When is it enough?
Posted: 18 December 2012 07:06 PM   [ Ignore ]
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A bit of a story somewhat long and drawn out yet this is my short version with cleaner language. Maybe Wynn Buttler you can give me your commish wisdom. Or this may fit in with your curb issue some as well Hadley. So get your coffee and pull up a chair. . .

When is enough, enough?
Tonight as I drove home, a little later than normal taking the normal route I noticed it was a tad bit dark around a corner and was thinking “Why didn’t they put a street light there”? As I finished the curve there t was fresh tire tracks in my yard. Again we just jump up the curb on the street and drive around the power pole to access another utility pole. Too lazy to use a ladder I would suppose. Lets back this story up a few years before we get this story too far along.
In 76 my wife and I moved into this house, nice new corner lot not a lot of traffic. Asphalt road on the west concrete and curb to the north. No sidewalks, no curb and gutter drainage on Casement. Time passes and I plant trees on our utility easement casement side starting to attempt to have somewhat of a yard to enjoy. The tree is about two years old and a car runs off the road and good bye tree. Through the night no doubt the person as under some sort of influence. Oh that was fun, so much fun it happened again the next year after replacing the tree. This time I went and got railroad ties placing them back in the grass leaving room for cars to pull over if there was need. Yet keeping them on their side so to speak, worked great for a while. Then here come a proposal to curb and gutter Casement, great higher taxes. Adding insult to injury I got to pay for the sidewalk besides my part of the street. The intersections were handled different. Anyway that did not bother me too much until the crews came through putting new water and sewers in. I came home one night to find an 8’ railroad tie gone. After looking all over I found it supporting the bucket of a track machine that had broken down and they needed something to hold it up while they made repairs. Needless to say I was real pleased. Once that was resolved the street went in and here come the side walk. Trees, what trees? I didn’t see any trees there as they cut them down with the skid loader. They were walnut trees my Dad had planted for me now gone cut off and once again I am out of any shade for the future on the west side of our house. The city came by during some “National Tree Day” plant you a tree! Great I thought until two years later, along came a drunk and took it out, AGAIN. So in a feeble attempt we planted another in its place. Finally a tree getting large enough to. . . to , to have an electrical “upgrade” come along and move the location from where it was to, you Guessed it straight above the tree. So here we go I know that in a short time the “Tree Hogs” will be by to disfigure my tree. Low and behold when they moved the power lines to the new poles the cable company was moving with them. Well until they cam to our property they opted to leave their line where it was. I guess that way they could ensure there was no place at all to grow any shade on the west side of our house. Meanwhile I have planted some Poplars that are getting up there to assist in some sort of protection from the summer sun. As time passes I am cutting and pruning and will at some point in time take them out. After all they are only 25 year trees anyway. So here I set some almost 40 years later and still no nice shade tree on the west. And my yard being torn up because some cable company did not move their cable to the new poles located by the street where their people could access them with out driving THROUH MY YARD, OVER MY SIDE WALK, OVER MY SPRINKLER HEADS. When is enough, enough? Why in the world do I need to repair sunken sidewalks from utility companies boring under them and then years later the darned things settle in or they drive up over the curb and just drive where ever they want. OH NO look out, here comes the cities “paint company” (CODE OFFICE) marking uneven sidewalks.
I understand a utility easement but if you have to access that utility every week then either move it or find another way to do your repairs. I did not move here years ago just to repair and maintain what you tear up. I just absolutely hate tracks in my yard and this process that has taken almost 40 years has got to stop. So you tell me who pays for this over and over and over? I am tired of fixing what was and is being torn up by this and other utility companies? I don’t want to hear some song about “it’s a utility easement gee what’d you think was going to happen”? either. How about a moron could look and see the yard is maintained so they would not drive on it unless absolutely no other recourse. How about you come fix my sprinklers, sidewalk and repair the grass when spring comes. Then stay the hell-o out the yard I maintain? How about moving that box you keep getting into out to the other pole. Hell even your guys accessing would rather have it out at the other pole. I know I have talked to them, so move it already and move your line out like you should have. Thank you very much! for driving not just through my yard but through it over and over and over.

