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Interlopers

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If you’re reading this blog, then it’s a safe bet that all the rights and responsibilities which come with owning a home are extremely important to you.

Imagine if someone you don’t know suddenly decreed that they had authority over your home. They say you’ll now be required to abide by certain codes that they favor, pay the taxes which they will levy, and secure licenses for certain activities that were previously unregulated. You might think that sounds like the bygone days of kings and lords, but it’s a reality faced by a locality that’s near and dear to the Extreme How-To staff.

Building and zoning codes are funny things in that they vary greatly from place to place. Some codes make sense for the sake of safety, some codes are implemented for political reasons, and some city regulations are implemented to generate revenue. Generally speaking, codes are adopted by government officials, and the citizens of those cities have a voice in who comprises those government officials.

That’s where the Citizens Against Lincoln Expansion (CALE) have a problem. They had no say in all the new regulations that the nearby city of Lincoln, Alabama, is trying to stick them with. Zoning codes are municipal ordinances, but CALE represents a group of homeowners who have long lived outside the city that’s claiming new authority over their land.

The problem reared its head when the population of Lincoln surpassed 6,000 people in the 2010 census. The Lincoln police jurisdiction had extended 1.5 miles beyond the city limits, but expanded to three miles with the population surge. Now the city is claiming authority over a large number of homes that are located in unincorporated county territory that is not part of Lincoln.

“They are regulating and taxing land that is not part of Lincoln,” CALE spokesman John Hubbard said to local news station ABC 33/40. “These people have no voice in Lincoln. They want no voice in Lincoln. They want to be left alone in Talladega County.”

This story reminds me of the tales of Robin Hood. Typically remembered as the hero who “robbed from the rich and gave to the poor,” people often forget exactly who comprised the “rich” he was targeting. It was the greedy Prince John and his henchman, the Sheriff of Nottingham, who collected unlimited taxes from the people against their will.

If memory serves, everybody tended to cheer for Robin Hood, and nobody much liked the sheriff or the prince.

Good luck, CALE.

Learn more here.

— M. Weber

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