Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Countdown To CAOmageddon: Flaw #12 - Clear As Mud

Not only are the proposed new CAOs offensively intrusive, they are an offense to read. They are horrifically long; yet, what they lack in brevity, they make up for in vagueness.

It will be a virtual impossibility for laymen and experts alike to figure out what is legal. However, I suppose that might be part of the County's plan: to get us to ask permission for everything. I further suppose that many years of litigation are ahead of us to clarify several aspects of the code.

Here is a summary of the length of the ordinances as they stand right now.
Granted, the drafts still include crossed-out text which adds to their length, but at the same time, the tallies above don't include the associated maps, which go on for pages more. As is, the total stands at 165 pages of CAOs, not counting the CARA.

While many bills in Congress can exceed 1,000 pages, the average length for a Congressional Bill is just 15 pages. When Congress is an order of magnitude more concise than our own Council, heaven help us.

For the record, the existing CAO is only 17 pages long.

If you haven't looked at the draft CAOs, please do. They have to be seen to be believed, so you must look at them yourself. The impenetrable prose is punctuated by "helpful" flowcharts, such as the one shown below. While you are in a reading mood, have a gander at the Planning Commission minority report on the Fish & Wildlife Habitat CAO too. I think you'll find that to be much more interesting than the CAO itself.
Flowchart from the proposed Fish & Wildlife Habitat CAO

1 comment:

  1. The key problem that results from the offensively bad writing of the proposed CAO changes is that the Building Czar will be considered the font of all wisdom and final decisionmaker regarding every textual nicety. Given his poor track record with the comparatively simple badic building codes, this bodes I'll for homeowners and citizens.

    Ask someone in CDPD what " to the maximum extent possible" means. That person is going to tell you where to site your house, so listen carefully.