For more than a decade, Susan Meyers’ front sidewalk proved a cheerful hub in her Lower Pacific Heights neighborhood — until one anonymous grump called 311. In this city notorious for giving tremendous credence to solitary complainers — who have the right to halt housing projects, foil their neighbors’ housing remodels and stall emergency transit projects — that one call compelled a visit from a Public Works inspector.
And soon, Meyers’ adorable little library had a notice affixed to it with bright blue tape giving her two choices: Remove the bench and the library or pay $1,402 for a “minor encroachment permit.”
Even though there’s plenty of space on the wide sidewalk for people to walk, push their strollers or pass by in wheelchairs. Even though the home’s front stairs stretch farther into the sidewalk than the bench or library. Even though legions of neighbors love the setup and want it to stay.
Meyers’ neighbors have offered to create a GoFundMe to raise the $1,402 for a permit, but she doesn’t want to go that route. The 79-year-old therapist and her husband, a retired lawyer, could pay the fee, but why should they?
Public Works says the couple doesn't have to pay the fee for now while the department develops a new program to make it easier to add benches, free libraries and other neighborhood amenities, but the details of that proposal aren't yet clear.
“It’s the principle of it,” Meyers told me about getting the notice. “When you’re trying to raise spirits in a city at a very low time, that shouldn’t be punished.”
After reading the above article, I was left shaking my head at the nonsense of it all. Seriously, if both the bench and the Little Free Library referred to in the above article DO NOT encroach upon the sidewalk space AND walkers, baby strollers, and those in wheelchairs are able to use the sidewalk without being restricted in any way, then what's the problem with having the bench and the Little Free Library where they are currently located?
Additionally, as the above article also points out, 'the home’s front stairs stretch farther into the sidewalk than the bench or library', yet the anonymous individual who reported the issue isn't complaining about the stairs apparently.
Click on the above link to read the entire article.