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Old 06-15-2006, 01:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Can't dig hole in own property?

Quote:
Gold Hunter Digs 60-Foot-Deep Hole in Yard
LINK
MONTCLAIR, Calif. (June 15) - A homeowner digging for gold in his front yard said he got "carried away" and ended up with a 60-foot-deep hole, authorities said.

Henry Mora, 63, began digging 10 days ago after his gold detector reported a positive hit near his front patio. He told authorities he only intended to go down three or four feet.

"I figured, well, maybe there's something down there - you would logically conclude, right? So I started digging," the semiretired musician said.

He started finding gold dust in the dirt and the detector kept hinting that he was getting closer, so he kept digging.

"It was still beeping, and that just gave me the idea to keep digging," he said.

Fire officials called to the scene Tuesday found two men that Mora hired were inside the hole, using a bucket and rope to remove dirt.

"We told him, 'You're done,"' said Montclair fire Capt. Rich Baldwin. "It's amazing no one got killed."

Authorities fenced off the property.
It's your property isn't it? Why can't you dig to your heart's content? If you strike oil or gold is it yours?

From what I understand, no you don't actually own the property, the city does, you just own the building that is on top of it. ( forget the name of the type of deed that you need to have in order to actually own the land.)

Should he be allowed to keep digging? What's reasonable?
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Old 06-15-2006, 01:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Two things:

1) we don't own the air or subterrannian rights to our land (unless you have a seperate deal granting you those rights
2) regardless of what he owns, I am sure that his town/city/municipality requires permits for digging. Just like you can't build just any old house on your property, you can't just up and dig any old hole. It has to conform to code.


This has become an issue in British Columbia where the province grants mining rights to the land beneath homeowner's lands... suddenly there is a stranger walking on your property with the right to build roads and sink shafts...
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Old 06-15-2006, 01:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well, my first thought was "trench wall collapse". Lots of people get trapped in holes and die if the sides aren't properly reinforced. The article didn't say the reason why they stopped him, though.
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Old 06-15-2006, 01:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redlemon
Well, my first thought was "trench wall collapse". Lots of people get trapped in holes and die if the sides aren't properly reinforced. The article didn't say the reason why they stopped him, though.
I'm sure that's it. Public safety issue.

Quote:
said Montclair fire Capt. Rich Baldwin. "It's amazing no one got killed."
Incidentally, did you know that in Kuala Lumpur, they're digging a massive tunnel to divert annual river floodwaters and to carry traffic, but they have to dig it under the right-of-way of an existing major freeway, because under Malasian law property rights extend down to the center of the earth! So you can't just go tunneling under somebody's property--you're taking away their soil!
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Old 06-15-2006, 01:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Charlatan hit it on the head with #1 and #2. If I strike oil where I love now, it's the citys oil. If they want to get the oil, then they have to pay me to build an extractor on my land. In most areas, they require permits to dig beyond a certian depth. I had to get permission to dig a 4 foot deep trench in my front yard to put in a new main line.
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Old 06-15-2006, 01:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Seems like a common sense issue. The technical fact that the city owns the soil aside, would you really want your neighbor to have a 60ft exposed hole in their front yard? In a world where in certain areas you can be fined for not mowing your lawn or for having junker cars littering the place, I don't see this as a big stretch.

The idea that you can do what you want on your own property really only goes so far. Where do you draw the line? I think most would say that if you break the law, it doesn't matter whether you are doing so on your own property or not. It certainly doesn't (and shouldn't!) let you get away with murder. If there is a law against having 60ft holes dug by amateurs (and I'm sure there are, for obvious safety reasons), then there's no reason this should be exempt.

Have you ever tried to or thought about modifying your home? You don't just go and do it. The last place I lived in was a converted barn. It looked just like a home, and it was a home. However, the main room was very large and had a steepled roof and upstairs loft which was a bedroom. When this was a barn (long, long ago) that was where they stored hay, and the access to it was a ladder. The original owner who made it a house added a staircase. Well, one day an inspector came for reasons I am not sure of (as I only rented the place), and decided that the stairs were (a) done without getting a permit, and (b) not constructed according to code. Those stairs were destroyed and a ladder put back. Now, I found this to be extremely irritating, as you might imagine, but it demonstrates the simple principle that the city has a VERY strong influence on what you can an cannot do on your property.

