FOLLOWUP: Court challenge, city-fee settlement in tree-or-house case

Three weeks ago, after city Hearing Examiner Sue Tanner ruled against the neighbor-filed appeal in the Admiral tree-vs.-house case, appellant Lisa Parriott was still considering what to do next. Now, she tells WSB she’s taking the case to court. And she revealed she’s reached a settlement with the city regarding the fees they sought to charge related to her appeal.

First, the basic backstory if you haven’t been following this: The tree is a 100-ish-foot Ponderosa Pine growing at 3036 39th SW, on what the neighborhood had long seen as the side yard for the house next door. Real-estate investor Cliff Low bought the property – house, tree, and all – in late 2015 and sought a city opinion to confirm that the side with the tree was a buildable lot. The city said it was. He filed for permits to build a two-story house with a two-vehicle garage. Neighbors launched a save-the-tree campaign. When the city formally said OK last October, both Parriott and the Seattle Green Spaces Coalition filed appeals, though ultimately Tanner only allowed Parriott’s case – and only in part – to proceed.

A hearing was held on January 12 (WSB coverage here); the ruling came in January 25th (WSB coverage here).

That is considered the city’s final say in the matter, so any challenge has to be taken to Superior Court, and that’s what Parriott has done, filing a Land Use Petition and Complaint. You can read the document in its entirety here; the contentions include the same argument at the heart of the case taken to the Hearing Examiner, that the site doesn’t qualify for a Historic Lot Exception because there is nothing on record suggesting it was considered a separate building lot. Parriott’s action also seeks an injunction to keep the tree from being cut and house from being built while this plays out; city files show the building permit for the house was issued two weeks ago, on February 2nd.

Meantime, with that court fight looming, Parriott reached a settlement with the city precluding a fight over fees charged for the interpretation she was forced to seek because the Hearing Examiner threw out her other potential avenue of appeal even before the January hearing. Here’s the agreement:

She paid the required $2,800 to cover staff time the city said would be spent on the “code interpretation,” and then the city sent a bill for more than $10,000, saying that was the cost of additional hours its staff spent on the case. As a result of the settlement, the Department of Construction and Inspections will waive that fee.

Next steps in Parriott’s land-use petition will likely be a hearing for both sides to argue before a King County Superior Court judge.

45 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Court challenge, city-fee settlement in tree-or-house case"

  • Joel February 15, 2017 (6:46 am)

    if the city allows the sale of a buildable lot then the owner should be allowed to use the land for it’s intended purpose.  if the person suing to save the trees wants a big tree then she should plant one on her land.  there are plenty of places she can purchase a more mature tree to let it grow.

    • Swede. February 15, 2017 (7:48 am)

      I can see the beauty of having the tree around but totally agree. What if you don’t agree with your neighbors painting there house a color you don’t like? Shold they not be allowed to do that either? 

      I’m sure some business would been able to move the tree to someones else yard for the $10000 (or more) that’s been spent this far…

    • Jethro Marx February 15, 2017 (10:03 am)

      The art of moving big trees is a fuzzy science and comically expensive. If you can move this tree for ten grand you must have gone to Hogwart’s SOWAW. I bet you would spend about twenty times that. I mean, I love tossing about musings on areas of non-expertise as much as the next plebeian, but sheesh! And speaking of nonsense, let’s omit affordable housing from the discussion surrounding this tree; this type of development does not encourage anything like affordability.

      • Swede. February 15, 2017 (2:10 pm)

        My point was more that if you have money to throw around and you want to save that tree, why not try to save it instead of trying to force the owner to do something he doesn’t want to? It IS on his property so he can, and probably will, do whatever he likes with it. 

        And I totally agree with affordability, or the lack there of. WS is going crazy with building. It will (hopefully) backfire soon when all the people with deep pockets to buy it all realize it will take them two hours of watching taillights on the only two lanes out of there on the bridge. It will be ‘faster’ commuting to amazon from Tacoma than WS with the way traffic is going! 

