Property Q&A in Penngrove>Question Details

Sandra, Both Buyer and Seller in Lassen

Is the developer of a parcel, where runoff has seriously damaged the private road, responsible for damage?

Asked by Sandra, Lassen Sat Feb 28, 2009

We live in a rural area in near Rohnert Park. A developer has graded an uphill slope to put a prebuilt house on it. Runoff from that development has undermined the main road to our homes. Damage currently is at $20k. He still plans to bring in three trailers and a crane to erect the prebuilt house, and claims he is "broke" and not responsible for the damage. We are facing huge assessments to repair the road. What are our options. Our road committe claims they do not have the authority to stop him? The county says it is a civil matter. We could lose access to our homes. Are there laws or agencies to regulate this?

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Sandra, I agree with Pam but would first go to: http://www.sonoma-county.org/prmd/ and put in the Assessor’s Parcel Number or APN. If you have an address do a Google search and see if you can locate this number.
Conversely you can go DOWN to the Permit Resource Management Division (see above link and get adress, map, telephone numbers) and look up the address. If they having nothing on record then this is a wild-cat contractor doing everything without permits. If he is on record and you see "permit" activity then call down there and see if you can speak to the inspector in charge of road permits/design. Tell THEM of your problem and they most likely will get out their quickly and put a stop to this plus look for recourse from not only the contractor but the OWNER OF THE PROPERTY!!
Also, contact the OWNER of RECORD on the subject property via registered letter and tell them you are contacting an attorney unless this matter is resolved immediately!! You could even call in the environmental folks from the county and get them involved also!! Water erosion, especially when it may intrude to other sensitive environmental areas, is NOT being tolerated. I'd also get a pit-bull dog of a lawyer and filed a lawsuit threatening a cease and desist order on the property!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 28, 2009
I think it is a civil matter Sandra, and one to ask a real estate attorney. But I am curious, has the developer done the work and grading with permits? Typically design, engineering and permits are required to prevent (among other things) such problems from occurring in the first place. If the work was not done with permits, there may be some recourse at the county but I presume that matter was already investigated. Any time more than a few cubic yards of dirt are moved a grading permit is required.

It seems as if he has substantially altered the natural flow of water. Potentially leaving homes in a landlocked position is a very serious issue, obviously. On the other hand, if he truly is broke, your relief might be difficult to obtain in a timely manner.

Contacting the media as Lynn has said, may not be a bad idea. If you would like referrals to real estate attorneys or any other resources, please feel free to contact me and good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 28, 2009
WOW , does city have restrictions on trucks/ trailers in that area. I would research code, WHAT about emergency vechile need have access to those areas if you cant reach our home neither police, fire, and etc.

Also contact your local district rep. who is elected offical. Have you considered contacting media.
Web Reference: http://www.lynn911.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 28, 2009
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