If they come in and say my house has to be wheelchair accessible, I might gripe. But many of the codes exist to normalize construction procedures and standards for safety reasons. The precise spacing of nails, the type used, how many were used. These things are codified, and historically for good reason.
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Old 06-15-2006, 01:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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In addition to the safety issue of sidewall collapse, there is also the "call before you dig" regulation in many locales. If you sever a fiber optic line, you are going to be out big bucks for a long time.
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Old 06-15-2006, 02:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Wait.... there's really such a thing as a gold detector?
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Old 06-15-2006, 03:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carno
Wait.... there's really such a thing as a gold detector?
Yes, it's a 23 year old Jewish girl from Long Island.....


Probably only eastcoasters got that one....
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Old 06-15-2006, 03:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Wait... there's really such a thing as a gold detector?
Yes, they're advanced devices usually used by the large mining operations. Gold detectors work by the careful arrangement of an array of optosensors that detect shifts in the spectrum and intensity of light. For best results the array is mounted to allow precise monitoring of a young Jewish girl's twinkling eyes.

Seriously, as far as I know they're just tuned/filtered metal detectors.
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Old 06-15-2006, 03:49 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I've helped my neighbor dig a 5 foot deep trench to his house. We were working by hand, and I'll say that even at that relatively shallow depth it was scary to think about the walls collapsing. That would have involved tons of soil and rock. What in the world made this guy think it was safe to be down that deep?
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Old 06-15-2006, 05:14 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ngdawg
Yes, it's a 23 year old Jewish girl from Long Island.....


Probably only eastcoasters got that one....

got it. loved it.

a 60 foot hole sounds like a death trap to me, unless it's reinforced. somebody dies or gets seriously hurt, and it's a short leap to a lawsuit that includes municipalities, etc. as much as it's a pain in the ass, most of this municipal meddling has very good precedent behind it. marry a lawyer, and see it for yourself.
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Last edited by meembo; 06-15-2006 at 05:16 PM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 06-15-2006, 05:18 PM   #13 (permalink)
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when we were kids, digging holes while at the beach, my mother always asked us if we were digging our way to china... maybe this guy was trying to get there...
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Old 06-15-2006, 05:53 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I don't have a URL, but I saw a post on a blog about this just now.

Apparently the guy had a hand-rigged pully system lifting paint cans full of dirt out of the hole, and the guys he had down in the hole were sucking on a garden hose for air (carbon dioxide being heavier than air, after all, and with a few guys working hard down the hole, I'm sure they filled the hole with Oxygen-depleted air pretty quick).

This was a major excavation that was completely jury-rigged. He should have been stopped before he passed 10 feet.
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Old 06-15-2006, 06:43 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlatan
Two things:

1) we don't own the air or subterrannian rights to our land (unless you have a seperate deal granting you those rights
2) regardless of what he owns, I am sure that his town/city/municipality requires permits for digging. Just like you can't build just any old house on your property, you can't just up and dig any old hole. It has to conform to code.

3) He hired two people to help him dig. Now he has employees working in an unsafe, unstable environment that's likely to collapse and kill them. Yes, he can be stopped for that.
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Old 06-15-2006, 06:53 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ngdawg
Yes, it's a 23 year old Jewish girl from Long Island.....


Probably only eastcoasters got that one....
WOW, ng, that was cutting....true, but cutting. Still laughing.
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Old 06-15-2006, 10:22 PM   #17 (permalink)
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You don't really own any of your land, your lease it from the government.
That is why you pay property tax, unless you have a allodial title to your land. I think all the states have made it impossible to get those by now.
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Old 06-16-2006, 06:16 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Well until this eminent domain issue, I'd have said the land is yours to do with as you please.

The only reason the above posters are saying the government owns YOUR land is because they are allowing the government to. (Fight the power, YOUR MONEY = YOUR LAND)

I would say depending on where he was putting the dirt, how big his front yard is, did he have lights that kept his neighbors up, the fact he had 2 people working in conditions that were probably unsafe, and how close was he to the sewer lines/underground utilities?

I don't think he got busted because he dug a hole, I think he got busted because of the safety and probably the neighborhood disturbances. Also doesn't sound like he was arrested or his land confiscated.... he just had to stop.

Having done surveys with my dad and having done many deed researches.... YOU OWN THE LAND. The only provision on most deeds is that you have to allow access for public utilities (i.e> water/sewer lines).

Basically, if I wanted to dig a hole straight down on my property, so long as I have the required permits, safe working environment and did not disturb my neighbors I can. Same as if I wish to build my house into a 20 story building, so long as I have the proper permits and so on, I may. IT IS MY LAND.

(Now getting the permits for such things or making sure they are not nuisances to the neighbors is a totally different argument. If I live in BFE country..... I can damn well do it no problem.... but in the city with a 90x150 parcel...... I think I'd have a hard time getting the permits.)