    • Save Our Silent Giant February 15, 2017 (7:39 pm)

      We anticipated there being quite a storm of rederick from the developer community today.  This is the same pattern of behaviors from the development community as the One-home-per-lot neighbors experienced 2012-2015.  

      My guess is that the developers and their lobbyists started making phone calls to the City/Council Members today.  This is how our land use code has been so rigged on behalf of the developers to date.

      We agree that tax payers should not have to pay for code interpretations and the City’s time defending these decisions.  That cost should be born on the shoulders of those who are developing their property and stand to gain $400K profit.  If you agree, call Lisa Herbold and ask for a code change.  Ask that code interpretations be part of the historic lot exception process before a Master Use Permit (building permit) is issued.

      The developers have been able to hide behind the code’s current provisions for too long.  Requiring $15,000 to appeal a decision to the Hearing Examiner before you even go to court is unlawful.

  • Paying for Partiott February 15, 2017 (7:32 am)

    ” the Department of Construction and Inspections will waive that fee.”

    In other words, we taxpayers have to foot the $10K bill for Lisa Parriott’s attempts to dictate what others can do with their property. Disgusting. Lisa Parriott needs to pay her own bills for her NIMBY garbage. 

  • Edward G February 15, 2017 (8:07 am)

    The city makes mistakes all the time, usually at the cost of our environment.  We are at just the beginning of the Ballardization of unique family neighborhoods in West Seattle.  Tax pools increase, more traffic, more pollution, less nature.

    • Anonymous Coward February 15, 2017 (8:51 am)

      Less nature?  Wasn’t/isn’t the whole point of the growth management act to trade less nature in here for more nature out there?  I’m ok if people want more nature out there and more nature in here, but I don’t want to hear any complaints about housing affordability.  Pick two: growth management act, housing affordability, and unchanging neighborhood character.  Until we, as a city, decide between housing affordability and unchanging neighborhood character, we’ll continue to get neither.

  • Hame February 15, 2017 (8:53 am)

    Seriously neighbors… Wasting our money and increasing the cost of housing for everyone.   If you want to be constructive plant a tree.   Your silly fight hurts me my family and my neighbors.

  • Steve February 15, 2017 (9:03 am)

    I’m so tired of listening about this tree.  This tree is not our tree.  It belongs to the person who owns the property that it is located.  To add insult to injury, the city has waived the $10k fee incurred by the appellant???  I wish I could have my fees waived when I don’t agree with the city.  Lisa needs to pay for the war she started.

  • Julia February 15, 2017 (9:22 am)

    I don’t like the way they’re squeezing houses in tiny spaces, but…honestly, that’s an ugly tree.

  • Jason February 15, 2017 (9:26 am)

    I hope Lisa will accept the city’s ruling and move along. There are plenty of trees in our neighborhood and this one will not affect the street at all if removed. Cliff has every right to build on this lot and with the need for housing I welcome it. Lisa lives on the corner and not directly across the street. She won’t even notice it’s gone.

  • A. February 15, 2017 (9:30 am)

    Lisa needs to stop wasting all of OUR money on a tree that she does not own or have a say over. 

  • What it's all about February 15, 2017 (10:24 am)

    SDCI clearly does not want their decisions challenged.  SDCI strategy is to inflate the cost of a Hearing Examiner appeal to the point where the public will not be able to afford raising a challenge.  This is clearly a loss of the right to petition our government for the redress of grievances.  This is clearly a equity and social justice issue.  Only the wealthy will be able to challenge SDCI when they make an error.  Sure, SDCI reached a settlement to drop the $10,141 fee this time.  But will they the next time?  When you want to appeal?

    Ethics of the situation:  The neighbors are required to pay SDCI staff to defend the decision the neighbors are challenging.  With this process, is it possible SDCI staff could drive up the cost in order to discourage the appeal?  If the staff time being billed is costing too much, above what the neighbors can pay, the neighbors must drop the appeal.  The neighbors can not limit the amount SDCI staff will charge.  Does anyone else see a conflict of interest here?  SDCI said “trust us.”   A final bill of 43.75 hrs. and almost $14K proves the point.  This system is corrupt.

