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Vegetation ordinance ‘Machiavellian’

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Re: the proposed ordinance to allow the city, at the instigation of another landowner, to dictate the vegetation on private property (Journal, April 25). The proposed ordinance, which is put forth with the noble purpose to provide fire protection, would override the more necessary need for citizens to be protected from unnecessary governmental intrusion into our lives. Our “friends,” the politicians and bureaucrats, delight in enacting laws using fear to increase the power of government, and fear of fire is one of the easiest fears to elicit support for laws that curtail freedom. The proposal covers vegetation within 100 feet of a building on another property. In an extreme situation, where the house is at the 5-foot setback, one person would control the use of 95 feet of another’s property. Assuming a house with a depth of 35 feet, the neighbor could lose the use of as much as 18,000 square-feet of property. Auburn politicians and bureaucrats who sponsor this abominable proposal offer the lame excuse that most lots in the city are so small that rarely are distances between houses more than 100 feet, limiting the number of times the ordinance would be used. One inequitable application of a Machiavellian law is one too many. A particularly egregious feature of the proposed ordinance is that the location of the building, which defines the 100-foot restricted distance, is determined by the instigating land user, who built the structure or purchased the building. The person who claims to be in danger as a result of buying or building a structure close enough to another’s property has had other choices. He is like the youth who hacks his parents to death, then claims mercy because he is now an orphan. Dan Sokol, Auburn