Friday, August 13, 2010
The Fireplug Incident
A few months after my divorce was finalized, city workers began installing a new water line across our front yard next to the street. At the time, my property was just outside the city limits, but there had been talk for several years about the city annexing our area, so I assumed the new pipe installation was related to that. (We have our own well and septic system.)
My children and I were surprised when the work began on our property, since we'd never been notified about it by anyone. We were even more surprised when we saw what looked like a large pipe sticking up out of the ground and covered with black plastic that was put in by the street in our front yard almost directly opposite our front door. We assumed this was for hook-ups to city water and sewer, should we ever want them, and I also assumed it would eventually be made more cosmetically acceptable.
Imagine our shock one day when the city workers finally removed the black plastic covering to reveal a bright red fire hydrant in the center of our front yard! Our house has two stories and sits on a hillside below the level of the street, so every view from the front of our house now looked out onto this hydrant. It was an eyesore we'd never been consulted about, and it seriously devalued our house and property. There was only one possible reason for its installation in that way and in that position: harassment. My kids and I were livid.
I immediately fired off the letter to the city shown here. A few days later, I received a reply from the mayor saying the city had notified my ex-husband about the work and asked him to tell us (even though they were well aware my ex- didn't live here anymore and no longer owned the property).
The mayor apologized to us. He said he'd personally driven by our house and agreed the hydrant's placement was offensive. He assured us the city would relocate the hydrant as soon as possible, and within a few days, it was moved a short distance down the street--still on our property, but out-of-sight from the front of our house. However, small protruding pipes and a rectangular metal cover were left behind in the spot where the hydrant had been, and they are still clearly visible in the middle of our front yard today (marking where the hydrant was originally installed).
I am also posting a copy of a letter I received from my ex-husband in 2003 that discusses this incident. In this letter, my ex- agrees that the original location of the hydrant was harassment. The "outlot" he refers to is his property bordering mine which did not have its agricultural exemption questioned when mine did, even though my property was clearly being used for agricultural purposes and his clearly was not.
While I'm posting my ex-husband's letter here to help document "the fireplug incident", it is also important for readers to go back a few posts and consider it along with the documents posted under "Chronologic Order". This letter is a good example of what I meant in the earlier post when I said my ex- would not give me copies of the documentation of agricultural use of our land I knew he had. Here you can see how he skirts the issue in various ways without ever actually providing me with what I'd asked him for (and what he knew I really needed).
Notice also that my ex- is aware I haven't been able to obtain legal representation and that he tries to sent me to one of his father's law partners. Although I didn't know it at the time, the particular family he talks about this lawyer representing just happens to own a large parcel of land near ours and also happens to own the major construction company employing the owner of the property to the west of us, the sme man who also happens to be a civil engineer, a pilot, the husband of a local doctor, and a school board member (as well as a close associate of my ex-husband's).