Google Earth Keeps Naughty Homeowners in Check

Jeanne Sager
9

poolThink you can skip a building permit if your fence is high enough to hide something? Think again.

The almighty Google is being used by town code enforcement officers to nab naughty builders.

One shot on Google Earth could cost you big time.

Any wonder it's becoming controversial?

In fact, one town that's been using the aerial images to cite property owners who put in pools without permission has backed off on the practice. The town council in Riverhead, New York, voted to stop doing so because of complaints that they're moving into Big Brother territory.

Their new rule: a violation can't be ordered unless the pool can be seen from the public area.

So maybe you don't need a building permit after all? Heck, let's throw zoning out the window entirely.

The practice sound ingenious to me -- but then, I tend to check with local zoning officials before I build something. And I'm extremely leery of unsafe pools.

I'm wary of Big Brother taking over our lives, but if the satellite photos already exist and they're taken without violating the law ... who are we to argue?

As it stands now, the only thing that keeps code enforcement officers from taking to the skies to check on backyards is finance -- they're legally allowed to fly above us. And if you aren't committing a crime, what are you so worried about?

Is this too Big Brother-ish for you?

 

Image via titlap/Flickr


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