    Let’s review the facts:
    1.  The buildable lot with the tree was created in January 2016 when the city issued the new owner an opinion letter.  Before that, since 1930 when the house on the lot was built, through 10 previous owners, it was one lot.  Property taxes paid for the past 80 years have been for ONE lot. 

    2.  The new buyer paid $1000 for the city to determine it was  a buildable lot in January 2016.  He then paid $9,462 for a land use review and $5574 for a building permit.  A total of $16,036.50 for the land use review and building permits to divide a lot and build a new house.  A total of 48.5 hrs. of SDCI staff time.  Note:  during this process, SDCI staff reviewed the Historic Lot Exception two times – once during the Legal Building Site Letter and once during the Land Use review for the permit.  

    3.  The neighbors who challenged the SDCI’s decision that it was a buildable lot, based on the Historic Lot Exception determination, were required to pay SDCI staff a 3rd time to review the same information (same staff, same information, cut and pasted into new document).  In addition, they were charged for staff time to defend the decision they were challenging.  Total cost billed to neighbors by SDCI 43.75 hrs. at $13,941.25.

    4.  Do the math.  How is it the SDCI gets paid 3 times to do the same work?  How is it that SDCI can raise the cost of a Hearing Examiner appeal for one decision, which the code sets at $85, to almost the same cost to obtain permits to divide a lot and review plans to build a house – which involved many reviews and decisions?  Many would think that review of plans to build a house would be more complex.  And they would be correct.

    5.  SDCI did not need to charge 43.75 hours to defend a decision they had already made and documented – twice.   Although, SDCI sent 4 staff members to the pre-hearing and 3 to the hearing, the total time in the Hearing Examiner proceedings was less than 5 hrs.  SDCI only needed to send one staff member – the one who made the Historic Lot Exception decision two times before or a supervisor who approved it. 

    6.  In the past, neighbors could appeal to the courts.  This is no longer available.  Now, neighbors must first go through Hearing Examiner.  Per SDCI, neighbors must pay for a code interpretation and pay for staff time to defend decision they are challenging before going to King County Superior Court (i.e. $13,941.25 in SDCI fees).   Some would say the fox is watching the hen house.  And they would be correct.

    Write your City Council representative now!  This clearly needs to be fixed asap.

    • dsa February 15, 2017 (11:10 am)

      You are absolutely correct.  This case goes way beyond a tree or an additional home in one neighborhood.  We should instead be helping fund this case as this infilling, dividing old lots affects our quality of life for all of us.  This type topic is constantly being talked about here on the blog, yet when someone comes forward to to do something that could make some progress about changing the crowding they get called out.

      • Gladyskravitz February 15, 2017 (4:42 pm)

        No, the proposed house on this lot will have the same legal side yard setbacks as all the others, and this block will look and act no different than any of the other blocks of little houses in this old neighborhood. 

        • WSRedux February 15, 2017 (8:12 pm)

          Gladyskravitz re: setbacks & kit size…Set backs will be 3 feet, 2 feet less than the 5 feet required for a standard single family lot elsewhere in the immediate neighborhood. Lot sizes of 3030, 3036 (the new lot) and 3038 (the address from which 3036 will be split) will be 3100+ square feet, 65% the size of the average lot elsewhere in the immediate neighborhood. The new home and the adjacent homes will appear to be squeezed in compared to their neighbors and the flat roof deck of the new  home will look down into the bedroom windows of 3030-38th ave SW, the home immediately to the north. Not quite a good fit for the neighborhood. As for whether or not Mr. Low makes (potentially a lot of) money or not, real estate, like any other investment, is subject to risk-sometimes you win & sometimes you lose. When a  letter of opinion is issued, the city emphasizes it is not a legal opinion and therefore carries a risk. The problem with the letter of opinion in this case is that it’s not based on any of the 3 criteria listed in the code covering Historic Lot Exceptions (a lot called out by deed, permit or plat prior to 1957) and was not held under separate ownership from adjacent lots for at least a year prior to 1957. Instead, the planners imputed the intent of the person who owned the single lot (3038-39th Ave SW, which Chris Low wants to subdivide) in 1930. Trying to determine the thinking of someone who owned the lot over 86 years ago is, at best, a very dicey proposition that invites challenge. If the city wants to allow this sort of interpretation, they should include it as one of the allowable criteria in that section of the code dealing with Historic Lot Exceptions. That would save time and expense of the appeal we’re seeing in this case. In the meantime, the appellant has every right to her day in court. 

