Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Advance notice

An email on SESHCA email

I awoke this morning to the sound of a construction crew using a circular
saw to slice through the granite curb in my front yard. I looked out to see
that they had already dug a sizeable hole in the ground between the sidewalk
and the street, and had torn up the fledgling landscaping I had planted.
When I walked out to question them, they told me that they were installing a
new "water system", and acted like they were doing me a favor by digging
their huge hole! I told them that I had JUST had an irrigation system
installed-- which thankfully they had not torn through (yet)-- and informed
them where the irrigation pipes ran, so that they could avoid them. I also
asked why I was not given any advance notice prior to my yard being torn up,
and was told "well, we've been working on this street all week." As if it
was MY burden to watch what they had been doing, to inform myself!! When I
asked them who I could call to find out more details (and who I WILL take to
task if my irrigation system is ruined), they kind of shrugged and said
"maybe the city? Or Dallas Construction? This is a city job." He was then
rude by saying that my landscaping (which is just starting to grow) "looked
dead", as if that gave him any right to tear it up.

It is my understanding that the city has an easement on this part of the
property close to the street, but it is unacceptable that I am given no
notice, and no recourse if my property is harmed. While an easement gives
the city the right to access this strip, it would seem to me that since it
is the property owner's responsibility to maintain it (mow the grass, etc.),
when the city destroys that maintenance, they should give notice and pay for
the damage! With the amount we pay in property taxes, it seems ridiculous to
me that we can be treated this way. Does the city come through and do this
to Hyde Park residents when work is being done? I doubt it. I'm about to
start making phone calls to the city and the mayor's office if necessary,
but I wanted to see if anyone else in SESHCA had any ideas or comments on
this matter before I do so. Thanks in advance for your input!


Anonymous said...

Although it sounds like the workers were rude and it would be nice if the city would inform people before they start work on your block, I would suggest you look at a survey you hopefully have for your house.

That survey will probably show that you do not own the property all the way to the curb along the street. A plat for your neighborhood in the public record would show how the lots are subdivided and what land was given to the city for roads etc. The paved area and curbing is not always the limit of the right-of-way for the street.

The right-of-way (the street/curbing and some fringed grassy area between the curb and sidewalk usually) is owned by the City of Tampa for their use (not an easement accross your property)Anything you place in the right-of-way is actually at your own peril and the City will probably not pay for any damages.

Because people do makes improvments in the right-of-way that make them look nice, it would be nice if the City provided notice when work was going to be done so that poeple could take precautions.

Anonymous said...

anon 11:15: you are talking and you don't know what you are talking about. right-of-way and easement are totally different things. You do actually OWN and pay taxes on all of the property, right up to the curb. However, the City has CONTROL and POWER to do whatever they want with that zone in order to install and maintain infrastructure.

Anonymous said...

The City treats everyone this way when work is being done. I moved to SH from South Tampa a few years ago, shortly after the lawns, irrigation systems and landscaping on my block were destroyed by sidewalk installers. If the City's workers or contractors damage your property, they're liable, so call public works!

Anonymous said...

The city must maintain these water lines. No one on my street complained during the work, and we were glad to see that our tax dollars were being put to good use.
I rather lose a bush than our water service.

Anonymous said...

I had a very different experience with the Tampa Sewer department. While they DID tear up the right of way, they also DID replace my ruined grass with good quality sod. I called them to get the work going, as we were having problems with backed up sewers. Sewer did a first class job for me. Other departments (sounds like the water department, for instance) should follow Sewer's lead.

Anonymous said...

The city is not liable for your stuff if you choose to put it out on the right of way.
The made a code that says you are responsible for the right of way even though they actually own it and can do what they want.
My understanding is that there is another code that says you cant put anything on the right of way so its at your own risk.

Anonymous said...

...on another note. Is there such a thing as Seminole Heights Christmas Carolers? Around 7 PM tonight I saw an army of people walking in SESH. Honestly, they looked like carolers carrying sheets of music in their hands...

Anonymous said...

That was code enforcement, they sent their entire dept. out to S.H.

terra said...

couldnt hurt if they did learn some carols. Merry All Ye Gentlemen would be a good opening salvo prior to citing us..