Blocked.

So I guess the contractor that we hired to take down our trees never took out a permit. Despite the fact that I phoned him and EXPRESSLY ASKED about permits, and he got ornery with me and said he was the expert and to leave it in his hands.

Apparently some nosy jackass phoned in to the county that we had hacked down all the trees in a “wetlands” which really raises hackles in this county. (Ok there’s puddles and mud after the rains, but “wetlands?!”). There is a database, however, where the county terrain is expressly marked “officially wetlands” or not, so the county can verify whether or not our property actually is a protected wetlands. Which I’m pretty sure it’s not, because we would have had to sign something at settlement. Right?

The permit lady has to have a forester come out and look around to see the damage done to the land, plus look up to verify that the permit didn’t just get misfiled, and in the mean time I can’t garden or touch the area. I can just sit here. And stew until the middle of next week.

In the best of cases, the contractor alone gets fined. That seems fine and justified to me, and that’s what the permit lady said she thought was going to happen. In the average case: we both get fined $500 and have to fight it out in court, which also means legal fees. (Why should I get fined for his negligence?!)

In the worst case: if the property is actually a wetlands, I’ll have to rip out everything I’ve done and replant all the trees. I’ll have to move the trees that I have already planted over to the swampier side – which would of course KILL THEM. And counteract the entire reason that we took out all those trees in the first place – to get sun from the Southern side of our property.

I might add that this especially rankles because THE LAND IS THE SINGLE AND ONLY REASON WE DECIDED ON THIS DAMN HOUSE – so that I could have my farm. And if the county says I can’t have it…? On my own land…? What are we supposed to do, move again 6 months after we got here?

Because I cannot live somewhere that I can’t garden. I simply cannot.

7 Responses to “Blocked.”

  1. John Stoneham Says:

    Jerks.

    If your property were a protected wetland I’d be surprised if you hadn’t seen something at settlement. They have to tell you about all of the riders like utility easements and such, and I can’t see how that wouldn’t be structured as one. But I also don’t know anything about real estate, so don’t listen to me…

    Will an orbital sander make you feel better?

  2. diana Says:

    Heya John – an orbital sander is just what I need for happiness to resume! -laugh- And I’m almost 100% sure we’re not actually a wetlands, because when I talked to the permit office back before any of this took place, the woman asked “are you in a protected wetlands?” And I said “uh, what?” and she said “If you were, you would know, because it would have been a big deal at settlement.” So I think we can cross that off their list. I just think that nosy jerk saw the ground was boggy (DUH, it’s SPRINGTIME) and thought it was a wetlands. Ignorant as well as vindictively meddlesome.

    And mama – oh I know! I had forgotten that! “Fish” and their “habitat” in a creek that had water in it one week out of the year! Snort!

  3. Anonymous Says:

    How awful!
    do you remember the fish & game dept worrying about the fish (?!) in san benancio creek when we put in the gabion baskets to save the land from ending up IN the creek?
    beaurocratic nonsense.just sit tight…
    can I still weed when I come by?

  4. debbie swickard Says:

    Ah, government intervention is alive and well in Maryland — don’t you just love it?

    I know you checked out the regulations regarding having animals on your farm, but was there anything to say that you needed a permit of any sort to raise the chickens or the bees? If some ignoramous has you in his/her sights because they’re mad that you had the trees cut down, they may try to cause trouble in other areas just to be even nastier than they already have been. Be ready for them by making sure that if you need a permit for the chicks or bees or anything else, you have what you need BEFORE any more phone calls are made by the tree hugger who has no inkling as to what tree hugging really means…

  5. diana Says:

    Hey Debbie – that’s a really good idea. I think I’ll call the extension office tomorrow. I hadn’t thought of that. I also don’t have a permit for the chicken coop we’re building because I didn’t think I would need one for a shed thing – and the lady didn’t mention anything when she saw it – but now that I’m getting a clue as to the fact that this county is NOT in fact an easy-going country kind of farming county, that’s making me nervous. I better find out.

  6. debbie swickard Says:

    An added thought —
    Were you hoping to sell some of the eggs and/or honey after the critters become productive? If so, you may want to proactively seek info that will protect you from problems in that area, too, by seeing what permits you will need (I’m betting that permits will be required if you are going to sell stuff, but I could be wrong), seeing if there are any zoning problems or laws that could prohibit you from selling stuff (it will require some research because the laws that govern the zoning and the permits may say that if it is less than $xxx/year that you will be making, the law doesn’t apply; I don’t know), and finding out if there are health code laws that apply in any way because you are selling foodstuffs. Quantity you expect to sell may be the key to whether any laws will affect your plans.

  7. diana Says:

    I hadn’t really planned on selling any of the stuff. I know for a fact I can go through much more honey than a single hive can produce in a year; and any extra can be made into mead. As for the chickens, they say 6 chickens will suffice for a family of 4. We’re only a family of 3 and we have 7 chickens, but you can freeze eggs to keep for those winter months when the hens aren’t laying.

    As for produce, did you know that a property our size is automatically approved for a seasonal produce stand? And that any structure under 64sf and 6′ tall requires no permit to build? I’m assuming I’d still need all kinds of health permits and such, but it’s neat to know. Even though I’m definitely not planning on selling any of the food because I know I won’t be able to grow self-sufficiently as it is. :(

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