    • JoAnne February 15, 2017 (1:24 pm)

      Thank you!

  • Ric February 15, 2017 (11:12 am)

    Somebody’s done their homework.

  • Jethro Marx February 15, 2017 (11:48 am)

    It’s pretty obtuse to claim that the neighbors fighting this are “costing us money” or “raising the cost of housing.” City staff working on this are collecting a salary, whether defending their lot exemption decision or checking their Facebook page or playing minesweeper. So unless a special assessment is levied for the tree case it’s all water leaking out of the same bucket. What’s it all about? Well, this has never been about cutting the tree; the owner can do that anytime. It’s become an issue because of a sketchy lot exemption based on a Trumped-up sewer card. And now we try to make it a simple issue and pick one side or the other to hurl insults from. It’s not simple, we can have perspective and nuance as we discuss it, and we would all be well-advised to stop holding money to be the MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER. Shade and birds are nice, too. The perspective we are missing is the tree’s. That tree has seen more of West Seattle’s history than any of us and it worked hard to find solid footing over the past seventy years. It is contributing to Seattle in a way that is no longer a priority and so we will destroy what we don’t value. Kinda reminds me of militants in Asia blowing up Buddhas carved into cliffs. Oh, also, the tree said, to Julia, above, “You’re the one who’s ugly.”

    • JanS February 15, 2017 (12:47 pm)

      Jethro Marx…you can disagree and argue until you’re blue in the face, because that’s your right. However…it IS RUDE and UNCALLED FOR, saying your neighbor, Julie, or any other neighbor, ugly. That right there negated anything else you might have said on the subject for me

      As far as the tree in concerned, I live a few blocks away, near Fairmount Rd, and near Hiawatha…plenty of trees, including the nearly 60 ft one just outside my window. The tree in question has never, nor will it ever have an impact on me one way or the other. I didn’t even know it existed until Ms. Parriott started this. Amazing, huh…

      • Jethro Marx February 15, 2017 (1:37 pm)

        It’s too bad that the humorous signoff “negated everything else” I had to say; I’m pretty sure Julia caught the intended humor, but maybe I was flying to close to the sun on wings made of cheese, eh? This is, after all, an internet-based forum of neighbors kicking around thoughts about trees, so maybe we should take ourselves a little less seriously, what? Was it rude and uncalled-for when Julia called the tree ugly? You can see how quickly it starts to sound ridiculous when we ferret out all the loose thought trails. As for the impact of the tree or anything else on you, you seem sure about what does and doesn’t have an impact on you. Are you? Sure, that is? As the Beastie Boys say, “..we all linked together like a Lego set/whether we have or have not yet met…”

        • JanS February 16, 2017 (6:54 pm)

          dear Mr. Marx…there is a BIG difference between calling a tree ugly and calling a person ugly, no matter how humorous you think it was. Humor, sarcasm, etc doesn’t translate well on the interwebs, and in a forum like this. So there you go…..it certainly didn’t seem humorous to me. Interpretations. Nah…whether that tree stays or doesn’t, and this man gets to subdivide or not seriously does not affect me in the least. obviously, Ms. Parriott thinks that it affects her. Glad to see that there are people in the world that have money just lying around to do what she’s doing. Life for her must be great. And if she loses the next round, then what? Perhaps she should have bought the property in question herself, and she could sit there and stare at that tree for the rest of her life. Have a great rest of the week :)

