The Story of the Motorless Home is Coming to an End
I finally spoke to Ms. Hogg at the City of Hamilton Health Department. I was really hoping that she was a coarse, nasty, bitter old woman, so that I could berate her on the internet and call her Ms. Piggy and the like.
Unfortunately, she was very nice, calm and understanding. However, that didn't really get me anywhere. In short, I've got five days to either make the Motorless Home roadworthy or to have it removed from the property.
Yes folks, we are losing the Motorless Home for good.
At first, I thought that there might be a ray of hope; she told me that motorhomes are not subject to the particular ordinance that she is required to enforce, and therefore she can't do anything to me. She did, however, tell me that I needed to speak to someone in the zoning office, and gave me his number.
Hoping that I would be okay after the second call, I dialed. I spoke to the man, and then he hit me with the zoning regs.
- The vehicle must be parked on a prepared surface (concrete, gravel, asphalt, etc.) No part of the vehicle can be on the grass.
- The vehicle must be at least five feet from the property line.
- The vehicle cannot have any flat tires.
- The vehicle must be properly and currently tagged and registered.
- The vehicle cannot be more than 25 feet in length.
Well, the Motorless Home violates all of those. I could fix the first four with some money and within a few days' time. However, the last one....well, I can't exactly cut 12 FEET off this thing.
Since the vehicle is not currently registered and has some flat tires, it is considered a "junk vehicle" by the zoning regulations, and therefore is back in the purview of the Health Department. I explained that I can have the vehicle running in a few months, but that I cannot afford to remove it from my property immediately. I also conveyed to him that there are no storage lots that will allow me to conduct the level of repairs that this unit needs. Minor roof repairs? Sure. Complete engine swap? No way, José.
He told me that he'd call and speak to Ms. Hogg and they'd discuss what my options are and that he'd ask her to call me back. I didn't expect to hear from her until tomorrow. However, within about five minutes, she called.
She told me that the zoning officer had concluded that my motorhome was a junk vehicle and that I was subject to the five-day rule. I asked her what that meant. She told me that I have five days to either fix the things that make it a junk vehicle or to remove it. If I fail to comply within the five days, the city will come and tow the vehicle away to an impound lot.
I explained that I have absolutely no way to pay for an engine or a tow bill within the next five days; it was a logistical and financial impossibility. She very kindly told me that there was no recourse, and that the city would be coming to tow it. I expressed concern about any storage fees associated with the impound. She told me that I only need to worry about it if I wanted to keep it. After some period of time, the tow company could petition the state to take ownership.
At that point, I realized that I was completely painted into a corner. There are no two ways about this; in five days' time, the Motorless Home will disappear forever. I told her that this was my only option, and that I wasn't happy about it. She offered to have the police come and tow it the next day. I told her that I'd need time to get my possessions out of it. She even offered me a single five-day extension so that I could have the time I needed to get my stuff out. I told her I'd call her back the next day and let her know what we wanted to do, since I had not had a chance to discuss this with Linda yet.
So, that's when I decided that I'd let them take it. But first, I will be taking everything that has value out of the thing. Here's the list that Linda and I came up with:
- Hydraulic valve body
- 12v converter/charger
- auto transfer switch
- Rear Roof AC
- Front Roof AC
- Hydraulic pump
- 12v light fixtures
- coffee maker
- fire extinguishers
- CB & antenna
- heavy gauge battery cables
- water pump
- breaker panels
- long 30A power cord
- propane tank
- propane gauge (kitchen)
- front furnace
- small water heater
So, I've got 10 days to strip all this stuff. I'm gonna be really, really busy!
Anybody want to come help?