by James Buchanan
A recent news article reports: “Looking to hit the spot with a savory ice cream at Great Brook Farm State Park this week? You may be out of luck. The park’s popular ice-cream stand was unexpectedly shut down by state officials over the weekend, after the stand’s operator made building improvements at the site without getting permission first.”
“Mark Duffy, who has operated the dairy farm at the state-owned park for 26 years and has a lease with the state to run the stand, said armed Environmental Police officers showed up at (the) stand on Friday evening and stood guard throughout the weekend, turning away customers craving delectable sundaes and frappes.”
“To make matters worse, said Duffy, the shutdown happened right before the sunny Mother’s Day weekend. Edward Lambert, commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, said the stand was closed after it was discovered construction had been done without local or state permits. The work, which expanded the stand, included construction on a barn built in 1910 that is adjacent to the stand, he said. Lambert said he is trying to protect the public’s health and safety while tests are conducted at the site.”
The truth is that most permits involve soaking the public with fees, not safeguarding public safety. Given the continued depressed state of the economy, it’s no surprise that the authorities in Massachusetts are becoming even more greedy.
It seems like most bureaucrats love to delay or deny permits. Wielding that sort of power must give them a thrill, especially when they can hold up a home-building project by years by taking forever to issue the necessary permits. This may explain why many people try to avoid the whole process in the first place. I wonder how many of these permit-issuing drones are taking bribes from contractors so that the permit process is sped up instead of taking months if not years.
If Mr. Duffy had restricted himself to rebuilding or repairing an existing structure, he might have escaped the notice of authorities. Doing any kind of expansion, no matter how minor suddenly brings in a whole host of government parasites from the fee-charging permit division to the tax assessor, who will definitely want to use any expansion as an excuse to bump up Mr. Duffy’s taxes.
Too bad the authorities in Massachusetts don’t realize that the little people, whom they are so fond of pushing around, are the ones, who ultimately pay the taxes to run the government. The shutdown of Mr. Duffy’s ice cream business hurt Mr. Duffy and hurt the state as well. I guess they couldn’t just let him get approval after the fact and pay some minor fine. By the way, how is he supposed to pay his fine when the government shuts down his business?
The article notes “Duffy said he has made countless improvements to the farm over the years without permission. ‘The reason I’m here and the purpose of having me here is to improve the facility and operate a commercial dairy farm,’ said Duffy, 57, who lives on the farm with his wife. ‘I make improvements every single day and have for 26 years.’”
Now he’s done it! Who knows how many retroactive fees and fines the state of Massachusetts and local authorities may hit him with now. America has sure changed a lot since the time when a rancher could buy some land and then build a home, barn and stables without going to the government for a permit for each change.