Geezzz

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Posted: 19 December 2012 09:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Dave,
That is a horror story.  It sounds like you might be the victim of expansion.  When you moved to that location I suspect it was sparsely populated…almost out in the country.  I had a similar thing happen to me when I lived in Oklahoma.  I had two wooded acres where I built a new house in the center.  The road that went into the forest turned into my driveway.  The rest of the eighty or so acres was dense forest until a developer saw the potential for a fancy housing district and made the owner an offer she couldn’t refuse.  The city gave the developer and the utilities an easement across my property…sound familiar to another city we know?  They proceeded to destroy the forest.  The only good that came out of it was that I was able to sell my house for double what I paid for it.  But I will always miss the six wonderful years I spent being the only resident of that forest.

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Posted: 19 December 2012 11:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Yeap Mike, expansion is one thing and the lack of 6-p’s is a totally different thing. (Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance) The lack of the development partners planning is what causes dumb stuff like this. Today’s “green” and “LEEDS” technology goes by the wayside. Yet it just amazes me that something so simple as attempting to allow trees on the south or west side of a structure to hopefully save some energy. . .  well I guess that does not pertain to this city. As long as you are willing to maintain the sidewalks and keep grass, no weeds cut below 12” who cares. Besides it’s the east side of town. Just drive all over it and dismantle anyway you see fit.

Why isn’t the company doing the damage responsible for what they tear up? Even in normal maintenance situations.

Why does the property owner have to subsidize their lack of protecting the properties for their monetary gain?

Why isn’t the city monitoring this type of activity? They are quick to paint the sidewalks why not do just a little research to see why all of a sudden it needs repairs?

I can see older areas having some issues at times yet I do not view this as an older area such as Moro, Vattier or Laramie.
Needless to say I am a little perturbed and tired of this. Some of what I touched on in my original post was the lack of lighting as you come around the corner. Which is a total separate issue, yet a light on the pole that got hit right after it was installed may have been somewhat of a plan. From Harvey on the east-south of Casement heading South West around to the Lineal Trail has nothing. Enough bitching, the world ends Friday anyway so no one will ever know there was a problem/issue or care. Oh wait they don’t care now!

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Posted: 19 December 2012 12:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Dave,
Back in the early eighties, I lived with a girl who lived at ...I think…105 Harvey…It was a pleasant neighborhood and we would walk the dog down to the red and white roundabout…The very first in the city, as far as I know.  It was quiet there and I enjoyed the neighborhood.  We got married and moved to Missouri, but I always remember that nice little neighborhood where you could walk your dog down the middle of the street in the evening without fear.  It wasn’t the most expensive part of town, but it was clean and nice….and quiet.

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Posted: 19 December 2012 12:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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The Harvey squared roundabout with the large power pole in it is still there last time I went down that way. 105 Harvey the house on the corner I would guess you must have been at my back door. Back then I was the long haired guy, up until 94 anyway. Small world in some ways.

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Posted: 19 December 2012 12:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Dave, you bring up a good point on the utility companies destroying sidewalks.  I do not think the city has any system to monitor damage that might be caused by crews doing work in easements.  I agree that if we could capture data or an actual event where the utility company destroyed infrastructure like the side walk, then they should repair, not the property owner.  The tree pruning folks for the electric company gave the commission a briefing on how customer friendly they were in pruning trees around utilities to prevent outages.

The electric lines are underground in my area, but I had a utility truck drive down one side of my lot to get to a box last year.  They left two giant ruts in the yard, smashed a couple of sprinkler heads and actually broke a pipe on the system.  They dug a pit to fix the line.  At least they planted grass when they filled in the hole.  But they did nothing about the ruts, and did not have a clue that they had trashed the irrigation system.  I guess the easements allow them do as the please, either customer friendly or not. 

I planted a row of trees along the sidewalk(between the sidewalk and the curb).  I maintain the trees and cut the grass.  I planted pear, apple and cherry trees along that section, six trees.  Last year a guy pulled up and proceeded to harvest all of the pears off the pear tree.  My neighbor asks him what he was doing - he said he was taking the pears as they were on public property.  My neighbor called the code office to check – and was told yes, any fruit trees planted between the sidewalk and the curb are on public property, so anybody can take the proceeds.  By the way one tree has been replaced as somebody slide off the road two years ago and knocked one of the trees down.  Tire marks present, no curb damage, must have been a motorist and not a utility company. 

I have to pay taxes on the sidewalk, shovel the snow, have to mow the grass between the walk and the curb, but in reality have no property rights to that area.  Apparently I cannot even claim the fruit on the trees I planted.  To make it worse the part that is an easement can be damaged by the utility companies and then has to be repaired at my expense.  Solutions?

