I got an email the other day that I dismissed as a joke. Here is the story:
The conflict started in 2005 when Darren Wood excavated dirt from a hill on which the homes of his neighbors, Mark Easton and Stan Torgersen, sat. The Eastons and Torgersens were concerned about the stability of the hill and contacted city officials, who ordered Wood to have a soil test performed. Wood was disgruntled by the decision because the previous owner had already done a soil test, and performing it again would cost him $3,000 and delay his construction project by four months.
Then, when Wood began raising the frame for his house around mid-2006, his neighbors were again concerned because the structure rose higher than the rooftops of the other homes around his lot and partially obstructed their view of nearby mountains. Easton and Torgersen again asked city officials to intervene because they believed Wood’s house exceeded the maximum height allowed by local building code. Although Wood conceded that his house might have exceeded the height limit by about a foot, he was again disgruntled because he maintained that once the house was completed and the landscaping laid out, the home would fall within the code, and, in any case, the city had already approved his plans.
Feeling that he was being unfairly harrassed by his neighbors and upset that the construction interruptions they prompted had cost him an additional $25,000, on 15 August 2006 Wood created a visible symbol of his displeasure by installing the vent covering pictured above, which he described as a decorative piece of “abstract art” representing a cactus. His neighbors, of course, viewed the vent cover as a giant hand flipping them off, sending them back to city officials to complain about Wood’s home for a third time.
Apparently, it is no joke. This neighborhood battle over zoning regulation has turned nasty. Here is the news report. I personally think that it could go either way, but if the email version of events is true, I would bet on the finger.