Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Letter from the City to My Mean Neighbor

The City has officially notified my mean neighbor that he really does have to remove the arborvitae that he planted at the back of our yard. I wonder if he'll do it. I'll let you know how this all plays out, of course.

April 9, 2007

[Neighbor Dude]
Seattle, WA 98108

Re: Director’s Review of Street Use Notice of Violation [#XXX]

Dear Mr. [Neighbor Dude],

Thank you for your letter on January 22, 2007 requesting a Director’s Review of the above Notice of Violation issued on January 11, 2007, for removing the shrubs you planted on the west [Editor's note: This should actually say "east"] side of the retaining wall across the alley that abuts your property.

As required by Seattle Municipal Code 15.90.014, the Seattle Department of Transportation Director’s Review has been completed. The above Street Use Notice of Violation to remove the planting has been sustained.

The purpose of this letter is to put you on notice that the Seattle Department of Transportation (“SDOT”), after investigating the records in this matter, finds that your plantings are in violation of SMC 15.02.048, exercising dominion or control over or occupation of all or part of a public place and 15.04.010 pruning or planting without a permit.

Although you state that you have the right to maintain the retaining wall through plantings, you are responsible only for the structure and appearance of the wall per the agreement filed with the City to which you referred. The plantings you have placed do not constitute maintenance of the retaining wall. Further, any plantings on the retaining wall would require the explicit written consent of the adjacent property owner. [Editor's note: That's us! Hurray!]

Please be advised that if you do not remove the planting on or before April 30 2007, you may be issued a Notice of Violation pursuant to SMC 15.90.018 which can result in civil penalties.

The City would bear the burden of proving the violations in any subsequent legal action to enforce the Notice of Violation.


Street Use Section
Seattle Department of Transportation


chuck b. said...

So if he chooses not to comply, the city would have to decide if it cares enough to force him to?

Sounds like you could remove them yourself, but I guess the trees are still his property. You could pot them up for him. :)

JvA said...

I've been a pest to the Street Use department for months, e-mailing or calling every week to find out what the status of their director's review was. (Everyone I've dealt with has been really, really nice, by the way.) And I was told that the reason the process has taken so long is that the Street Use people had to get the city attorney's office to review the case for them. Fortunately, the city attorney has found it solid and is willing to back it up in court if Dude refuses to comply.

I'm not going to touch the trees at this point because I'm very curious as to what will happen next. If he doesn't comply, I think the fine is $500 a day, and I think that if he loses in court, he may have to pay the city's legal fees.

After we get all the ivy out, we are going to have some debris we'd like to haul out through that area, but I think we can wait a couple more weeks to see what happens first.