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Solution to Drainage Lawsuit about to be Filed

Original post made by Candle Lighter, Atherton: West Atherton, on Nov 1, 2009

Apparently, the Town of Atherton has a relatively new drainage policy that I just learned about in the context of a courageous resident challenging it.

Anyone remodeling their home must install an approximately $100K drainage system, indemnify Atherton for any lawsuits, allow Atherton employees to enter their home at any time to inspect, and agree to modify the system (at the homeowner's expense) any time Atherton decides the specifications should change.

I understand this issue is probably heading toward litigation very soon. Now that the parcel tax election is on Tuesday, Atherton should show a different attitude in dealing with residents' problems.

Judge Peter Stone used to be the chief judge of the Santa Clara courthouse in San Jose. He is now a mediator and arbitrator for the AAA (American Arbitration Association). He helped me settle several disputes in my business that avoided litigation. There are others, of course.

My suggestion: the Town of Atherton should invite this resident to attend a day-long mediation with someone like Judge Peter Stone, and pay for it. They should send a council member with full authority to rewrite the policy on the spot.

Let's avoid a lawsuit this time. I agree, attorney's won't make much money on this one, but it's the right thing to do.

Comments (5)

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Posted by Ed
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 1, 2009 at 2:10 pm

but I don't want to pay taxes for infastructure that benefits resident developers to spec homes in Atherton--we are already built out enough to be effecting Redwood city with our downhill run off--I believe it is fair for the town to thow the costs of doing business back onto the people making money off of creating the problem--I agree that this is a tuff problem for resident home owners looking to remodel but the capacity has been used up by development. We need to fit within our space by being creative and within our budget by facing reality. Not keep suing the town every time we want something for ouselves.

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Posted by Candle Lighter
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 1, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Ed, I hear you, and I agree that none of us should have to pay for the excesses or expenses of others, especially the developers who basically run this town (along with the attorneys).

Our country was founded on several basic principles: interfere as little as possible in the lives of citizens, respect property rights, and tax only for the common good (not wealth redistribution). The parts referring to lawsuit indemnification and the right to enter the premises at any time, for any reason, are absolutely unacceptable.

As for the costs, let's focus on who built the properties that have caused drainage issues. West of Alameda comes to mind. Someone who wishes to do basic improvements to their property that don't involve changing gradations, etc., should not have to pay for drainage systems.

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Posted by Solution
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 1, 2009 at 11:14 pm

The new drainage rule wouldn't work for lots under 1/5 ac., and doesn't solve a life long problem in Atherton. Isn't this new rule like bringing a wash cloth to a title wave.

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Posted by Real Estate
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 1, 2009 at 11:33 pm

Please keep in mind when you go to sell your home the new buyer is going to factor in; that if they want to do certain improvements it may cost them 100,000 or more. They may think about that when making you the offer. They may also find a home they like in Woodside just as much, and because of this issue they offer on the Woodside home instead. A home just sold in West Atherton on a 1 plus acre lot for 2,250,000. Prices are dropping like a rock. Is this Atherton drainage thing worth what it may due to prices in town. The town may want to look at it as a city wide problem and fix it once and for all.

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Posted by maybe so but
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 3, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Are you saying that new homes and re-models aren't paying their share? how about you compare your property tax bill to the guy taht just moved into the new home next door. or how about you factor in all the impact fees that were paid either to the city, the county, the sanitary district or the school districts. or how about all the jobs that were created in the local economy during construction or the furnishings that went into the house. I'm a newish citizen around here and I know I've paid a pretty penny to live here, maybe way more than the costs I've imposed.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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