The Story of the Homeowner and the Fence

Once there was this homeowner who wanted to fix his old fence. The old fence had rotted boards and was in general disrepair. The homeowner took his tools and bought some nice pickets at the picket store and replaced all the broken and rotted bits in the fence and put up the new pickets, changing the fence from a board fence to a picket fence. When this hard-working homeowner was nearly finished, a nice man from the jurisdiction the homeowner lived in came by and said, “You need a permit for your fence.”

The homeowner was puzzled at this. He thought he would have needed a permit had the fence been new, but it wasn’t. It was about half-new and he supposed he was doing maintenance on the old fence and did not need a permit.

The nice man from the zoning department disagreed and said, “This looks like a new construction to me, so you need a permit.”

The homeowner said, “…”

So the honest hardworking homeowner went to the zoning office to fill out an application for a permit. The nice people there told him he had to have a “plat” of his property which he didn’t have because of an ancient curse put on his mortgage documents (JK). The nice people conferred for about 15 minutes and then said he could submit a sketch, which he did.

They looked at the sketch in wonderment and said, “This fence is the same place as the other one.”

The homeowner allowed as how they were right.

The nice people said, “We’ll call you when your permit is ready. You give us a bag of gold then and we’ll give you the permit.”

The homeowner went home and waited. Sure enough, the nice man called from the zoning department and said, “How tall is your magic fence?”

“As tall as a dwarf, or about 42 inches,” came the reply.

“Well, then, you don’t need a permit because your magic fence is under four feet.”

“I knew that,” said the homeowner.

And then he said, “…”

The moral of this story: Sometimes there’s nothing to say.

1 Comment

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One response to “The Story of the Homeowner and the Fence

  1. Love the moral! I live in a house that exceeded county requirements for supporting beams, with an extra beam, because the owner was a builder and wanted a very strong house. The permitting people said, but you're supposed to have [2] beams. And, you have [3]. So, you may not have a permit. Much … ensued. They finally agreed to the exception.

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