It wasn't long after Gary Isett parked a Kip's Big Boy statue on his front lawn at the corner of Abrams and Trammel that people started taking notice. First, passersby, then the Lakewood Advocate, then the Morning News. D's Tim Rogers reminisced about that time in high school he took part in a Big Boy heist.
But this is Dallas, where something so awesome as a cartoonish, 7-foot-tall, hamburger-wielding lawn ornament, which Isett displayed rather prominently, couldn't possibly be left unregulated. And so it wasn't really a surprise when the Advocate reported this morning that code enforcement had visited Isett and told him the front-lawn statue was a no-no.
"The city was just like, it's a nuisance, people are slowing down, taking pictures," he told the magazine. "And they were -- I had like 400 people stop and take pictures. I can see what they meant: It was an eye-stopper."
Isett wasn't so chatty when we called this morning to ask after the statue, which the Advocate says has been moved to his backyard. Matter of fact, he was pissed. When we mentioned the Advocate's article on the visit from code enforcement, he demanded we take our article down immediately. "I didn't authorize that," he snapped.
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When we explained that the Observer and the Advocate are two different publications and we had not yet written anything, he said he had a phone call to make and hung up in a huff.
It made us wonder, as much as we loved the image of City Manager Mary Suhm and Kip's Big Boy duking it out in the boxing ring, whether Isett hadn't just decided to move it because of all the traffic and used the city as a scapegoat. But no. Code Compliance director Jimmy Martin got back with us a few minutes ago and said the officers had indeed paid Isett a visit.
"Basically, the violation was [the statue] was not within the setback rules," he said. It also violated visibility rules that govern what can be placed on corner lots. "The owner of the property is moving it back so it won't be a visibility obstruction."
We're still not sure why our call made Isett so angry. Maybe he's afraid his backyard will be overrun by rabid Big Boy fans. Maybe the code enforcers suggested his beloved statue might wind up swimming with the fishes if he squealed. A true mystery.