The following communication is largely self-explanatory, but worthy of commentary, none the less. I’m even tempted to say, “I told you so.” This is, however, another one of those cases where I’d rather be wrong than right.
Re: Fiddler Point Subdivision
Dear Mr. & Mrs…….:
This law firm has been retained by Fiddler Point Homeowner’s Association with respect to your plans for the use of the marsh-front lot that you own immediately north of the Fiddler Lane common area.
In that regard, we have searched the relevant title records, and I am enclosing copies of two plats for your review. As you will see, the plats contain the following note:
Owners of Ringeling property have egress and ingress rights and may tie on to the private water and sewer system of the subdivision available on this parcel (the Fiddler Point subdivision common area). (emphasis added)
Based on a newspaper article in the Georgia Times Union on December 23, 2012, we understand that you desire to allow your property to be used in a manner consistent with a “public park.” While this is a laudable goal, this type of public and unrestricted access across the common area of Fiddler Point is not consistent with the individual access rights that you, as the “owner” of the Ringeling property have to your property.
In addition, Glynn County zoning records indicate that the upland portion of your property is zoned R-12. This zoning designation is not consistent with the “public” use that you proposed.
Accordingly, on behalf of the Fiddler Point Homeowner’s Association, we are requesting that you stop any efforts to use your property as a public park, including the removal of any signage indicating that the property is open to use by the public. Please acknowledge that you understand the requests set forth in this letter. My clients’ strong desire is to resolve these issues without the need for litigation, but we are prepared to enforce these matters in court if necessary.
Thank you in advance for your consideration of this letter. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Mark D. Johnson
There are many points to be made in response to this communication:
1) “Private property” is not what it seems to be. Increasingly, it has become a euphemism for the exclusionary practices that were common during the era of legal residential discrimination and segregation.
2) “Public” on the other hand, has become a dysphemism or, what we might more commonly call a “dirty word.” If it is no longer correct to be antagonistic towards certain individuals or groups, let’s be antagonistic to everyone. The public has become enemy number one.
3) Property rights are a sop and a subterfuge to disguise that individual human rights (the right to perambulate, for one) are to be disregarded and dismissed with impunity.
4) The “exceptionalism,” which many a prospective public servant is eager to tout, is a euphemism to disguise that the United States have always been about making exceptions and setting up exclusions. It was there at the beginning in the Constitution where “all men are created equal,” except for the ones that were kidnapped and sold to be property. Those men and women and children weren’t even whole persons because they were property and they were excepted from the minimal rights all other men supposedly had.
5) The attitude asserted on behalf of the three homeowners, two of whom acquired their property in the last three months, could well be described as insubordinate since, in fact, this little subdivision was carved off a forty acre tract originally purchased by Ringeling’s wife. But then, that’s pretty common in NIMBY world.
6) That the lands in question have been accessed by people in the neighborhood for at least fifty years, in many cases as a convenient place to dump their trash, is obviously of no interest to people who take public garbage collection for granted and expect the yardman to haul out whatever he can’t blow into the common area and the marsh.
7) Sharing is not appreciated by people convinced that they are defined by what they own. If their ownership isn’t exclusive — i.e. doesn’t preclude others from use — then they feel themselves diminished. Generosity is an insult to greed and the greedy are rightly distressed at the prospect of others sharing.
It was, by the way, a major issue with Occupy Wall Street. People giving food away were sticking a finger in the eyes of people whose operational impulse is “No Free Lunch.” Weren’t Adam and Eve expelled from the garden and sentenced to hard labor, if they wanted to survive? To feed the multitudes is to blaspheme.
Seven is a goodly number.