    • Gladyskravitz February 15, 2017 (5:45 pm)

      So, you’re posing that there is no real $10K+ cost consequence to the city and taxpayers here, because- if the saleried (and back-logged) staffers/planners/examiners were not working on this case, they would be wasting this same time to browse facebook and play minesweeper? Here I was upset about democracy coupons- I had no idea we were paying this much $$ for staffers to play minesweeper!!

  • West Seattle since 1979 February 15, 2017 (11:51 am)

    Building out into the countryside (I believe it’s called greenfield development) isn’t a good thing either.  There are a lot of people moving here and they have to live somewhere.  If we don’t build in already populated areas (infill development), then we’ll have to build in outlying areas with no development that may be forests or fields or whatever.  We could cover up all of the western part of the state with houses!  Would that be better?  Probably not so great for the environment either.  

    I know everyone wants everything to stay the same as it was when you moved here, but it can’t if people move here.  I guess we could put up a sign at the city limits saying that we aren’t accepting any more people, but that’s probably not very realistic and would be ignored anyway.  :)

  • McFail February 15, 2017 (11:53 am)

    City of Seattle’s Planning & Development, Transportation, or Public Utilities never  coordinate or discuss their policies that greatly affects how they all go about their business.  Seattle Public Utilities creates requirements for Low Impact Development (LID), one of which is protecting/maintaining trees in all site redevelopments – might actually be the first .  Although LID is good in many ways, the other Departments looks for ways to get out of it and seems like DPD doesn’t understand the reasoning and lets developer’s do the minimum (Goal is Maximum Extent Feasible) and let them build these mediocre rain gardens…  The City creates programs to “Re-Leaf” Seattle because their is lack of tree canopy, but then allows “significant tree” to be removed.  All DPD codes need to be challenged for the benefit of the community.

    • JoAnne February 15, 2017 (1:26 pm)

      Truth!  Re-leaf trees will not be mature or contributing to health and habitat for at least 20 years!

  • Neighbor February 15, 2017 (1:52 pm)

    Lisa-my family thanks you and all those working hard to establish some accountability!

    Set up a  Go Fund Me page! 

    • Save Our Silent Giant February 15, 2017 (4:32 pm)

      Thanks for asking!  Here you go:  https://www.gofundme.com/2cxyaw4

      • alki_2008 February 16, 2017 (12:10 am)

        Looking at the GoFundMe page…can someone clarify for me the assertion there that “the developer misrepresented himself during the transaction” ?

  • Gladyskravitz February 15, 2017 (3:37 pm)
    Appealants can’t make up their mind what this big tussle is all about- they just keep throwing stuff at the wall to see if anything sticks?! First, it was about THIS particular tree- it must be saved! Next, they claimed this heroic battle was about outdated or unclear land use rules and application of historic lot exemption. Now, it’s an impassioned plea to challenge the SDCI fee structure, and to change the appeal process?!  Will any part of this conflict effect any changes to these processes, fees or appeal protocols? I’m not sure what the goal is- but I think it’s unfortunate that Cliff Low (and the taxpayers) are paying the price for it. 
    This is not our tree. It’s not the last tree. It’s just A tree- not unlike the ones cut down to make all the other houses, and pencils, and ikea furniture. 
  • Wseattleite February 15, 2017 (4:28 pm)

    Perhaps those who want nothing to change can start a trust and buy the property at market value.  Then they will have the right to make the determination of the future of the lot.

     

  • Nigel February 15, 2017 (4:41 pm)

    Wow, outrageous that these fees are being waived. A busybody neighbor wants control over a property she does not own and a tree she does not own. She loses and then gets her fees waived. She has “no skin in the game.” Does the property owner get his fees waived? Does he get reimbursed for his costs and delays? Sounds like this busybody neighbor gets to harass the owner at no cost to herself. Just shift the cost to the general public. I do not support this. 