This is USA only.... other countries I have no idea if you own your land..... you should but.......

PS funny thing about all those Condos being built...... you don't own the land, you don't own the building all your money pays for is the right to live there..... glorified rent....don't understand how or why people are paying $100,000's to "own" one and then paying upkeep and so on.... only to find out if the owner of the "community" decides to sell to a mall..... you don't own shit, and have basically thrown your money away.
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Last edited by pan6467; 06-16-2006 at 06:23 AM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 06-16-2006, 06:45 AM   #19 (permalink)
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<STRONG>Allodial title</STRONG> is a concept in some systems of property law. It describes a situation where <A class=ilnk onclick="assignParam('navinfo','method|4'+getLinkTextForCookie(this));" href="http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;jsessionid=2gwk4iwq16jno?tname=real-property&amp;sbid=lc04b" target=_top>real property</A> (i.e., land, <A class=ilnk onclick="assignParam('navinfo','method|4'+getLinkTextForCookie(this));" href="http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;jsessionid=2gwk4iwq16jno?tname=building&amp;sbid=lc04b" target=_top>buildings</A> and <A class=ilnk onclick="assignParam('navinfo','method|4'+getLinkTextForCookie(this));" href="http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;jsessionid=2gwk4iwq16jno?tname=fixtures&amp;sbid=lc04b" target=_top>fixtures</A>) is owned free and clear of any <A class=ilnk onclick="assignParam('navinfo','method|4'+getLinkTextForCookie(this));" href="http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;jsessionid=2gwk4iwq16jno?tname=encumbrance&amp;sbid=lc04b" target=_top>encumbrances</A>, including <A class=ilnk onclick="assignParam('navinfo','method|4'+getLinkTextForCookie(this));" href="http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;jsessionid=2gwk4iwq16jno?tname=lien&amp;sbid=lc04b" target=_top>liens</A>, <A class=ilnk onclick="assignParam('navinfo','method|4'+getLinkTextForCookie(this));" href="http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;jsessionid=2gwk4iwq16jno?tname=mortgage&amp;sbid=lc04b" target=_top>mortgages</A> and <A class=ilnk onclick="assignParam('navinfo','method|4'+getLinkTextForCookie(this));" href="http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;jsessionid=2gwk4iwq16jno?tname=tax&amp;sbid=lc04b" target=_top>tax</A> obligations. Allodial title is <A class=ilnk onclick="assignParam('navinfo','method|4'+getLinkTextForCookie(this));" href="http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;jsessionid=2gwk4iwq16jno?tname=inalienable-rights&amp;sbid=lc04b" target=_top>inalienable</A>, in that it cannot be taken by any <A class=ilnk onclick="assignParam('navinfo','method|4'+getLinkTextForCookie(this));" href="http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;jsessionid=2gwk4iwq16jno?tname=operation-of-law&amp;sbid=lc04b" target=_top>operation of law</A> for any reason whatsoever. True allodial title is rare, with most property ownership in the common law world—primarily, the <A class=ilnk onclick="assignParam('navinfo','method|4'+getLinkTextForCookie(this));" href="http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;jsessionid=2gwk4iwq16jno?tname=united-kingdom&amp;sbid=lc04b" target=_top>United Kingdom</A>, the <A class=ilnk onclick="assignParam('navinfo','method|4'+getLinkTextForCookie(this));" href="http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;jsessionid=2gwk4iwq16jno?tname=united-states&amp;sbid=lc04b" target=_top>United States</A>, <A class=ilnk onclick="assignParam('navinfo','method|4'+getLinkTextForCookie(this));" href="http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;jsessionid=2gwk4iwq16jno?tname=canada&amp;sbid=lc04b" target=_top>Canada</A>, <A class=ilnk onclick="assignParam('navinfo','method|4'+getLinkTextForCookie(this));" href="http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;jsessionid=2gwk4iwq16jno?tname=australia&amp;sbid=lc04b" target=_top>Australia</A> and <A class=ilnk onclick="assignParam('navinfo','method|4'+getLinkTextForCookie(this));" href="http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;jsessionid=2gwk4iwq16jno?tname=new-zealand&amp;sbid=lc04b" target=_top>New Zealand</A>—described more properly as being in <I><A class=ilnk onclick="assignParam('navinfo','method|4'+getLinkTextForCookie(this));" href="http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;jsessionid=2gwk4iwq16jno?tname=fee-simple&amp;sbid=lc04b" target=_top>fee simple</A></I>. In particular, in the nations recognising <A class=ilnk onclick="assignParam('navinfo','method|4'+getLinkTextForCookie(this));" href="http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;jsessionid=2gwk4iwq16jno?tname=queen-elizabeth-ii&amp;sbid=lc04b" target=_top>Elizabeth II</A> as sovereign, land is said to be "held of the Crown." In common legal use, allodial title is used to distinguish absolute ownership of land by individuals from <A class=ilnk onclick="assignParam('navinfo','method|4'+getLinkTextForCookie(this));" href="http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;jsessionid=2gwk4iwq16jno?tname=feudalism&amp;sbid=lc04b" target=_top>feudal</A> ownership, where property ownership is dependent on relationship to a <A class=ilnk onclick="assignParam('navinfo','method|4'+getLinkTextForCookie(this));" href="http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;jsessionid=2gwk4iwq16jno?tname=lord&amp;sbid=lc04b" target=_top>lord</A> or the <A class=ilnk onclick="assignParam('navinfo','method|4'+getLinkTextForCookie(this));" href="http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;jsessionid=2gwk4iwq16jno?tname=monarch&amp;sbid=lc04b" target=_top>sovereign</A>. Webster's first dictionary says allodium is "land which is absolute property of the owner, real estate held in absolute independence, without being subject to any rent, service, or acknowledgement to a superior. It is thus opposed to <I>feud.</I> In England, there is no allodial land, all land being held of the king; but in the United States most lands are allodial." In France while allodial title existed before the <A class=ilnk onclick="assignParam('navinfo','method|4'+getLinkTextForCookie(this));" href="http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;jsessionid=2gwk4iwq16jno?tname=french-revolution&amp;sbid=lc04b" target=_top>French Revolution</A> it was rare and limited to <SPAN class=brokenlink>ecclesiatical</SPAN> properties and property that had fallen out of feudal ownership. After the French Revolution allodial title became the norm in France and other civil law countries that were under <A class=ilnk onclick="assignParam('navinfo','method|4'+getLinkTextForCookie(this));" href="http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;jsessionid=2gwk4iwq16jno?tname=napoleon-bonaparte&amp;sbid=lc04b" target=_top>Napoleonic</A> legal influences. Interestingly <A class=ilnk onclick="assignParam('navinfo','method|4'+getLinkTextForCookie(this));" href="http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;jsessionid=2gwk4iwq16jno?tname=quebec-city-quebec&amp;sbid=lc04b" target=_top>Quebec</A> adopted a form of allodial title when it abolished feudalism in the mid-nineteenth century making the forms of ownership in Upper and <A class=ilnk onclick="assignParam('navinfo','method|4'+getLinkTextForCookie(this));" href="http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;jsessionid=2gwk4iwq16jno?tname=lower-canada&amp;sbid=lc04b" target=_top>Lower Canada</A> remarkably similar in substance.
This was the kind of title that I was looking for as explained by Michael Badnarik on what one could do on their "property."
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Old 06-16-2006, 07:58 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Interesting that Webster's says most land is allodial in the US. It must be referencing the status of land ownership in early US history, because that's certainly not the case now. If I remember correctly, there are only a couple states where allodial title on land is even possible and even so it is quite difficult to get it.

