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Saturday essay: Annoyed in Lebo

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

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Friday, April 26, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

The property gendarmes in Mt. Lebanon didn't like my new front-yard split-rail fence. Against the rules, don't cha know. But a pretty much opaque hedgerow or shrubs would be A-OK, they said.

In went the shrubs. They're more of a fence than the fence was. Ha!

At the same time, it was discovered that the public sidewalk in the public right of way in front of my house infringes on my private property by about 4 inches. Fair being fair, rules being the rules, I want Mt. Lebanon to move the sidewalk.

Down the street and around the corner, a neighbor was spied gingerly scraping moss off the top of his slate-roofed garage. Roof moss is against the rules, don't cha know. Surprising that trend-conscious Mt. Lebanon never heard of a green roof.

He also said he was denied permission to build a double-car garage to replace the mossy offender. It would impinge on his backyard, he said he was told. Well, it is his backyard, is it not?

This is the same Mt. Lebanon that levies a rain tax. These clever 'crats of the bureau call it a “fee” for the rain that they say each property sends into the stormwater system. But none from my property does (except, maybe, from the 1,920 square inches from that illegally infringing sidewalk); it goes into a large greenspace where it's absorbed.

Yes, late American newspaperman E.W. Howe got it right:

“(G)overnment does little for fairly respectable people except annoy them.”

— Colin McNickle

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