A retired couple in San Francisco, Susan and Joe Meyers, were recently threatened with a fine by the city after they built a free library and bench for their neighbors. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, the city issued a letter to the couple demanding that they remove the “unpermitted encroachments” from the public right of way.
The couple explained that their only option was to apply for a $1,402 “Minor Sidewalk Encroachment Permit” within 30 days to protect the library and bench they had built. This incident has sparked controversy as the city faces an ongoing crisis with homeless tents, drug addicts, and illegal vendors occupying the streets.
For more than a decade, Susan Meyers’ front sidewalk proved a cheerful hub— until someone called 311 to complain about her little library. Now, Meyers has two choices: remove the bench and the library or pay $1,402 for a “minor encroachment permit.”https://t.co/DXiIiaqT46
— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) March 12, 2023
“Many of this city’s streets are clogged with homeless tents, drug addicts and illegal vendors. City inspectors recently went after a Little Free Library,” wrote Wall Street Journal reporter Jim Carlton in a summary of the incident. The Meyers’ library and bench project, which was built with the intention of helping their neighbors, has now become a subject of bureaucratic red tape and controversy in San Francisco.