tv [untitled] May 5, 2011 10:00am-10:30am PDT
happens, unfortunately, you do have to pursue some legal remedies, but my assumption here is that if you had to pay any fees, that those types of things would be wrapped into the remedy you would be seeking from the arbitration adjustment board. >> that is a possibility. i have been asked what i'm looking for, and i did give them a figure. i love the fact that i'm standing in front of you today shows that he did work incorrectly. we have suffered many floods since the installation of this new sewer. commissioner lee: commissioner walker, mar. commissioner walker: i have a question, and it may be better to the staff. in the original store permit -- 2005, did you say? >> i believe it was 2006.
we had our first lead in 2005. commissioner walker: my question would be when the zero original permit was applied for, would there have been a mention of the backflow or not, and would that have been a time when we might have said, "should they have a back flow?" >> the permit was for the house track and the building's sewer. we did not get inside the building. there was no work that was done inside. it was after the fact that the permit was obtained. commissioner walker: we would assume it was already in there? >> we would not know that there is anything underneath there. we're looking at just what they have -- the house track and the sewer. there's no work being done inside. we are not going inside to look at it. we are looking at what is being replaced. there should have been some kind of that water protection. from what i understand, there was.
secondary valve was installed after the fact because of, assuming, flooding here it installed without inspection or permit. >> that was going to lead to my second question, maybe to the property owner as well. i think commissioner lee is right. we are responsible for the contractors we hire. with the sec and installation of the back flow valve, do we know -- did you not question the contractor? did you pull a permit? and if you did not, of course, there would have been no inspection. because if he pulled the permit for the second installation, we would have inspected it, i assume, after word, and signed off on it. the plumbing inspector would have gone off and said that it is right or wrong, and we have to do it again. that would have been the time. we would have called the contractor and said you were not
paying until inspection. >> i will agree, sir. this is what is confusing to us in this case. we believe that these permits, whichever are in place, the two back flow valves replaced simultaneously. they were not done separately. they were done after the installation of the main sewer. there were many months -- not many, but a few months in between the time that the store was completed and the installation of the back flow valve. they were not done continuously. so when it comes back to the point where we are being cited for violations for not having a permit, it seems to me that that should have happened with the installation of the sewer. if the store were properly permitted and inspected, the inspector would have said,
"where is your back lowball?" -- where is your backflow valve?" >> it was not. >> she asked my question, and we got an answer on that, and commissioner mar follow up on that. the answers were there. the other thing that i'm curious about -- the work that was done on the inside of the building -- was there or was there not a permit? >> that is my question. i believe there was not because if there had been a permit obtained -- i will say that none of this came to light until we got the violation in 2008. the sewer was completed in 2006. we had a subsequent flood, called the pc again, and had their inspector come out because we could not believe we were still flooding after spending this much time and energy and
effort to get the problem fixed. that is one inspector gave us the citation, stating that this back flow valve is incorrectly placed. and that was our first inclination or the first light bulb moment that maybe this entire system is wrong and maybe the entire system has not been thoroughly checked and investigated. commissioner murphy: it happens. you get a contractor that was a lousy job, but it is still the duty of the department to enforce and do it correctly. >> i understand that. i do. and we plan -- we have always tried to do as homeowners and be responsible to our tenants to do the right thing. i think that is demonstrated by the amount of money and time we spend to have this done here also, our diligence with contacting the puc and calling the city and asking for assistance. yes, i understand that it is
ultimately the homeowners responsibility, but i think that we look to professionals and we look to agents that have the expertise to tell us whether we are going about this the right way. in this instance, we only got the direction after the fact. commissioner murphy: you seem to me to be a very responsible homeowner. that is my impression of you. i just think you were in bad luck. you bet the wrong contractor. that is where you are today. >> when was the last time that your basement -- or problem flooding occurred? >> i believe it was last year. this is 2011. i believe it was 2010. i could have my tenant speak with you because she is the one most affected by this, although we all are, but she lives in the apartment that floods.
>> what i'm curious about is with the most recent rains, some that were fairly -- of a volume earlier this year, was there any flooding? >> we have had none this year. none in 2011. >> that part in trying to somewhat connect, whether the system had failed or basically it might have been a condition of something back then. i would believe that if the system is at fault, something of a volume that would have really pushed your system to a failure point would have been most recently when the rains did come. >> the instances of flooding that we had ever since this began in 2005 until present, have been sporadic and have been at odd moments.
