Jul 24, 2006

On Lawn Rocks and Drunk Drivers

(Toledo, OH) I recently came into possession of a collection of large rocks that I have strategically placed in a decorative fashion around my lawn. The previous owner of the boulders was my next door neighbor, who - at age 85 - feels he is too old to use the weed trimmer to cut around the rocks any longer.

We worked a deal where I will cut a section of his grass that is inaccessible to his riding lawnmower. I get rocks, he gets free grass cutting - it's win-win, baby.

But I digress.

My lot is on a fairly busy residential corner, and over the years my lawn has been terrorized by inebriated motorists who cannot seem to keep their vehicles on the actual pavement. While I looked to the newly-acquired chunks of granite and sandstone as "decorative," I could not help but gleefully envision the night when the next sloshed buffoon would barrel through my grass and, well, pay a toll for his stupidity.

For the record - I am no lawn Nazi, and one will find crabgrass, dandelions, and clover jockeying for position with my fescue. That being said, pairs of tire tracks in the front yard do detract from its aesthetic appeal, and I do my best to cut and trim my motley lawn on a regular basis.

My weeds are very short weeds.

Since the placement of the weighty stones last month I have not seen a set of tire tracks on my lawn, and I believe two vehicles have "kissed the gneiss." I thus have a better-looking lawn, and at least two dweebs have learned lessons about wandering off the road.

A quick question, though - are there ordinances that specify the distance such rocks must be placed away from the road? I have mine about one foot off the pavement, but I have neighbors who place theirs right on the road's edge.

The last thing I would like to do is be the recipient of a city citation, or wind up on the losing end of a frivolous lawsuit.


Lisa Renee said...

Being the city of Charter geek that I am I looked, I couldn't find anything that would apply as long as the stone is in your yard and not in the street. I did however find this...which I thought was disturbing:

521.05. Playing ball in streets.
(a) No person shall throw, pitch, toss, knock or bat any ball in, or along the street, lane or highway in the City or play any game of ball therein.

(1952 Code § 17-6-104; Ord. 122-74)

(b) It is an affirmative defense to a charge under this section that the actor was playing basketball at a City-authorized basketball hoop during daylight hours in the public right of way and that the actor did not refuse to yield the right of way to lawful use of the street.

(c) Whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor

Kate said...

ok - that's not nice Lisa :-( No bball? No stick ball? Geesh.

Mike - I'd sidle those bad boys right up next to the street. I think you're being charitable - I'd buy those concrete thingies with the triangular/sharper edged rocks sticking up that'd flatten tires :-)

Assuming that you have a bonafide and easily viewed parking area. ?

Anchorage Activist said...

Mike - in the absence of any specifications for rocks, I would follow the "setback" rules for fences.

This means if your local codes require you to place a fence two feet back from the edge of the street, then place your rocks two feet back also. This approach might better protect you if someone decides to file a civil suit.

Actually, I like Kate's idea about the "concrete thingies". A bit more diabolical. :-D

Do said...

Mike - try placing partially rotted railroad ties in between the rocks, then hold them in place with 3 pieces of re-bar spaced evenly in each tie. When some moron hits one of those it will partially break down and the re-bar makes a nice puncture in the tires. Works beautifully. ;)

And I agree with Anchorage Activist - keep in line with the setbacks just to be sure you are following the 'letter of the law' and there won't be any room for argument that someone went into the yard area.

-Sepp said...

I think you should have gone with bigger rocks! A drunk will probably not notice hitting those small stones and just wake up the next morning and assume "vandals" did something to his car while it was parked at the bar.

Stephanie said...

If you don't mind my asking, how is your home situated that drunks are jumping the curb into your lawn? That's something I've never seen for myself.

Calico Jack said...

I've seen the same thing happen in my neighborhood. I think it's kids in SoccerMom's SUV trying for a little off road experience.

My neighbor had some numbskull who would park his car on my neighbor's lawn every morning and sit there for an hour or more. Just what the tresspasser was doing was never specified. My neighbor arranged a set of rocks in the unofficial parking area, and discovered traces of oil and antifreeze the next morning.

Some time later the Sylvania PD paid the property owner a visit and told him to remove the tank trap, which he did. There have been no more parking incidents.

historymike said...

My house is in one of the Toledo neighborhoods without curbs or sidewalks, so motorists do not have the curb to remind them when they stray.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Now I know way too much about gneiss; more than most would ever want to know ;-)

Stephanie said...

Ah, no curbs and no sidewalks...that would certainly explain it. Where I'm at it's currently an issue when sidewalks aren't on both sides of the street in new subdivisions, but they all have curbs. Could you build your own "curb?"