Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Retaining Walls

"There was a hearing today before the full Code Board concerning an ‘illegal retaining wall’. The Code Board found the resident guilty and gave her (the neighborhood associations really) until mid-November to ‘resolve’ the issue. Present at this hearing was Southeast Seminoles for another issue. Sherry indicated that they would want to have something in place to cover their retaining walls as well.

I went directly over to Zoning and spoke with Catherine Coyle about this. She is very willing to do whatever she can to protect the ‘retaining walls’, that are protecting trees, homes, yards, water pipes, etc from being exposed or undermined in those areas where the streets are below the level of the adjacent property. To that end, she ask me to bring this issue up at the next City Council meeting to make them aware of the problem and possibility provide her with some direction. I will try to make the meeting tomorrow morning.

If anyone else gets a violation from code for their retaining wall, please tell them not to remove it at this time. If the property owner appearing today does so, the grand oak that the retaining wall is protecting will fall into the street within approx 6 months and she would then probability be hit with a grand tree violation.

More to come…"

Christie Hess

33 comments:

Stacey McColley said...

What makes a retaining wall illegal?

Anonymous said...

Anything constructed on the right of way without a variance is illegal. You can have retaining walls (on your property) with approved permit.

Anonymous said...

The neighbor told our family the retaining wall was put up to annoy them.
Not to protect the tree.
Everyone knows you can't put anything on the right of way.

Anonymous said...

Just saw Seminole Heights on the news...You go!!!

Anonymous said...

They are fighters aren't they...Shut that fu@king place down.
Go away.

Anonymous said...

actually a lot of people assume that the city right of way starts at the edge of the street which is not correct - it is actually several feet back into the yard that you have to maintain even though it is city right of way.

Anonymous said...

anon 10:51, perhaps if you knew more than what your meighbor said you would realize this is one of many retaining walls and is vital to the trees on that property. The walls on this street have been up anywhere from a short time to over thirty years. Wonder if it will annoy your neighbor when the tree falls in the street and he/she can't get to work?

Anonymous said...

There are 5 houses in a row on E. Chelsea with a retaining wall. I just thought that it was like an extra-high curb. Without it, all of our yards would erode very quickly into the street. Our properties sit much higher above the street than the others. I dare someone to give me a citation about it.

IFly said...

I have a question maybe someone here could answer. Someone buried our granite curb some years ago. It's under about 3 inches of soil. As near as I can tell it's still totally intact. Any code against digging it out?

Anonymous said...

Now why would you think that there would be a code issue with digging out your curbing?????

IFly said...

It's altering the "right-of-way" so it's reasonable to wonder if there's an issue. If I didn't have a curb, I couldnt install one.

Anonymous said...

The retaining wall in question is so much higher than other retaining walls.
It looks like a moat around a castle.
I think a smaller retaining wall could do.

Anonymous said...

Where is the retaining wall in question?

Anonymous said...

IFly,

I don't think it was a case of someone burying your granite curb - it is probably that your lot sat higher than the curb and over the years the rain washed the dirt into the street and over the curbing. Much the reason those houses on Powhatan have retaining walls that code is in such a wad about.

Anonymous said...

I complained about some of them mainly because I had to remove mine so theirs need to be built legally too.
One specifically is well over 4 foot high.
Others are disgusting looking.
I appreciate what code did so go screw yourself.
You got your pants in a wad about that granite drive and I thought that was BS.
Didn't Bungalowlady call those in to the city?

Anonymous said...

What a crybaby!

Why did you not talk to the owners of the retaining walls that you considerd disgusting? Was yours? I'm not aware of any of them looking nice but there were there for a reason.

Did you go to the association to ask them to work with you on a variance for the situation or just take the little brat approach??? By your post it sounds like the crybaby approach works for you.

Anonymous said...

Zoning told me you can't get a variance.
I can't stand the association.
They start all of this crap in OSH.

ranbar said...

Anonymous 9:51: After telling you that you can't get a variance, zoning then would have told you that the proper procedure is to get an encroachment permit. For an existing encroachment the fee is $400 and you need a survey, but the association that you so despise is negotiating to get the city to either waive the fee or charge a minimal amount ($25) and have the homeowner submit a digital photo instead of providing a survey. This would not just be for association members, but for all residents of Seminole Heights. Moreover, the association appeared before City Council today to advise them of the situation and Council instructed Code Enforcement to stop issuing citations for retaining walls until the matter is resolved. Council also requested that city staff report back in two weeks on how to resolve the issue. Now, I am sorry that you removed your wall, especially since the any agreement with the city will only cover pre-existing walls. However, should we come to an agreement with the city, if you you like, we can ask that your wall be included if you decide to rebuild it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:51

Try something new and refreshing - try working with your neighborhood and your association instead of bitchin' about how you are all alone and nobody likes you or will do anything for you - stop with your negative me and only me first attitude. Your neighborhood association can be more beneficial than you are admitting.

The association was not who turned in your retaining wall so stop trying to take it out on them.

CouldBeSherry said...

I sat through this particular case and many others at the code hearing. One over riding fact became apparent. Citizens do not understand code, their rights, or how to proceed when they receive a citation. Some are freaked and over react. Some do nothing as they feel they are innocent. Ultimately many end up at the hearing where, if they had been educated along the way, could have been avoided. This represents a major outlay of man hours and funds, both city and citizen that could have been greatly minimized if the system was better understood. It is preventable and upsetting to see how this court is required to operate, educating people at this point takes a lot of everyone’s time. Amazing how this type of issue seems invisible to the people who are involved with it.

ranbar said...

