Regarding the Bellingham warehouse below, my then business partner owned it about 15 years ago, when it was first built, so I remember the details well. I had not thought about it in a long time, but drove by the other day and decided it would be good blog fodder. This was a good-sized furniture warehouse. It is in a neighborhood that is largely retail, with a few, mainly non-owner occupied, residences mixed in. The city decided it was fine to build the warehouse at the site, but the side that faced two rentals or apartments, had to be camouflaged to "protect" the neighborhood.
Well, if you are outside at night wearing sunglasses, and standing on your head, this facade might fool you. Probably it will not however, unless you think the residents all died because there are never any lights on. It is black 24/7. Everything you see is a grand illusion -- stuff stuck on the building. The doors go nowhere, they do not even open, the windows look into the black. There are three fantasy residences here; I have taken photos of the two end units. You can see parts of the center unit hiding behind the trees in the other two photos.
The photo below is the "working" side of the same warehouse. Had the city simply demanded that the backside have no entry or exit, as is the case now anyway, it would have probably looked just as good. People who see the "residential" side of the building think it is amusing. They shake their heads and usually say "what a joke."
This true story also reminds me of the time, back when I had a radio station, that we put a 10' satellite dish on the roof. To get a permit to do so, we had to plant 12 poplars at the other end of the lot, about an acre away. While these trees were put in as was promised, the nursery did a lousy job and they all died within a year and then had to be removed. The county had no requirements whatsoever that the trees had to be maintained or replaced -- just that they had to be put in one time. A few years later, Western Washington University bought the site leveled everything and turned it into a parking lot. I do not oppose government regulations, they are necessary, but sometimes the rules they come up with are so vacuous and poorly conceived that they result in many of us running in circles trying to catch our own tails.
Steven L. Smith
Bellingham WA Home Inspections