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Posted on Oct 29, 2015

Code Corner a reason to ‘geek out’ for this writer

By Jill FitzSimmons

Someone used the term “geek out” with me the other day.
As in, when something seemingly nerdy and mundane to the rest of the general population gets you all fired up.
You geek out.
I have a friend who geeks out every time terms like compost, sustainability and farm-to-table come up in a conversation. You’d think that wouldn’t happen often, but you’d be surprised.
For my teenage son, it’s fantasy football. I keep warning him he’ll never find a girlfriend if he can’t find something to talk about other than football injuries, PPR leagues (whatever those are) and waiver wires.
My point is that there’s a little geek in all of us.
For me, stories that involve a good manufacturing line make me geek out. I could even say property taxes, city budgets and crop tours make me geek out.
I’m adding municipal codes to that list of things that make me as excited as a wookie at Comic-Con. I ask you, who could NOT be interested in the Quincy Municipal Code?
That’s why I’m particularly excited that the City of Quincy has decided to bring back its regular feature Code Corner. Code Corner, which the city has published before in the Quincy Valley Post-Register, will run twice a month, rotating between the planning and police departments.
The featured piece is a way to educate the public about those rules and regulations we must all live by in Quincy. An informed public, by the city’s theory, makes for a happy city.
While I agree with the city, Code Corner is also just a chance for me to go through the city code.
Did you know that new fence you’re building can be only 48 inches tall in the front yard but a whopping 6 feet tall in the back yard?
Or that the junker you have parked on the city street must be moved at least 500 feet every 48 hours? (Technically, there’s another city ordinance that says no junk vehicles parked in the city limits. So, owners of junkers, don’t say I didn’t warn you.)
We all know, or should know, that you can’t dump, throw or leave any “filth” or “rubbish” on any city street, alley, sidewalk, ditch or private property. Sounds simple.
But did you know that includes your blown-up fireworks? If you’re lighting off fireworks on a city street, it’s your responsibility to pick it up, not city crews.
City code also does not look kindly on my favorite lawbreakers in town. The feathered crew that pops up routinely downtown, making its rounds around the block and through the parking lot across from the newspaper, are outlawed in Quincy.
Municipal code says chickens, or any other farm animal, cannot call the city limits home. (The only farm animals allowed in the city limits are those for educational purposes at the Quincy schools, and only during the school year.)
In addition, city code also forbids the killing or slaughtering of any animal or fowl in the city limits, unless it’s for religious reasons. It appears my chicken friends at least won’t be anyone’s dinner any time soon.
But the Code Corner isn’t for geeks like me. It’s for you, the regular folks.
The city wants to create an awareness of its regulations, regulations that are meant to create a harmonious living environment for all of us.
If you want a little light reading, you can find the full municipal code on the city’s website (look for the book icon) or go to
And if you happen to see one you don’t like, it might be an opportunity for some civic engagement to get the code changed or eliminated. Maybe like making an exception for my favorite chickens?