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If I May Speak Freely
by Cliff Duncan

The old saying, “There are no stupid questions” is simply not true.

Recently a client in Florida sent an e-mail to his realtor with numerous questions about a property on which they had made an offer. The questions are real. The answers are what the realtor would like to have replied barring any concerns regarding career aspirations.

1. Who owns the water rights? Riparian, surface water and  underground water?

Since there is no lake, river, ocean, sea, etc. adjoining the property or owned by any neighborhood association, to which  you won’t belong anyway, perhaps the following will clarify riparian issues. 

Ultimately God owns water. However in the absence of divine intervention, the intergalactic agreement regarding riparian rights per the Romulan and Vulcan Treaty  supercedes any and all claims to any and all earthly liquids made by the Riparians.

However, the property owner does retain sole rights to all water on the surface of the property in the event of a flood.  Likewise, septic, sewer and any other underground water is solely yours to do with as you please.

2.  Are there any water usage restrictions?

In Florida, a popular guideline that has withheld judicial scrutiny, is “use it or lose it”.

3.  Who owns the mineral rights?

With the exception of plutonium, said property owner has rights to all minerals. And before you ask, yes, vitamins are yours as well. However, a balanced diet should contain all you need.

4.  Can we put up a fence? What type of fencing? Field,  chain link, wood, vinyl. Any other restrictions on fencing?

Yes, and any material is allowed, mostly. However, rolled razor wire is discouraged,  and along the same lines moats occupied by indigenous deterrents such as crocodiles, alligators and/or boas, pythons, sharks, etc. are strictly regulated.

5. “Building on” restrictions by any governing entity?

Tasteful is the guideline here. An addition that looked remarkably like a 40 foot tall barber pole was recently ruled as lacking good taste.

Restrictions also include neon signs on residential property advertising “free beer”, “for a good time call“, etc. Signs in pink or teal will have automatic fines assessed.

6. Restrictions on above ground pools?

Pools on stilts are considered “above ground” and have proven to be hazardous.  Strict building codes apply.  It’s just easier to locate the pool “on” the ground.

7.What setbacks are there (for fences, trees, structures, etc.)? How do “setbacks” work? Are there different setbacks for different things?

Setbacks have recently come into common use when full and half backs suffer injuries. Fences, trees, etc. have been proven hazardous particularly beyond the 40 yard line and on quarterback sneak configurations.  And no, there are no distinctions regarding setbacks, since the NFL tries to maintain political correctness regarding race and religion.

8.  Name and address of local lab you trust for water testing.

Just about any lab is equipped to determine the “wetness quotient” for your water.  Hard water should be brought to the assayer’s office to determine purity.

9.  Names and or phone/web address for essential services  you trust.

Let’s me just make this simple and say that my brother in law Vinnie has interests in just about any company you’ll need.  He’s expecting your call. Vinnie doesn’t take rejection well.