cartoon - scary tree

Someone told me that a City Council member drove down Pebble Beach last week and became distraught over all the tree limbs that were hanging over the street in clear violation of The Code, which states that there must be vertical clearance of 12′ (if you are doing your civic, albeit uncharitable, duty and complaining about a tree owner from the Report a Code Violation site) or 14′ (if you are a Code Enforcer or a ProActive citizen who actually searches for that entry in The Code, is lucky or persistent enough to find it, bothers to read and try to understand it and small-minded enough to report your neighbor for it.)

I don’t know why the Report a Code Violation site clearance distance is different from the actual code: I guess the City Council has written so many silly rules in so many places that they can’t even keep track of what they’ve said. A similar instance is with the grass and weed height: is it 12″ or 8″?

That’s a manifestation of what those of us in the documentation profession call “Band-Aiding” and violates the first rule of documentation, which is to never repeat the same information in different places. That practice often results in misinformation and error and it is not good practice in legal documents. But, we are lucky enough to have the Code Enforcement professionals who will be happy to interpret the rules for you so you don’t have to worry about all those silly details like what is actually written.

Anyway, that’s not what this post is about. There was a rumor that the poor City Councilperson, concerned about the Health, Safety, and Welfare of the citizens, was so apoplectic that he had to be sedated. Oh my. The same informant told me that the Community Surveillance Team got right to work to track down these inconsiderate tree owners and issued 40-some Notices. Whew! I feel Safer and Healthier already.

Well, that made me curious, and being a ProActive citizen I took a drive down Pebble Beach to see if there could possibly be 40 residents that were so selfish as to allow their trees to threaten this poor Councilperson. I didn’t have a tape measure with me, so I just guesstimated, but even being really picky I could only find 21 homes, and then I threw in the 3 places where the Golf Course crosses Pebble Beach: all of those trees “Branch Out” (!!!) over the curb. But that still didn’t add up to 40-something. I retraced my route, added the streets that intersected Pebble Beach, and snagged another 10.

On my little fact-finding mission I had time to wonder what the Councilperson was driving that he should be so upset about the tree limbs, but who am I to question? I also noticed that Pebble Beach is a very wide street, and a lane on each side is separated from the “normally traveled” area by a solid white line, and I wondered about that. Oh – now I remember: when I first moved to Farmers Branch those were the new bike lanes, and Farmers Branch was very proud of them. I searched for the signs that used to be posted showing that those were bicycle lanes, but couldn’t find any. Maybe they’re out getting the new logo added. Or maybe nobody rides bicycles anymore – that’s probably not Upscale, and anyway we have The Club to do our  exercising – why would we need to ride bicycles? How low-class. Besides that, you would have to have a place to store your bicycle that didn’t violate The Code.

If The City wanted you to ride bikes they would create a nice Bicycle Park for you to go ride in, but then they would have to create rules on size, color, and make of bike, allowed days and times, tire air pressure, etc. etc. Whew, that’s a lot of work for a City Council who has, at most, 4 years’ experience. No – that’s not combined experience, but close. I think combined experience is more like, let’s see, 13 years – for 5 members.

Hmm, most, if not all, of those nasty tree limbs were well within the (old) bike lane white lines. The thought did cross my mind that maybe the Councilperson was actually driving a very very tall vehicle in the bicycle lane, but there were cars parked in that lane every so often, so that may be what really made the CP mad and triggered his apoplexy. There will probably be a new ordinance soon to prohibit parking in the bicycle lanes.

Oh – this just in –  an artist’s rendering of the Councilperson going down Pebble Beach. Now I see why he was infuriated about the the low limbs.

unicycle clown

Incidentally; while I was driving slowly down the streets looking up at the trees I saw a few people standing in their yards. It used to be that when you drove down a street in Farmers Branch the people standing in their yards would smile and wave. Now they stand perfectly still  and glare.

I wonder what’s bothering them.

cartoon - unfriendly neighbors