Old Man's Pumpkin Patch Granted Zoning Reprieve, Great Pumpkin Is Pleased


all the o'lanterns have been jackbooted

Every Halloween for the last 50 years, Bud Durrant has sold pumpkins—from a patch on his own property for the last 20. He's something of an institution in Orem, Utah, where hundreds of families are his annual customers. 

So it came as something of a surprise when the city warned him last year that he needed permission from the zoning board to keep the local tradition alive. (Naturally, it was in response to what seems to have been a single complaint.)

Durrant grows and sells in his front yard, but he has a supplementary field 20 miles away as well. Those dangerous foreign pumpkins are the city's license to meddle; selling them technically requires a zoning change. (Also, perhaps the offsite field is insufficiently sincere?)

Needless to say, the old guy was not happy—a sentiment he expressed with some quality fogie slang:

"After 49 years of farming and selling your produce in Orem city, if I'm not grandfathered in, even after 20 years selling them here at our home. If I'm not grandfathered in, there's something haywire."

Durrant applied for the zoning change two weeks ago—nearly 10 weeks before the expected arrival of the Great Pumpkin. Not enough, said city officials. 

Sure, it's nuts that it takes more than 10 weeks to get permission to sell pumpkins, but this—surprisingly—is a story of bureaucratic sanity (or at least bureaucratic humanity, if such a thing is possible). The city council voted on Monday to allow this year's sales to continue, even without the full permitting process and despite the fact that Durrant hadn't adequately heeded last year's warning. 

But for at least two weeks, Durrant (and his regulars) have been on tenterhooks—the inevitable consequence of overly burdensome rules unevenly and unpredictably enforced. And after this year's pumpkinfest is over, Durrant is back down the rabbit hole for another round of battle with the bureaucratic powers that be.

Via alert reader Adam Lisonbee.

NEXT: Trading Fertility for Prosperity

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  1. Effing stupid zoning types. 10 flipping weeks to sell pumpkins?

  2. I grew up down the street from this fellow. His annual pumpkin yard is always very popular. He stacks a lot of veggies in a small yard. It’s impressive. The additional traffic he causes is minimal, the street is really wide, with nice wide shoulders for parking.

    I’d be willing to bet my pumpkins that the complaint came, not from a neighbor, but a competitor.

  3. Why can’t we ever know who is lodging the complaint against these types of things? If someone has enough power to shut down someone’s backyard garden or pull up their basketball goal, they shouldn’t be able to exercise their power through an anonymous phone call. These aren’t violent crimes, and these complainers should not be treated like vulnerable mob informants.

    1. Sixth amendment seems applicable.

      1. Sure, if due process were applied. Since the “infraction” is administrative rather than criminal, they can avoid all that messy “rights” business.

        1. It’s a privilege, not a right!

  4. He should have everyone that buys a pumpkin sign a petition on his behalf.

  5. “(Naturally, it was in response to what seems to have been a single complaint.)”

    Maybe if, after receiving a single complaint, this is at the top of the zoning boards priority list then the zoning boards excess budget could be better utilized in another department.

    1. The board definitaly has its priorities screwd if it can issue a notice of violation, sit on it for the better part of a year, and yet still require more than ten weeks to render a decision only after the citizen has supplicated himself before them.

  6. Really–Utah? Is there nowhere left that you can do your own thing without government bureaucrats feeling the need to fuck with you?

    1. No, there is not.

      1. Yeah, the question was somewhat rhetorical.

    2. If there were, I suspect multi-billionaires wouldn’t be funding projects to build cities in the ocean.

  7. Who complained about something like this? And what mental health services is she receiving?

  8. If I’m not grandfathered in, there’s something haywire.”

    Yeah, what’s haywire is the statist fucks that run the country.

    But these guys, when they run up against this kind of shit never seem to get the big picture. It seems that if they would work it so he can continue without problem, then he’s happy. He doesn’t want to abolish the nonsensical zoning to sell pumpkins, he wants to be grandfathered in. As long as the jackboot doesn’t press him again the pavement, he’s OK with it.

  9. This reminds me that it will be pumpkin beer time soon.

  10. Get we get freedom licenses, permitting us to do things without government meddling? Are those available?

    1. If you complete the training course, apprentice for two years with a “competent, qualified public servant”, and pass the federal “Permitting Permit” test.

      So, no.

  11. When selling pumpkins is criminalized, only the terrorists will get the worm.

  12. Sure, it’s nuts that it takes more than 10 weeks to get permission to sell pumpkins

    In Washington state you can only apply for a comp plan amendment before March 1rst in order to have it amended sometime the next year…January or February….if you miss the March dead line you will have to wait a full year from the last update in January or February to even have the county/city look at it.

    Most if not all zoning changes are comp plan amendments.

    But yeah what ever…smart growth zoning regulations have noooootttthhhiiiiiing to do with the housing bubble and nooooottttthhhhhiiiiiiing at all do with constraining the supply of housing.

  13. Jesus Fukkity Fukkin’ Christ!!!!

    When are these fukkers gonna finally run out of fukkin’ money with which to fuk us???

    1. Depends. How much you got in your wallet?

  14. Good thing he wasn’t selling rabbits or lemonade…

  15. ME… bitches.

  16. Funny that this would require a zoning change.

    It isn’t as though he’s selling stuff all year long. He sells a product around Halloween, on his own property, all while continuing to live at the address the entire time.

    Notice the qualifiers? Annual event, private property, no use changes. One would expect that the city would also require kids at a lemonade stand on their driveway to obtain a zoning change.

    But they don’t. Yet.

    As to the “complaint”, why doesn’t the city have any responsibility to investigate the claims of the complaint to assess merit? Why would this then be a secret?

    The city should be stripped of its ability to adjudicate such matters.

  17. I suggest that the good people of Orem buy extra pumpkins and deliver them to the next zoning board meeting.

  18. Commerce Clause, bitchez!

  19. Im surprised he wasnt listed as an economic land-use terrorist and his pumpkins and property seized….

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