America the Messy Yard Police State
Messy Yard Cops force guy to remove Chicken StatueDon't these pigs or in this case "messy yard cops" have any real criminals to hunt down?
Fowl statue pits pizzeria owner vs. Apache Junction
by Lindsey Collom - Oct. 25, 2010 09:04 PM
The Arizona Republic
A statue outside an Apache Junction restaurant has sparked what city officials are now calling the case of the 800-pound rooster.
How much the statue actually weighs is up for debate. Its owner and city officials can't agree on how they got to this point, much less whether to call it a rooster or a hen.
For three days, the giant aluminum fowl was perched atop Hitching Post Pizza and Pub off Arizona 88 approaching the Superstition Mountains. Owner Mehmood Mohiuddin envisioned it as a sort of landmark.
That was until the city made him take it down. On Oct. 12, a city building inspector flanked by two policemen cited Mohiuddin for erecting the statue without a permit. He's now facing a criminal charge that could result in a $2,500 fine, six months in jail and three years' probation.
Mohiuddin is scheduled to go before a judge Tuesday.
City Attorney Richard Stern said police don't typically enforce building codes except in extreme circumstances, and he characterized the towering rooster as a public-safety hazard.
"It could have fallen down on people walking in. Under the building code, that is a crime," he said.
Mohiuddin said he inquired with the city in March and was told he needed a permit. He said he followed up three months ago and that there was some confusion about whether the sign code would apply to the statue. "They told me they would look into it and get back with me. No return call."
On his fourth try, he told a staff member that the chicken would be placed on the roof within two weeks unless he heard otherwise.
With the aid of a crane, the bird took its roost Oct. 9.
The Cass 1 misdemeanor charge, Mohiuddin said, is the latest in a string of difficulties he has encountered since he began working with the city in January 2009.
He said he suspects it has something to do with the man he hired to renovate the building: Joe Severs, a former Apache Junction councilman who quit the post in October 2008 after reports surfaced that he was living in Gilbert. Council members are required to live in Apache Junction.
"Every step of the way, the city gave us a really hard time," from interior design to planters in the parking lot, Mohiuddin said.
Ernest Imbeault owns Dreams & Legends of the Superstitions Gallery, just west of Hitching Post Pizza on Arizona 88. "They treat every business that way," Imbeault said. "That's why nobody wants to do business here."
Brad Steinke, director of the city's Development Services Department, said Mohiuddin has fought the process.
Steinke said, for example, Mohiuddin initially resisted adding a fire-suppression unit, a code requirement, to Hitching Post's kitchen. When a kitchen fire erupted earlier this year and injured an employee, the suppression system "helped save from further injury and damage," Steinke said.
"We have worked with him many times - he knew there was a process," Stern, the city attorney, said. "The city would not blow him off. This was a heightened issue. . . . He's demonized the staff."
Mohiuddin purchased a $30 permit for the 8-foot-tall chicken last week. He is making arrangements for it to be placed on the ground in front of the restaurant.
For now, the statue stands behind a fence in the back of the building.
Mohiuddin said he's eager to move on.
"I just want to operate that business. . . . I want to obey by law and I want to make my livelihood."