left. On the right is Angela Summer, another Senior housing and zoning inspector from DPD
Nice smile, Carol.
The specific complaint that Carol was responding to was "junk storage". I didn't understand what she meant by this -- There were two freezers on the back porch, some plants in both pots and 5 gallon buckets, a small pile of kindling wood and a few other odds and ends in the back yard. I just didn't see it. Here's a couple of pictures of the "junk storage" backyard.
Hopefully this information will be of assistance to you:
The case number that has been obtained for this most recent complaint is #1024520.
Please look at Director’s rule 6-90, which can be viewed by going to the DPD website www.Seattle.Gov/DPD
Then choose Resources, Director’s Rules, and look at 6-90. This is the Land Use interpretation for junk storage, and also explains Seattle land use code section 23.42.020 A, Accessory uses.
The Seattle Land Use Code, Title 23 can also be viewed on line.
Citation enforcement procedure is explained in chapter 23.91.
Section 23.91.020 explains “abatement”.
Ok. Fine. I look up directors rule 6-90. It refers to junked or inoperable cars or items that are not customarily incidental to residential use . Nope, none there. Abandoned or salvaged items. hmm... don't see any there. What on earth are you talking about, Ms. Anderson? I ask again, and her response:
On my initial site visit to your property, I pointed out the items that need to be removed in order for your property to be in compliance. Nothing since that initial visit has changed. These items include, but are not limited to:
1. The pile of salvage wood ( discarded lath), and the other wood scraps that were outside on 12/27.
2. The 5 gallon buckets that are strewn about the yard.
3. The 2 freezers that are outside on your porch, if they are not inside, or in an enclosed area.
4. Any other bags stored outside on the property, and any other salvage metal or wood, garbage, etc.
We will be at your property on January 5th at 10:00 AM. If you choose not to remove the items to put your property into compliance, The City will remove them for you.
Thank you in advance.
Freezers. Huh. They're in use, they're on the back porch, they're full of meat. Lathe we use as kindling in the fireplace. Don't see the problem.. Freezers/refrigerators are customary and incidental to residential use. As are flowerpots. And firewood. What gives?
5 gallon buckets strewn about the yard. Let me go back outside and look:
Concord grape starts in this bucket dormant because of the winter season.
Ok. I'm not getting it. If Carol really wants the buckets, she can have them. I ask her to clarify which Seattle Municipal code says buckets can't be used for gardening; she declines to answer. I would, too. It's not against the law to garden using buckets in your backyard.
But Carols on a a mission.
I wanted to let you know that we will be at your property tomorrow sometime around noon instead of 10. The Community Police Officers that were going to meet me got pulled into a special project at the last minute so they instructed me to request a standby through dispatch. Shift change and roll call are around 11:30, so I think we are looking at noon or shortly after.
A couple of police officers. A couple of DPD staffers. At least three visits, and this is about 10 buckets of plants. The other stuff that she's complained about is long gone.
So Carol and her entire crew descended on my backyard this morning, and they removed the offending 10 buckets. They dumped the plants out, and dumped the plants out of the pot as well. They took the buckets, but left the pot. I guess they decided that gardening is half-ok? Or that some sorts of pots are allowed?
You tell me.
Now this is coming at a time when Seattle is having one of the worst budget crisis it has ever had. Carol, how much resource did you just invest in removing 10 buckets of plants from a backyard?
And isn't gardening legal in your own backyard?
I just love Seattle. Love it to death.