    For the commenter calling people ugly, shame on you. Grow up!

    • Jethro Marx February 16, 2017 (1:57 pm)

      It was not I who called Julia ugly, but the tree. I think we all agree that the tree has grown up to the fullest extent. Do you see the double irony in your post?

       1. Call neighbors names.

       2. Scold me for calling neighbors names.

       3. Fail to realize that, being the comments section of a neighborhood blog post about someone else’s tree, we are all busybodies here.

       In fact, I posit that almost all humans are busybodies. Except narcissists, I guess. Anyway, as I said before, (and I say again, supposing you didn’t read carefully) I was trying to be funny and misread the room, or at least two of you. I now feel the appropriate amount of shame for my offense. As to the rest of what you had to say, you seem to have a low threshold for outrage, and I don’t think you are using “skin in the game” quite right.

  • PC February 15, 2017 (5:52 pm)

    if they were a big developer they could cut it down no problem, this city is ridiculous.  They let a developer take a tree down on Holden and about 22nd or 23 where Catholic Community Services has homes by the Home Depot and that tree had to bee a hundred years old at least.  I was walking down Holden one day and the tree was literally gone, no notice in the community at all. I am definitely not about removing trees, I think we should do everything we can to avoid it but the City just randomly decides who can remove a tree and who can’t.  Go to the eastside and there are way more trees  and thought as to how to avoid stripping neighborhoods. 

  • AdmiralRes February 15, 2017 (5:56 pm)

    The Historic Lot Exception is outdated and developers are using it to by-pass the land use code and split up properties that don’t fit the building codes. The codes are there for a reason. On top of that the SDCI puts up a huge financial barrier to anyone who wants to contest it. I am not as eloquent as Jethro Marx or What Its All About, but I agree with them completely.  I commend Lisa for fighting this injustice – it’s about so much more than a tree! 

    • Gladyskravitz February 15, 2017 (6:53 pm)

      Great! If you feel that way- try to change the rules, but not like this! This effort is misguided and and will not change any code or future permitting- it won’t change anything! This is just extremely unfair to one guy, who is legally doing what people have been doing here for 100 years. Houses have been built on smaller lots around here since they were being built. You may live in a house. If so, thank people like Cliff low that took the risk and built houses here. He will rightfully prevail in court- but first this uninterested party will cost him a great deal of time money and energy! i don’t know him, but I would lose my mind if someone did this to me. 

      • WSRedux February 15, 2017 (8:45 pm)

        Gladys, You are right in part. The existing rules should be changed: tightened up and corrected. First, the Historic Lot Exception initially was written when the city rewrote the code to establish lot sizes, zoning, etc. and the council wanted to give time for those who owned property under the old rules to be able to develop properties they wouldn’t be able to develop under the new rules…to grandfather their right to develop. Unfortunately, no time limit (say 20 or 30 years) or ownership clauses (e.g. owners of record at the time the code was revised or immediate descendants) were included in the new code.  So now, developers are taking advantage of these rules even though the properties may have changed hands multiple times. I don’t believe this was the intent of the City Council when the HLE section of the code was written. And remember, the Historic Lot Exception section of the code is used for otherwise undersized lots that typically couldn’t be developed under the rules that apply to lots that are equal or close to equal to normal size lots in Single Family zoned neighborhoods. Another point I take issue with is that the property owners who are selling or are approached to sell are rarely aware that their property  may be more valuable because it contains an historic lot and they are not notified that an opinion letter has been requested. Such was the case with 3038-39th Ave SW.  In fact, even when asked, the city may be confused and tell the property owner they do not have an historic buildable lot on their property, then, after the property is sold, issue an opinion letter with the opposite conclusion…that a legal, undersize lot exists. This happened to an elderly woman in the Columbia City-seward Park area several years ago. The Historic Lot Exception is an obscure, complicated part of the code and the most property owners aren’t aware of opinion letters. I think a property owner should be notified or cc:’d by the city when someone requests an opinion letter about their property.   