Sherry,

That is one reason Code has agreed to do the educational seminar in Seminole Heights. As soon as the date is finalized (probably a Saturday in October) we can get the word out. I insisted to Bill Doherty that every code officer and supervisor that effects Seminole Heights be in attendance so that residents can meet them and know who they are. I want to focus the seminar on the two issues: 1) residents' rights and responsibilities and 2) the violation process. I know feelings are running high about the effectiveness of the leadership of Code Enforcement, but I don't want to turn the seminar into a bitch session. There are more appropriate forums for that.

Anonymous said...

Try getting someone out there on a Saturday..
Are you crazy??

Anonymous said...

I'm delighted to hear that Code Enforcement will do a seminar with us. You will have no trouble getting people to attend, even if it IS on a Saturday.

Anonymous said...

The people I think you will have trouble getting to attend is code enforcement.
Even if you do, my tax dollars will be paying their huge amount of overtime.
For doing what?
Drinking coffee and BS about these ugly retaining walls?
Most of them need to be removed anyways from what I can see.
If they aren't, I am going to build the ugliest most embarassing retaining wall ever.
I can't wait.
If you approve one, they will have to approve my psychadelic retaining wall.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:40
No, I didn't initiate the complaint about the driveway. I was in Dade City at the time.

If you want to know who initiated the retaining wall complaint why don't you contact the homeowner who went to Code Board Wednesday? She'll tell you and she'll tell you how she happened to get in touch with me. I fought to have the retaining walls kept. And I lost. Code Board says there is a code that said no hardscape can be placed in the right of way and therefore she is guilty.

There are over 27 retaining walls in just a 2 block area on Powhatan. All of them are in the right of way. They keep the soil from washing away. Without them the canopy would be destroyed, the homes' foundations would be undermined, the silt would fill the city flood control pipes, the water meters would not work and the water pipes would be above ground. It would cost the city and the residents millions of dollars. The walls need to stay and I fought for them to stay.There are numerous other areas in SH that are in the same position.

If you have a retaining wall, DO NOT REMOVE IT! This is not over yet. See what Ranbar had to say. OSHNA is working on this and SESH and SSH are helping too. This problem needs to be resolved. Many city departments agree with us.

Pleased,anon 5:40, check your facts before you open your keyboard.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:28

Let's see - you b**** when code doesn't work for you and then you b**** when a meeting is being scheduled because they will be there and be paid - it is obvious that you are never happy and only exist to B****.

I am under the impression that code inspectors already work Saturdays so for them to be in one place to talk with us about the system will not affect their efforts - which you feel are nonexistant anyway - so what is the harm?? Their supervisors are salaried so they already get paid anyway.

I'm not seeing an issue here.

As far as your proposed wall - I think the associations are trying to focus on existing necessary walls not "spite" retaining walls.

Go get medicated and your nasty attitude may improve - glad I'm not your neighbor!

Better yet - just stop posting until you can be a constructive part of the conversation - not a S*** Slinger.

CouldBeSherry said...

Ranbar,
I absolutely agree with you about the seminar. Bitch sessions, at this point have little merit. And education is more important now than ever due to the temperature of everything code! I would like to see a point added and that is a discussion of alternative solutions or additional places to go for help. As with the retaining walls, if someone, anyone, in the city had been aware of this, then the suggestions made yesterday in court could have been attempted sooner rather than later. It is important for people to understand more than code. Better they understand the various departments and get an idea where to go. I understand all departments will not be there but some general guidelines and directions would be useful.
SESH supports this seminar and will work with you to see it remains educational. It is a great idea!

Anonymous said...

I am going to build the biggest most ugliest psychadelic retaining wall ever.
Everyone will love it and there will be nothing that can be done about it.
I want to have Venus fly traps extending from the top of the wall and out into the road.
Can you work that out for me?

Anonymous said...

Whatever!

crybabies r us said...

ranbar, good luck not turning it into a bitch fest! this is seminole heights remember. look at every post on here and all people do is waaah waaahh waaaahhh! :(

Anonymous said...

I am packing up and moving to SE Seminole Heights. At least these guys have their heads out of their A*ses. SESH conducted code meetings with the entire city and seminole heights, we attended this meeting as did many OSH neighbors. For some reason, now, OSH want to try to re-invent the wheel. We saw what happened at SESH meetings. The leaders from Code DO NOT want our help, they do not want to help us and they are ignorant. OSH has always tried to say we do not have problems. We are sitting stagnant as the areas arounnd us fight to improve. As long as Curtis, Bill and Harold are in a position of leadership, there will NEVER be change. I would not waste my gas money to drive across the street to see these guys. Curtis stood up at the meeting and discussed due process and how his "road to compliance" took 21 days. You show me one case that took 21 days and I will pay you $100. It has not happened. Look at the news, code's blind eyes has created another liability for the city as they try to close the house with the sex offenders. The only way code will ever be trusted and respected in this city is to get rid of them all and start with new leadership. Sorry to poo poo on your grand idea of a seminar, but been there, done that!

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:49 - I may be mistaken, but wasn't that the Pres of SESH endorsing the need for more education in Code Enforcement? Code is a two way street and there are many people who are unaware that they may have legitimate violations and, if cited, don't know what their rights are. That is a completely different issue than the competance of the leadership of Code Enforcement. Having an educational seminar and advocating for better leadership are not mutually exclusive.

Anonymous said...

In order to have a seminar that is effective, you have to have code enforcement that cares.
What good is a seminar otherwise eh?
I don't care to ever hear them speak again.