Ogden City cites children's box fort as junk violation

Sunday , April 05, 2015 - 3:25 PM

Standard-Examiner correspondent

OGDEN — Jeremy Trentelman wasn’t thinking about violating any municipal codes when he helped his 3-year-old build a major box fort in their front yard last weekend, but apparently someone else did.

When Trentelman got home from work Wednesday he had a notification on his door that he was in violation of Ogden City’s code 12-4-2: Waste Materials or Junk; prohibited on premises. The prohibition covers  junk or salvage material, litter and/or any abandoned or inoperable vehicle. In the notification Trentelman was told he had 15 days to get the boxes off his lawn or he could be charged $125 with the first violation (after the 15 days) with fees and legal actions proceeding from there.

Code enforcement officer Gordon Sant issued the notification. “I’m going to send him a letter, but I haven’t been able to get myself calmed down enough about it to do it,” Trentelman said.

He did post pictures on social media talking about the citation and has gotten quite a bit of positive feedback. “I just thought it was an awesome way to use boxes and my kids’ imagination,” Trentelman said.

Trentelman doesn’t know if someone called and complained or if Sant was just driving by. He admits he sees code enforcement officers frequently in his neighborhood. He has hesitated to complain too loudly because he doesn’t want to be marked by the code enforcement officers. “So I just took it to social media,” he said with a laugh.

“It’s obvious it’s not junk. There is a slide over the side and child graffiti all over the boxes,” Trentelman said. “It looks like a fort,” he added.

Trentelman intends to use the box fort as much as possible, repairing any damaged parts and adding more to it in the next two weeks. “It probably wouldn’t have lasted more than 15 days but you better believe it will be up until day 14,” Trentelman said.

He is tempted to hold a big Easter party with his “infamous box fort” and decorate the boxes even more. “It just seems so silly,” he said.

Trentelman was quick to clarify his feelings, though. "I am confused and irritated by this but I am not genuinely mad," he said.

Several of his neighbors have commented on how amazing the fort is as well. He is surprised with so many other code enforcement violations in the city, that his spot would be noticed. The same day another neighbor was cited because they had temporarily parked their car on their lawn to load some yard clippings.

“I’m just hoping this can get seen by the right people,” Trentelman said of his complaints, noting that he knows there are people in the city the notification wouldn’t set right with. “Apparently my box fort is a nuisance or Mr. Sant is a killjoy.”

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