I missed my weekly column this past week because, well I hadn’t interviewed anyone. Because I was disenchanted. Because I was restless. Because I needed to take an action.
Now, yon ladies and gems, I have a mission. Wish me luck.
Here’s the background, please forgive me to those who bore, this story has been in my posts several times. But I can’t get over the fact that something is terribly wrong in Sussex County Delaware. Right-SUSSEX COUNTY-not Newcastle or Kent.-SUSSEX.
Although, I dunno, could also be the northern counties. For I have never had the Planning and Zoning Inspector of those counties send me a letter vowing to tear my fence on my private property by a certain date. But Dean Pettyjohn, Planning and Zoning Inspector of Sussex County sent me such a letter and it was not a threat. He told me to tear it down or his constable will.
Is this not the United States of America? I am found guilty without a single input? This bureaucrat in Sussex County gets to authorize someone to come in and tear down my private property and I get no plea, no chance to defend?
This happened to me right after I was recently widowed and my emotions were a wreck. I did manage to stop Emperor Pettyjohn from tearing down my fence but I had to write letters, plead to my Sussex councilperson, in short do the things that some other recently widowed and confused woman might not have the power or wherewithal to do.
I want to make sure this never happens to another Sussex Countian. This is EXACTLY the sort of thing our county council should be dealing with.
It is unconstitutional, not to be dramatic a bout it.
Seems the fine folks behind me were having their homes built in a new community and hey, they have a right to live here. Perhaps I would have evened welcomed them had they not had their builder send me a letter to please move my fence.
Well welcome to you fine folks living behind me too.
I got all nuts because all I’ve been doing for these last ten years in Sussex County is living peaceably on my little fairly purchased home on a modest piece of land. I’ve been law-abiding and cared for my lot tenderly. My part of this earth, like yon readers I’m sure, is paradise to me.
Also I have a shed and my WELL HEAD the four feet from my fence line these fine folk behind said was theirs, please get off of my land.
This was no small matter here, folk. Just like that, boom these people get a land survey that says my fence is on their land. For the last ten years I’ve had a survey in my possession, gained when I purchased my house. This proper survey-meaning it’s signed and sealed or whatever surveys have to be-says my fence is properly placed.
So the surveys disputed each other, so okay, there’s ways to deal with this sort of thing. One way NOT to do it is to send an impersonal letter to your new neighbors telling them to tear down their fence, drill a new well, lose your dog for no containment.
To me this is the apex of what America is about, your house, your land, your property. Indeed our federal income tax code encourages home ownership in that we are allowed to deduct the interest on our mortgages and home-based lines of credit. Home owners make good citizens, that’s the logic.
So why did Sussex county condemn me to hell when this builder showed Dean Pettyjohn his client’s survey and Pettyjohn, boom, without questioning me, without allowing me to plea, condemn my property without a thought?
Man, I consider this serious stuff. This guy isn’t even ELECTED and he’s got amazing power!
Understand that it’s not Pettyjohn, I don’t know the man, this is not personal. It’s this Emperor in Sussex County who is titled Planning and Zoning Inspector.
I know this position has job duties and perhaps there are times that the constable has to tear down fences.
I think the Sussex County council needs to pass a law, however this is done, delineating the proper order of handling property disputes. I want it in writing, I want bureaucrats like the Zoning Inspector prevented from tearing down your property without you having a single say in the matter.
No it’s not good enough that I managed to get Pettyjohn to back down on his command because, well not that nobody would admit it, but disputed surveys should be handled by the courts, not by county bureaucrats.
Again, how this was handled was unconstitutional and nothing less.
So I’m on a mission. I don’t want any money. I don’t even necessarily want any help. I am going to be a good citizen and do whatever it takes to get how property disputes should be handled on paper and as guideline for zealous Zoning Inspectors wanting to please builder buddies.
That’s my mission and wish me luck. I plan to use the power of my words as much as possible. As a swordsman sheaths his weapon, so in my brain are the words to get my point across.
I will attend Sussex County meetings, I will learn how it all works, I will write letters to the editor, I will hound the Sussex county GOP to help me get this done.
On this matter, I interviewed the Sussex County GOP head of Public Relations, Duke Brooks and will put up my Sunday column “Read It and Weep” this coming Sunday.
Wish me luck. You may make fun of me, you may call me names, you may think I am obsessed, but I will never ever forget how worthless that whole thing made me feel that someone could move behind me and demand to tear my life apart in terms of property, and my county bureaucrats, in the county where I’d been nothing but a peaceful, indeed productive, citizen, turned on me like a vicious beast.
I do, as friends have told me, have a tendency at times to get on a horse and tilt at windmills.
But I’ve won a lot of times too.
This time I will read the comments as I’d love to look for your ideas/input/ even brickbats.
Wish me luck.
Goodness I left off one important piece of information regarding this quest. I intend to document my journey in getting this done, how the council treats me, how the bureaucrats react. Indeed I am going to rock the Circle-I know all the best parking spots.
Instead of interviewing local Sussex County folk, I intend to write about how they react in real life. As for how I can be fair in this process, well I can’t. I’m a Blogger. I have opinions. But those written about can certainly respond, even put up defensive posts of their own if editor Anderson so allows.
Best I can promise is that I’ll try to be as fair as possible but buyer/reader beware.
I ought to charge you people for this.