Homeowner says VW Beetle in tree is art; Clearfield officials demand its removal

CLEARFIELD — Some people prefer the road less traveled, and Janis Zettel has certainly taken a few detours with her yard.

“There’s my mosaic graveyard of things I make,” Zettel said, pointing to a collection of old plates off to the side of her front deck. “I made a lot of these plates and hung them up and I got a lot of compliments on them, but I got tired of them.”

Zettel’s latest “centerpiece” for her lawn art, though, has become the talk of the neighborhood and beyond. Currently resting high above the ground in a tree in Zettel’s front yard is “Lucy,” an old Volkswagen Beetle recently repainted to look more like a ladybug.

The vehicle, which was a birthday gift from Zettel’s son, had simply been sitting unused on the property in recent years.

“We just kind of came up with the idea of putting it in the tree,” Zettel said.

It took a forklift to do it.

“We love it, grandkids love it,” she said.

However, how long the car remains in the tree remains somewhat uncertain after Zettel recently received a notice from the Clearfield Police Department’s code enforcement arm. Zettel said she was instructed to remove the “nuisance vehicle” from the tree or else she could be charged with a class B misdemeanor.

“It’s a 14-day notice of ordinance violation, but when (the officer) gave it to me, she told me I only had seven days,” Zettel said.

Zettel said a neighbor had apparently complained.

The citation noted that it was unclear if the car was stable in the tree, or what other potential safety issues existed. But Zettel maintains the car is safe where it is.

“It’s not a vehicle anymore. There’s no engine, there’s nothing in it,” she said.

Assistant Clearfield Police Chief Kelly Bennett said Tuesday the department is willing to work with the family on a timeline, but it does want the family to remove the car from the tree per the code violation.

On Wednesday, Zettel posted on her Facebook page that she attended the Tuesday City Council meeting where a resident gave the council a definition of a vehicle and said because Zettel’s car didn’t have propulsion, it’s not a vehicle. The City Council will hold a meeting to discuss the code, according to Zettel.

“So we don’t need to take it down yet! We have a short reprieve,” she wrote.

Zettel created an online petition. As of Wednesday morning, the petition had more than 800 signatures.

“We’re just a little different and most people know it, love it and enjoy it,” she said.

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Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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