LET’S TALK ABOUT THE ZONING CODE FOR A FEW MOMENTS, SHALL WE?

There used to be two houses on the south east corner of Mill and Kendrick. In 2000 one of them was occupied by a lady, term used loosely, a lady named Ms. Mary Lou Cunningham, who was renting the house from Mike Harris, the drug  dealer. She started to complain that the parking of my big truck on my property was lowering her property values. I did some research, as I am want to do. Turns out the house had been condemned some five years earlier, a fact that the town knew well, since it condemned the property in the first place. The place had suffered a fire inside the house, it still had smoke and burn marks on the outside of the house.

She then complained that my big truck had taken down a wire running across Mill Street. When I asked the town for the location of the wire and proof that the wire measured up to state statutes, at least 13’9″ across the road way, the town balked and refused to tell me where the wire was. I was upset.

Then one weekend when I was coming home down Mill Street in my big truck I noticed a water hose stretched across Mill Street from the White House on the North East corner of Mill and Kendrick. I accelerated over the hose and broke it. Water went every where. Not much later Ms. Cunningham bitched at a Council meeting that I had turned off her water while she was taking a bath.

I also noticed that the Cunningham house had a contractors power pole on the side of her house without a meter. She was getting her power and water for free. More research followed.

About this time I learned about Florida Statute 119 and 286,011 plus 112.313, the state ethics law. I complained to the town. The town asked me  to attend a Council meeting so I rearranged my driving job to be available on a Tuesday night and attended. Instead of solving the illegal behavior of Ms. Cunningham, the Council threatened me with arrest again for complaining. I’ll never forget Ralph Hardwick coming unglued at my report. “I dare you” he said.

By now I was really upset so I told them that I had hired a private detective to help  me sort this mess out. Tracy Woodard, council member, came up with the idea to have a Beautiful Dreamer Award for promoting Harmony between the races. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I said to the gathering at the Council meeting that my alleged private eye had taken pictures of who I thought was the Mayor and Ms. Cunningham promoting harmony  between the races. I said “I don’t know what her feet were doing in the air” but I promised them if they went forward with the award I’d send a copy of the picture into Town Hall and make it a public record. Woodard was so livid she left the meeting. The award died as did Ms. Cunningham and John Graham who I mistakenly thought was the Mayor.

This is where the rumor that I peeked in windows came from. I didn’t peek in anyone’s window nor did I hire a private detective but I couldn’t pass it up. It was too perfect. Ms. Cunningham’s illegal use of the water and power went un-responded to by our honest council.

Then I found out about the Zoning Code because the town threatened to impound my big truck for parking it on my property. I again asked for the state law or the Municipal Ordinance that prohibited me from parking my big truck on my property. The town never responded except to say that it was in the zoning code. I asked for a copy of the Code and was denied. I had to go to Gainesville and get a copy of the code from the NE Florida Land Development organization. It was then I discovered that our code was exactly like Gainesville’s code with the exception of White Springs being substituted in a global search and replace for Gainesville. Our code cost the town $7,000 in 1997 dollars. What a waste of money.

Armed with the Land Development Regulations, the Zoning Code, I filed complaint after complaint against Mr. Harris and Ms. Cunningham for living in a condemned house. Nothing happened. I appealed to the Land Development Regulations Administrator (LDRA). His name was Marv Ray. He quit the town shortly thereafter knowing that the town was in violation of Florida Statutes 119, 286.011 and the State Ethics Code. More on Ray and his successor in a future posting. It took 17 years, I kid you not, to get the town to enforce its own code against the two houses or in fact any house. And guess who was on the Zoning Committee? None other than our Ms. Cunningham living in a condemned structure.

Earl Varnes, Councilmember and Tracy Woodard, Councilmember were very upset. This is where Mike Harris attacked me at the post office and hit me in the eye. If I had known about Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law” Mike would have been dead now. Walter McKenzie also pushed me in the chest and again if I knew the law he too would be dead right now also. These two events are where that rumor about me came from. Should have killed them when I had the chance.

Enough of this part of the story. More to come later.

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