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Carmel’s Codes Make T-Rex Extinct

Monday, September 30, 2013

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Forget garden gnomes. One California homeowner went prehistoric with his front lawn, erecting a monstrous Tyrannosaurus rex made of steel.

But the 12-foot-tall terror with eight-inch fangs was not allowed to stand guard for long.

'Twas building codes that killed the beast.

Its extinction lay in the hands of Carmel’s city government, according to reports.

Kevin Kramer’s unusual (yet apparently accurate) sculpture caused a community uproar when it first appeared on the block at the beginning of September, reports said.

Images of the T-Rex are posted here.

Code v. Beast

After complaints from neighbors, city officials ordered Kramer to submit a design review permit application for the installation, noting that the structure ran afoul of front yard set-back rules, reports said.

KSBW / YouTube

Carmel, CA, city officials said the steel sculpture violated zoning regulations. The dinosaur was removed from the property after standing guard for less than a month.

The city has strict design review and architectural restrictions, Rob Mullane, the community planning and building director, told the Monterey Herald. Mullane said the structure needed permits.

A review and hearing in October were expected to seal the fate of the toothy dinosaur. However, reports say Kramer returned the beast whence he came the week of Sept. 16.

A YouTube video posted Sept. 20 by a local television station shows footage of the beast being hauled off the property in a flatbed truck.

Mullane did not immediately respond to a request for more information or documents Friday (Sept. 27).

Dinosaur Neighborhood Watch

Neighbors along the once-quiet street had given the T-Rex mixed reviews, according to local news outlets.

Some took issue with the onslaught of traffic that the beast’s towering presence attracted, reports said.

Robert Slaughter, a longtime resident, who had views of the dinosaur from his living room, said he had been startled by the size of the structure at first, but had grown fond of it, according to KSBW, a local NBC affiliate.

He also noted that the reproduction appeared “quite accurate.”

Another neighbor, Sarah Hammett, found it ironic that the town, reportedly founded as an “iconoclastic art colony,” took issue with the piece.

“That’s what I love about Carmel; it’s so whimsical,” she told the Monterey Herald. “People are doing fun things with their homes, and it used to be an artists’ community, and it seems it should be anything goes here.”

“People who founded this community would roll over in their graves,” she told the news bureau.

‘Vermontasaurus’ Story

Carmel's dinosaur is not the only one whose presence has stirred up headlines and gnawed on city officials.

Stephen Flanders / Wikimedia Commons

Constructed of scrap lumber, the “Vermontasaurus” bedeviled Thetford, VT, city officials in 2010.  

In 2010, a Thetford, VT, property owner constructed a 25-foot-tall, 122-foot-long dinosaur on his land. Hundreds of volunteers helped Brian Boland use old scrap lumber from the edge of his property to create the beast, reports said.

Apparently, as in Carmel, local authorities were not impressed, telling Boland that he needed additional permits for the structure.

But Boland and members of the community fought for the “Vermontasaurus," and the wooden structure was eventually deemed a work of art with permit requirements waived, reports said.

Alas, after a collapse of its midsection in the fall of 2011, the once-grand Vermontasaurus looked more like a “komodo dragon,” Boland wrote in a Thetford Town Newsletter published in April 2012.

So, in June 2012, Boland organized volunteers to reconstruct the dinosaur, along with a baby companion piece, according to reports.

A report on from earlier this year confirms sightings of the Vermontasaurus and its baby.


Tagged categories: Building codes; Color + Design; Design; Government

Comment from Sarah Marble, (9/30/2013, 8:23 AM)

I guess I never realized how petty people had become that they worry about their neighbor's reflections on them. What if it were a treehouse? Would you be up in arms about your neighbor having a 10 foot tall treehouse for his/her/their children? Wouldn't you rather have people express themselves through art instead of violence? When did Americans become so intolerant of other Americans and their creativity? That is what created this country. It's a statue. We have plenty of them in Chicago! Don't look at it if you don't like it.

Comment from M. Halliwell, (9/30/2013, 11:02 AM)

Don't worry, Sarah, it's just the ongoing process of political-correctness and "vanilla-ization" of the US. I'm somewhat surprised that the article didn't have any references to neighbours decrying the hit their property values would take if the dino remained...especially given that I recall a similar bruhaha over a pretty ingenious treehouse in someone's backyard recently. D+D and PaintSquare note many of the interesting home or commercial paint jobs that make the news...and the subsequent uproar from the surrounding community. In this day and age, it seems that if you dare to be different someone will want to push you back into their version of normalcy.

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