Osceola couple fights back against code enforcement after citation

NOW: Osceola couple fights back against code enforcement after citation


OSCEOLA, Ind. -- Your home, your rules? Not necessarily.  In Osceola, some homeowners are coming out, and saying that code enforcement is taking a step too far. 

"We take the snow plow, and plow out our neighbors. We thought we were good citizens," says Jennifer O'Brien. "You kind of start to wonder what is the benefit of being a good citizen."

It's a quiet house, surrounded by flowers and chirping birds. 

It's a neat, tidy home - but not according to Osceola code enforcement. 

"Last week, in the mailbox we got a violation for having junk,"explains O'Brien.

The junk refers to two boat trailers, one of which was just sold, and a snow plow.  It's the plow that O'Brien's husband uses to plow out families in the winter.

"Why are you consider a snow plow one of the things?" she questions. "He's had the boat trailer for five years and no one has cared. There has never been an issue."

But that's not even what O'Brien is upset about.  

She says, she's upset the town code enforcer, came into their yard, without permission.

"They can't just appear and come. You can't see any of this from the road," describes O'Brien. "We live here because we like the privacy.

She believes that its one step too far. 

Now, she's taking actions to learn her rights.

"I know for a warrant-less search, there has to be probably cause," she explains. 

ABC57 News did a little digging and found a statement in the ordinances, that say code enforcers need to identify themselves and get permission.  

If they are denied entry by the homeowners, the ordinance states, they can apply for a search warrant. 

According to O'Brien, neither happened. 

"[I feel] intruded upon," she says. "An invasion of privacy."

ABC57 News called the Osceola Town Hall and was told, they were too busy to talk.

When asked if the property ordinances could be shown or explain, ABC57 News was told they would have to check with their lawyer.

The contact information for the lawyer was not provided. 

But it appears O'Brien is not alone.

On Facebook, there has been an outcry of support, and recollections of share experiences.

O'Brien, and others, are planning to attend Monday's town hall meeting, to address what has been going on.

"Because this could happen to anybody," she says simply. 

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