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Posted: 19 December 2012 12:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Wynn,
In the olden days, a shotgun would have been a good solution to intruders and thieves and vandals.  Probably out of vogue now.

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Posted: 19 December 2012 04:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Solutions?
Start by addressing the issues with city staff. Asking for input and back up information then pass an ordinance that will not be enforced. Start with the ordinance that forces utility providers to take better care of the easements and repair what they damage without the owners needing to take them to all sorts of hoops. Then pass another that allows the owner to have personal fruit trees without them belonging to the public. That you described is just wrong. The fruit thief knows it too. Sad part is that was no doubt a local neighbor just like the ones that drive through my yard and bring the dogs by to leave their droppings. Not all neighbors are like that though. Yet the few that are need to have some pressure put on them.

Ordinances, what good are they really? The city has some in place addressing certain dogs requiring leases and muzzles. You can watch them pass my house, sometimes two with one person being pulled along, both without muzzles. You can watch them being walked around the city park also. Like I said sometime back the ordinances not being enforced need to be done away with.
With all this a couple things I will point out, I do understand why trees are trimmed back and agree it needs done. I do not understand why policy is such that property owners are burdened with the headache of something that is used by all, sidewalks for instance. I really do not agree that someone walking down the street thinks they can take what you work to maintain and grow. That needs changed, I guess really because you do not have no trespassing signs up I can walk into your yard and take what is not locked down anyway regardless if it’s in your back front or side yard leaning against your house.

How about I just take my sidewalk out there would be little difference other than I would not need to scoop the snow or trim around it in the summer. Besides, people run through the yard jogging, riding bicycles and dragging dogs to drop a load so my mower can run through it anyway. Not all of the neighbors do that though, only the wonderful few. Providing we make it past 12-21-2012 everything will remain the same in Manhappiness, so I guess.

And no Mike your method would not work well.

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Posted: 19 December 2012 08:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Mr. Butler, did you get a permit to plant the trees in the right-of-way?

Mr. Braddock, even though Manhattan is supposed to be a tree city, it doesn’t seem like there is much interest in trying to work around and preserve mature trees.  How many times were the trees replaced along Anderson by the Alumni Center?  How many trees were removed to do the drainage project along Quivera?  A tree is just a temporary obstacle that can be quickly and easily removed but can’t be quickly and easily replaced.

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Posted: 19 December 2012 08:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Dave- as one of your neighbors, I have always admired the time and effort you put into your yard. It’s a lot of work, and it shows! I go by in the car and run by with my dog (on a leash and on the sidewalk and never leaving anything behind). I would hope that the City could find ways to hold contractors accountable for their work and to encourage property owners to invest in the care of their homes and property. At some point, a less dedicated person would give up and let the yard go to waste.

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Posted: 19 December 2012 08:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Kathy,
I can assure you people that know me would tell you I am no tree hugger. Yet there are places for them in our lives and there as you say is no real interest around this town any longer to work around them. That’s the way of the world and one day mankind will look back and wonder why we were so stupid. It’s too bad that today’s people have no more respect for anything beyond the end of their nose. The world is all about “What’s in it for me”. For me, I am only attempting to have my surroundings look presentable and clean. Then when others start tearing it up or dumping trash on it I am not pleased. Again, the way of the world and even that does not make it right.

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Posted: 19 December 2012 08:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Karla, Thanks and as I stated before NOT everyone going by leaves a mess. I even enjoy giving some of the pets a drink as they pass by. I will comment on a young couple that left something in the yard one time while I was out front. I shook my head and about 3 minutes later here they came back without the dog mind you, just to clean up after it. Needless to say I was surprised, pleased and I told them both thanks. Come to find out after talking to them briefly, they had ran out of bags. Even so I thought it was great that they came back unlike some. The responsible ones are fun to watch go by and enjoy being out with their families, even the hairy ones. (ha ha)

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Posted: 19 December 2012 09:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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We have enjoyed being part of this neighborhood. We’ll be leaving this neighborhood before long, but there a people here that I will miss seeing. People I have never said two words to, but always have a wave or a smile. I’ll have to drive through on occasion and check out your yard, wave to the guy who sits and reads outside on the next block and see the garden grow on the next! Or maybe park at Linear on Hayes Drive and take the pup for a run- we both could probably run it blindfolded, we have done it so many times!

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