Cars are another thing, btw, that are almost never fully owned. Hence, the government's ability to require that you have vehicle stickers, etc.
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Old 06-16-2006, 08:00 AM   #21 (permalink)
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If you pay tax on your land, then it isn't your land. You are 'renting' it from the government.
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Old 06-16-2006, 08:49 AM   #22 (permalink)
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A 60 ft deep hole is dangerous as hell when not properly maintained. There's the Carbon Dioxide, Unstable walls, And an un-marked hole in an unsuspecting place isn't exactly safe either. A collapse might also damage the foundation of nearby buildings. A permit would definitely be required for a hole of that size.

I gotta give the guy credit though, a 60 foot hole in 10 days is impressive without machines.
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Old 06-16-2006, 02:29 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
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If you pay tax on your land, then it isn't your land. You are 'renting' it from the government.
So if I buy some apples, which are taxed, from a store, then they aren't really my apples, but the governments, and I just borrowed them to eat them?
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Old 06-16-2006, 06:02 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by SecretMethod70
Cars are another thing, btw, that are almost never fully owned. Hence, the government's ability to require that you have vehicle stickers, etc.
I don't think that's entirely true; not here, at least. I know that on the farms out where I grew up it wasn't uncommon to see old beater trucks or cars (Beetles were popular) out in the fields. They didn't have to be registered or insured or anything and it was cool for anyone tall enough to drive them.

