Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dispatches from a Recovering Bleeding Heart: City Bureaucracy

24 June 2009

Inspector S. Durant
Code Enforcement
Housing Division
990 Spring Garden Street
3rd Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19123

Dear Inspector Durant:

Thank you for taking time today to speak with me about the Violation Notice dated June 3, 2009 regarding my property at 422 [Naomi] Street. In the Notice, you cited two violations: 1) failure to obtain a permit for use as a community garden on a vacant lot; and 2) failure to obtain a vacant lot license. You explained that a neighbor had reported a community garden on the lot, and that you verified this by visiting the lot, which you said “looks like a community garden.” As I assured you over the phone today, and as I would have been more than happy to explain to you before the Violation Notice was issued had you asked, the garden at 422 [Naomi] (as well as the garden at 420 [Naomi], which I also own) is NOT a community garden. It is my private garden, on which I grow vegetables for my family. Thank you for clearing my case of that violation.

As we also discussed on the phone today, I will send my application for a Vacant Lot License immediately. As soon as I receive the license, I will notify you of that fact, and then I will appreciate your sending me written verification that all Violations, including the community garden permit violation, have been resolved, and that my case is closed.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions. I can be reached at home at 215 [123-4567].


Marta [last name deleted]

cc: Mr. and Mrs. Barnett Meadowland


24 June 2009

Department of Licenses and Inspections
License Issuance Unit
Public Service Concourse
1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19102

To Whom It May Concern:

It has been brought to my attention by Inspector Durant of the Code Enforcement, Housing Division, that I require a license in order to own a vacant lot. I received a Violation Notice regarding 422 [Naomi] Street, Case No. 201770. I also have recently purchased the adjoining vacant lot at 424 [Naomi] Street. Enclosed is my application for Vacant Lot Licenses for both of these properties.

Please note that I am a private individual, and I do not operate a business in the City of Philadelphia, or anywhere else. I own these two vacant lots in order to grow vegetables for my family’s private use. Therefore, I do not have a Business Tax # (see question #4 on the application). I also have answered question #16, but I am not sure it actually applies to me; please note that I do not own a corporation or partnership. I am merely a private owner of two vacant lots.

Finally, I have not received the booklet Partners for Good Housing, and I suspect that it does not apply to me, but if I need to receive it in order to be issued a Vacant Lot License, please send it to me immediately. If I do not need it, please save the paper and the postage.

I look forward to these licenses being issued at your earliest possible convenience, as I am eager to clear up any violations. If you have any questions, or if I have failed to provide you with all the information you require, please do not hesitate to contact me at 215 [123 2467].


Marta [last name deleted]

cc: Inspector S. Durant, Code Enforcement, Housing Division


Jen said...

UnFin-believeable that the beat goes on!!!! I assume this is that lady's doing? You should consider writing an article about what it has taken to try to garden in the City of Philadelphia!

Rebecca said...

Makes my blood boil reading this. Vindictive loose cannons + bureaucracy = hair pulling.

Kate Haas said...

Oh, good lord. The saga continues! I'm seeing a screenplay here. Or a novel. Lifetime movie at the very least.

Patrick said...

Dear Lord. What on EARTH do they hope to accomplish? Do they find some satisfaction in such petty, pointless behavior? Like you would know, right? I hope things get resolved quickly and smoothly. Sounds like your actual contact with the Inspector went well, at least.

Greg said...

My goodness.