Need housing code experts...is this legal?

VadersV6

Active Member
We dont live in a closed community. Its a house in a normal neighborhood. We got fined for our hedges on both sides of our front yard, being too tall. They were too tall, so I cut them down to the height they were when we moved in...about 5.5 feet tall or so. The guy says we need to cut them down to 3 feet and no taller. I said where does this code exist? He says it lies on the same premise as walls and fences...that they cant be so tall that they obstruct the view of drivers. Well, I live on a straight street. The only thing they block the view of, is my neighbors from looking in my lawn. It doesnt block anything for drivers! These types of bushes only have leaves on the outside, and nothing but branches on the inside. If I cut them down to 3 feet, they will look absolutely stupid, and ugly cause all that will be left will be branches and dirt. There are other people with fences and walls, and even hedges taller than 3 feet, all over my street. These hedges have been here for 10-15 years and have always been at their current height. The next door neighbor complained to this code enforcement guy. I have never even met my neighbor. He never came up and told us the hedges were bothering him. Apparantly he's such a slimey snake coward that he cant even come over and talk to me, and has to go to this code enforcement guy. I would have gladly cut them had he mentioned something to me. We are quiet neighbors that mind out own business, and the house and lot are clean and orderly and well kept. Once I cut these hedges to 3 feet, they will no longer look like hedges, and it will backfire in the neighbors face cause they will look terrible. Im thinking of cutting them to 1 foot tall so they will look as terrible as possible. This guy is really anal about his yard and this will ruin the look of his yard. My problem is, that this code guy is saying that the hedges fall in the same "premise" as a wall or fence. A premise isnt a law or a code last time I checked. Its an assumption and it sounds like it cant hold water. We live in Ontario, Ca. Are there any guys who can explain to me how this is legal, when its not a wall or a fence (which is all the code describes), and this is our personal property...not some community enviroment. The code guy even said they look beautiful at their current height, but they are too tall. They dont make the property ugly. I have gang tagging all over the sidewalk, right next to the hedges, but he has done nothing to remove that. I have a feeling this code guy is buddies with my next door neighbor.
Can I beat this? I dont want my lawn to look stupid. :mad:
 

BLACK6PACK

1 sec reaction King
Have them show you the code, show how far the walls/bushes have to be from the road, etc. Here in the states you can go in front of the local board and show them pictures, etc, and its the citizens that decide if they will let you keep what isn't exactly to code. My neighbors built a little gazeebo 10' from the road, the neighbors protested saying it was too big a blocked the view of drivers. A notice went out to all citizens in the neighborhood that at the next town board meeting they would vote... anyway he still has the gazeebo.
 

John Larkin

Sublime Master of Turbology
Go to the department of planning and zoning, have them look up your lot number, then find out what ordinances you are affected by. Also bring the paperwork for the fine with you to have them validate it's legitimacy. If it is invalid, you can send it back unpaid with a "sorry I am not from your planet" note.
 

David65

Member
Ontario, Ca huh? Did a little searching, found this: http://www.ci.ontario.ca.us/index.cfm/22/5001

Which led me here: http://www.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/California/ontario/ontariomunicipalcode?fn=altmain-nf.htm$f=templates$3.0$vid=amlegal:eek:ntario_ca

Did a search for hedges and found:
Sec. 9-1.1618. Fences and walls.
Fences and walls constructed within Residential Districts must meet the following requirements:
3) Type IV - front yard walls:
(a) Type IVa. - walls three (3) feet or less in height. Solid masonry walls or fencing materials may be permitted up to the property line in the front yard. Fences, walls, hedges or similar view obstructing structures or plant growth that reduce the safe ingress and egress of vehicles or pedestrians shall not exceed a height of three (3) feet in any required front yard.

"safe ingress and egress of vehicles or pedestrians" <--- Does yours interfere with them entering or leaving their property in a vehicle or on foot? From your description it sounds like it doesn't. I say he's screwing with you... ;)

David
 

VadersV6

Active Member
Wow! Thanks for finding that! I found a code in the san bernardino county site that says something totally different. It says Fences, screening, safety guard rails, walls and dense hedges that follow the property line are limited between 6-10 feet in height depending on the area, with hedges that are in the interior side yards and courts. I sent the guy an email showing this code and I havent heard back from him yet. Look up the san bernardino county codes, and find this one:
87.0510 Table of Projections into Yards and Courts.
Its in title 8, development code, division 7, projections into yards.
Does it look like Im looking in the wrong place? This seems to hold water to me.
 

David65

Member
Hmmm... Not sure. What you found might pertain to the county, but the other may be for within the city limits. I would think since it doesn't interfere with them coming or going you'd be ok, but that's just me. Reading this legaleze gives me a headache. :tongue:
 

SFITurbo

Member
You are on the right track. Our county site contains the same type of info, right down to the type of plants you can have. Factor in the age of your subdivision also, you may fall under county instead of city ordinances. If you can't "find" the information, you should be able to apply for a variance. My sympathy to you, I have a butthole for a neighbor that I have to prove wrong monthly over something. Phuccers can't mind there own business, and their property looks like the local dump.
 