        • Gladyskravitz February 16, 2017 (11:51 pm)

          WSRedux- your spin is making me dizzy! Where do you glean this intent of the HLE to give any measured amount of time to develop under previous code? This is absolutely not true. There was no time limit because there was no time limit- and because it was what it is and it shall always be. 

          Also/ your assertion that these 3 houses on 3100+sf lots will be squeezed together, unlike others in the neighborhood- certainly fails to recognize that 2 of the 8 (or 25% of) houses on Lisa Parriott’s block face are on 3200+sf lots, making the subject lot fit quite well in it’s surroundings. More misleading is your assertion of an undersized side setback – as the only true relevance is a 10′ space between structures, which will is indisputable. You speak with great conviction, in a very compelling manner- but you spin me right round baby right round like record baby right round something something.. (This is for jethro, btw/ much funnier if you just own it.. I don’t think you misread the room, and who cares if a couple didn’t get it- that makes it a better gag!)

          but seriously, redux- your impassioned pleas have gone in so many directions, that the confusing spin doesn’t even make sense. 

  • Jeff Reed February 15, 2017 (9:59 pm)

    $10,000 sounds a little low, why not make it $16 million to scare away other citizens that care about fighting for what’s right.

  • Save Our Silent Giant February 15, 2017 (11:02 pm)

    Another thing that needles me…  November 6, 2015 Mike Ravenscroft (the developer’s realtor) started emailing the City staff asking if our neighbor’s side yard was a legal building site.  Based on the City’s response, Cliff Low filed papers with the City.  This was all happening behind the scenes before the for sale sign was even in the ground in late November.  So how does the network work where information gets funneled to Mike Ravenscroft on these sites?  What compensation is paid and to whom?  How does this industry and their professional responsibilities represent the seller’s best interests?  Our neighbor only knew that he received an offer immediately following the installation of the sign.  

    I say follow the money trail to unravel this mystery.

    • Hame February 16, 2017 (12:13 am)

      Speaking of needling… What kind of “behind the scenes” work are you doing to reduce your bill at the expense of our taxes that we all pay?   You appealed.  You lost because the judge found you wrong,  The bill for your suit you say was 10k+.   Suddenly, it was forgiven….   As a taxpayer that makes me wonder if there isn’t another trail we should be following?

  • Clint b February 16, 2017 (12:22 am)

    Bigger fish to f r y in the world these days friends. Tree will go down and house will be built. Spend your time making sure your kids are ok or lobbying for PEOPLES Rights.

  • Kittyno February 16, 2017 (8:59 am)

    I think the argument against building would garner more sympathy if it didn’t concentrate on the tree.  The tree might be nice, but since it’s not a landmark, the owner has had every right to do away with it since he bought the property.  The owner also has a legal right to look into splitting their parcel.

    The real issue is the exemption made to building code setbacks.  Why not concentrate on that?  

    And, yes, there are some super shady deals going on with info gather from real estate developers and the city.  Again, why not concentrate on that?  Focusing on the tree confuses the issue.  And making your neighbor seem like a villain is not helping your fight.

  • Subsidizing Developers February 16, 2017 (9:33 pm)

    If it is a historic buildable lot, why has it been tax free for the past 87 years?   Since 1930 when it was theoretically created.    

    How much revenue has the County lost over that time?   If Mr. Low filed and was issued an opinion that it is a buildable lot based on the historic status, shouldn’t he have to pay 87 years of property taxes?  The value of the property was suddenly increased by $120,000.  The previous 10 owners didn’t think it was a second lot.  They shouldn’t pay because they used it as a side yard and paid taxes for that use.  If Mr. Low treats it as a second lot, and the City agrees, 87 years of back property taxes please!!

    PS  Jethro Marx – I appreciate your sense of humor.

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