What I'm getting at is that when you buy a car, you own that car. Excluding a lease or bank loan, the car is yours to do with as you please - the idea of stickers and insurance and such only applies if you plan on using public roads.
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Old 06-16-2006, 06:25 PM   #25 (permalink)
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What I'm getting at is that when you buy a car, you own that car. Excluding a lease or bank loan, the car is yours to do with as you please - the idea of stickers and insurance and such only applies if you plan on using public roads.
You can't necessarily do with it what you please... try importing a car that is not safety inspected into the US and you will see what I mean.
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Old 06-16-2006, 11:25 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Painted
So if I buy some apples, which are taxed, from a store, then they aren't really my apples, but the governments, and I just borrowed them to eat them?

That isn't really a good analogy.


If you don't pay your taxes on your land, they will take it away.
That sounds more like renting, then ownership.

Because you don't really own your land, you can't always do what you want to with it.
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Old 06-17-2006, 06:39 AM   #27 (permalink)
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I'm just awed that he could dig 18 meters down without hitting ground water... California must be a dry place. A guy I know got his basement flooded when his neighbour two houses uphill did some drainage work around his foundation. So that needs to be taken into consideration.
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Old 06-17-2006, 07:39 AM   #28 (permalink)
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The deed to my home specificly gives me 50% of the mineral rights under my property and lists the person/company that owns the rest.


Welcome to Colorado, where we own our homes; but not what is under them.


In reality, the EPA regulations around here make mining under my home virtually impossible. It's still odd to see another name on the deed to your home.
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Old 06-17-2006, 03:57 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Painted
So if I buy some apples, which are taxed, from a store, then they aren't really my apples, but the governments, and I just borrowed them to eat them?
You don't have to pay a tax on those apples at a fixed time or face seizure by the government. If I don't pay property tax on my house or car, guess who takes them away?
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Old 06-17-2006, 05:00 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3Z3VH
You can't necessarily do with it what you please... try importing a car that is not safety inspected into the US and you will see what I mean.
But that falls back again on whether or not you want to drive it on a public road. If you want to drive your car on your own private property, you don't need to register it, which is Martian's point.
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Old 06-17-2006, 08:49 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Doesn't matter if you plan to drive it at all. When I considered buying a hand-made car from the UK once, it was a nightmare of paperwork, and the only stipulation I found was if I could somehow show them it was to be a display piece, or if I had it shipped without a motor, and have the motor shipped seperately, so it is not considered a full car. It turned out to be too much hassle to bother with.
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Old 06-17-2006, 09:10 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willravel
If I strike oil where I love now, it's the citys oil. If they want to get the oil, then they have to pay me to build an extractor on my land....

or they could be like Mr Burns when oil was found in Springfeild, he dug a long sideways hole to steal the oil
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Old 06-18-2006, 01:00 AM   #33 (permalink)
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being a builder i can tell you another reason why they made him stop what ever the &^%$ he was doing 60 feet down.

other than the fact that you have safety issues to do with his workers, you also have safety issues to do with the public.

for example:

1) if he was digging his front yeard was his front yard fenced in from the public. if he had visitors or intruders and they fell in, did he have safety measures in place to prevent injuries

2) did he take into consideration the type of soil he was digging? obviously if he dug out a 60 foot hole in 10 days without machinery he is obviously not digging into rock or hard shale, but rather into clay or some softer soils. usually clays are susceptible to major shrinkage and expansion when it becomes wet, thus weakening the sides of the walls. you can obvioulsy dig deeper in rock without supporting the sides of the excavation, but its a lot less with clay or sand for obvious reasons.

3) did he take into consideration how close he was digging to the neighbours? for example, seeing that he was digging into a clay substrate, the soil would be quite weak. now assuming the building next door is only 10m away, according to the law called the 'zone of influence', you could only dig a 10m hole without supporting the building next door. basically the zone of influence works at a 45 degree angle from the bottom of the neighbours footing and goes out. once the excavation on this guys propery hits that 45 degree line called the 'zone of influence' he will need to support that building next door. if there is heavy rain and the building next door 'slips' (even a tiny amount) causing cracking, then the guy is up for damages to neighbouring property. and seeing that he hasnt got a permit, he obviously doesnt have public liability insurance, which means that if shit hits the prverbial, he's either selling whatever he owns or he's in jail.

sorry for the rant, but people should never be allowed to be doing this sort of shit without some sort of advice from some proffesional person. most people would be glad to give free proffesional advice.
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Old 06-18-2006, 04:46 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Location: Indiana
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincentt
If you pay tax on your land, then it isn't your land. You are 'renting' it from the government.
Yes, exactly. I don't know of anyone who actually owns their land, although I've heard it's possible to not 'rent' from the government.
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