VadersV6

Active Member
When I called him on the codes, this is what he wrote:

I'm sorry, but SB Co. is somewhat known to be "lax" due to the lare area they
have to cover, and does not affect what we do here in the incorporated areas of
Ontario.
We use the Ontarion Municipal Code and the Ontarion Development Code, entirely
different documents than those used by the County.
Sorry, but that's the way it is. The County deals primarily with unincorporated
areas.
John W. BXXXXXX

That doesnt make any sense.
 

ChrisCairns

Senior Member
It's veeeery expensive to fight city hall.

Here's what I suggest.....cut it all to 3 feet. Then start measuring and ...

leave 2 feet of 3 feet high...
cut next 2 feet to 1 foot high...
leave next 2 feet 3 feet high..
cut next 2 feet 2 feet high...

You get the drift. Invite some of your car buddies over to help you. Start making a fun thing of it. You'll drive the goofy neighbor crazy and then once he's committed you can let it all grow back. :)
 

John Larkin

Sublime Master of Turbology
You should really visit or call a county official in the planning & zoning office to find out if in fact you are part of some "association". If you are not, then ask the official what legislation governs your property. Also look at your tax form and see to whom you pay property taxes. It should only be one county, city or municipality. Once you document all this (in writing), you can ask the knucklehead neighbor to define who "we" is.

That building code above also requires a 5-foot setback from the front of the property. If you don't have that, then you should conform before doing any fighting. I can see how that would affect ingress and egress.
 
i don't mind the tall hedges i hate the one that take up the side walk.
2 blocks from my house this guy has them so wide into the side walk the you have to walk on the grass or on the street.
some times i wish i had the guts to poor some gas on them an light them up.
 

jerry455

New Member
Don't do a thing!

Man, this thread really pissed me off!
I can't believe this BS-a cowardly neighbor sees you trim the bushes and he figures he can get things fixed how he wants-BUT doesn't have the balls to even talk to you? Instead he sends over some mystery "code guy" WTF?
Did he have a badge and carry a fire-arm?
Seriously, Don't let let this guy rattle your world-he has YOU looking up codes and making calls to see if you are in compliance-why bother. You are falling for their whole plan. The best coarse of action is to IGNORE any written contact and if some calls or knocks on the door, just say you are renting the property. If they press on...
My landlord?
Dunno...some Arab guy I can't hardly understand.
Don't have any way to contact him, just mail my check to a blind P.O. Box.
Then, pull out a handy copy of "dianetics" by L.Ron Hubbard and start talking about how its changed your life and if the hedges are causing stress then you have a free stress test you'd like him to take.....
Believe me, he'll dissapear ASAP!!! :D
 

turbofish38

Le Pétomane
I'm pretty good at fighting code enforcement. From what I've read you are going to have to cut it down to 3 feet reguardless. Especially if it borders a driveway. If he is sitting in his car and cant see over the hedge than you will have to probally remove it all together. I kind of have the same problem with a fence I want to erect along my drive that borders the lot line. My code enforcement guys usually give me enough time to correct the problems before they send it up the line. They are anal POS's that whine about everything they can find. The last time time around I had to threaten them by telling them the next time they come their boss better be with them along with the police. It seems that some one was over stepping his authority a little. I've also learned a few tricks by reading the minutes posted on the city's home page from the code enforcement meetings. Knowledge is a powerfull tool when dealing with these jerks.
 

SouthernCal GN

I come in peace....AK AK
David65 said:
Ontario, Ca huh? Did a little searching, found this: http://www.ci.ontario.ca.us/index.cfm/22/5001

Which led me here: http://www.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/California/ontario/ontariomunicipalcode?fn=altmain-nf.htm$f=templates$3.0$vid=amlegal:eek:ntario_ca

Did a search for hedges and found:
Sec. 9-1.1618. Fences and walls.
Fences and walls constructed within Residential Districts must meet the following requirements:
3) Type IV - front yard walls:
(a) Type IVa. - walls three (3) feet or less in height. Solid masonry walls or fencing materials may be permitted up to the property line in the front yard. Fences, walls, hedges or similar view obstructing structures or plant growth that reduce the safe ingress and egress of vehicles or pedestrians shall not exceed a height of three (3) feet in any required front yard.

"safe ingress and egress of vehicles or pedestrians" <--- Does yours interfere with them entering or leaving their property in a vehicle or on foot? From your description it sounds like it doesn't. I say he's screwing with you... ;)

David


Since the code enforcement guy told you that you must ascribe to Ontario Ontario Municipal Code and the Ontario Development Code, I would take this road: email the code guy back, thanking him for his time, and informing him that you plan to comply with the Ontario code- then send him this information. As your hedges are not inhibiting the safe ingress or egress of pedestrians or vehicles, and are not solid masonry or fencing materials, it stands to reason that your hedges are in compliance AS THEY ARE. Play by their rules, and turn the tables on them (code guy and the neighbor).

Extra dig- take a copy of your email from code guy, and a copy of the Ontario Muni code to neighbor guy, and tell him to grow some balls. Bitch slap him, go home, get cold brew ,and enjoy life!
 

ThikStik

My sleep apnea is winning
Your neighbors are actually mad at teh state of the US, like the gang activity etc, etc. They are ignorantly projecting their anger towards you. This stupidity is happening all the time. Angry law abiding citizens picking on one another, because they are powerless to control the real problems.
 
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