Imagine you find 5 inches of water under your house surrounding your furnace for the first time since you built your home 20 years ago on the highest lot on Woodpecker Hill in Grand Lake.
After you sump pump the water, a free-flowing stream coming under the foundation refills in minutes, and when it rains, the water level rises. In the front of your lot where no grass ever grew, there is now a lush swamp. You also discover the same thing is happening to your neighbors’ homes. A mere 20 feet from your foundation a massive sewer connection was excavated last fall in the town right of way for a massive development approved by our town officials.
Now, one would think that your trustees and commissioners would come to view this disaster destroying homes and would offer to help. In fact, you would be sadly mistaken.
Throughout this process of discovery, I have been told how to proceed by town officials, including advice to hire a lawyer, an engineer and a geologist. They’ve concluded I have a case against the developer and recommended a particular local attorney. They have opined that developers should pay for development and that this issue is not falling on deaf ears. Our trustees and commissioners have suggested that, perhaps, my disaster was caused by the developer’s engineer, or their local excavation company, or the Sanitation Department, or maybe it’s just the lack of revegetation, or additional runoff, or the snowfall… I was even told that I had obviously built my home in the wrong place and in a low spot (on the highest lot on the Hill).
According to our town officials, everyone and everything mentioned could be blamed for this disaster except them. Our public servants are all being encouraged to believe that they have the right to make decisions to approve transformational developments that directly impact their constituents’ financial investments, yet they bear no responsibility or accountability for their participation.
As for the developer, they have declared that diverting the water was not “a good option due to high cost.” And the last resort just called to tell our insurance does not cover “ground water flooding.” Yours probably doesn’t either.
So if you’re thinking of going to your town meetings for help with a disaster that was approved by our town officials, go for a walk instead.
– Gary Casalo, Grand Lake