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Does a 25-foot-tall, 122-foot-long dinosaur need a permit to avoid extinction?
by Palindrome at 11:10 pm EDT, Jul 11, 2010

That's the unlikely dilemma posed by "Vermontasaurus," a whimsical sculpture thrown together with scrap wood by a Vermont man. Boland, 61, is a former teacher, hot-air balloon designer and pilot who runs the Post Mills Airport, a 52-acre airfield. Last month, he decided to turn a pile of broken wooden planks and other detritus on the edge of his property into something more. Using a dinosaur model as his inspiration, he put out a call for volunteer helpers and went to work. He cut a huge pine tree into four pieces and, using a back hoe, planted them as the bases of the four feet. Then, over nine days and using dozens of volunteers, the ersatz sculpture began taking shape. A splintered two-by-four here, the rotted belly of a guitar there, half a ladder from a child's bunk bed here, Boland and his volunteers worked under basic ground rules: No saws, no rulers and no materials other than what was in the scrap pile. Also, anything nailed into place couldn't be removed. And nothing was to be level or plumb.

Government officials are not amused. The Town of Thetford told Boland his sculpture was really a structure — akin to a shed or a gazebo — and that he needed a $272 permit for it. The state Division of Fire Safety, meanwhile, told Boland that if he couldn't get a structural engineer to attest to the sculpture's safety, he could not allow people to congregate underneath it. The Vermont Natural Resources Board weighed in with a notice of alleged violation that said the wooden dinosaur was a substantial change to an existing development and may therefore need another permit, at a minimum of $150, under an ultra-restrictive state land-use law called Act 250.

Sounds like a case of stick-in-the-mud-atitis :P

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