i cannot speak to how it happens or why it happens, but i do know that it is during times of heavy, heavy rainfall. when we had the el nino periods of rain, it happened during those periods. i know we had heavy rainfall this year, but for whatever reason, it did not happen this year. >> when you bought the property, did you have inspected? >> yes. >> so you paid for that out of your own pocket, and they did not find anything? >> yes. the home is as it was when we purchased it 18 years ago. the three units were there will be purchased 18 years ago. as a matter of fact, the tenant in the unit that was now flooding had lived there for 35 years. so we did no reconfiguration. we could not afford to. >> when you had the sewer either
modify or replace, was it because you were starting to have problems, or did you start having problems after the contractor fixed it? >> no, we had started having problems. we started having some small flooding in the unit. we called our insurance company, and i think they came out in the camera work. we called, i think, a local plumber, and they came out and did some things. nothing worked. everything we tried did not work. they came out and put some traps in the street. we did not have traps in the street. i did not know why, but they were not there. they said we needed traps, so they put in traps, and that did not work. then, we called a number of other plumbers. there have just been a lot of work to try to figure out the bottom of this. it just never was resolved. commissioner lee: ok. i have a final question before we go to public comment here the problem of flooding seems to
still exist, and we still have that notice of violation of that backflow preventer in the wrong place. what is your intention now to solve all that? >> we do plan to do what the city code states. it is just we are exhausted financially and emotionally at this point. we do not have the funds at this time to go ahead and do this, and, quite frankly, i think if we had the funds at the ready, we would be nervous to do it for fear that someone else is going to do something wrong. it seems that throwing money at this problem has gotten us nowhere but here today, and we have thrown a lot of money at this problem and a lot of time and a lot of inconvenience for ourselves and our tenant. our tent here has been displaced from her home maybe six or seven times. i am amazed today that she sits beside me willing to support me. i think most tenants in this city would be ready to sue me.
commissioner lee: 20 to think you can get the notice of violation lifted? >> i would hope that i could do it as soon as arbitration is complete. i would hope that arbitration would see things in our favor. i do not know that that will happen, but i do know that this is an outstanding thing, and we need to get it fixed. i know we cannot afford to get it fixed now. i would like to have had it done when we got the violations cited. i do not know. commissioner lee: i understand. thank you. why don't we go to public comment? if your tenant would like to come up and say something. >> i'm hannah murray, and i did not get sworn in earlier.
>> please raise your right hand. do you swear that the testimony you are about to give is the truth to the best of your knowledge? >> i do. i just want to back up what billy was saying about their ambition to resolve the issue. it has been a constant and ongoing. i know that this particular instance is for this back flow valve and the placement of it, but i do not know if there could be potentially a larger issue with the sewer in the main road. it seems to me that the floods happen after a time of very little rain, so there is a lot of debris and leaves in the debtors and everything in the roads. we happen to be placed on a hill, and they make a corner in
front of our house, and that is the corner where mr. ewing was stating the puc employees, when one of the price makes a turn, it is actually smaller than stated on a city map. so i just wanted to -- i do not know if that has anything to do with what we're talking about today. i just want to point it out, that it seems that is the crux of the problem. commissioner lee: any other public comment? no, okay, department, rebuttal? >> answer a field the questions that were brought up -- one was there was not a permit obtained, so that is one of the problems we had. second is if a permit was obtained, we would have resolved the issue at that point. the third thing is that the contractor that was hired was a licensed contractor. he is allowed to do that work.
that is what he was hired for. he is allowed to do that so were replacement and do that work. one of the other reasons why -- commissioner lee, you asked about flooding, if it is still an issue. they did have flooding that it happened, but one of the inspectors found that it was lifted open. if it would have been closed, normally, if it was raining, there would be flooding, but there was not any flooding, and one of the reasons why is because somebody put a bypass in. when it closes, if any rate goes up, it goes out in the other type. we would never have allowed that. that is one of the other reasons why it has resolved that issue, that was not happening. like i said, if the bathwater belts -- back water valves were put in the correct location, we would not have any issues as long as they were maintained. pressure inlets on the street have a relief point.
like i said, i have another design that might be able to help as relief point out at that house trapped, so if there is a major flood, it would relieve the water and allow it to escape out onto the street instead of into the building. i am more than willing to help with the older to resolve this. the plumber has been in contact with me, wants to resolve it. mr. wilson, i believe, is the contractor that has been in contact with me as well, and he has also offered to fix this problem with the owner, but we have had no inspections on the previous permit. commissioner murphy: so it is not a relatively big job to fix this, is it? >> i have not been out to the site, but i know they are willing to make the corrections to resolve this issue. commissioner murphy: does it entail tearing up living spaces or anything like that? >> again, i have not been out there, so i could not tell you
100%. >> on the chronology of time, as mr. ewing would describe this train wreck, the dates here that back in 2006, you were part or involved or somehow have been to this property. could you describe what you might have done that in 2006? >> i have no idea how my name was involved on it. i cannot remember being out there at all. i would have to go to the side and look and see. i might remember once in there, but i cannot remember being there at all. am i just want to clarify whether this date is correct and if you were back there, in 2006, and what you may have done. >> i do not remember being back there. >> it is the third page of the letter that mr. ewing had submitted.
the accuracy of that is -- i'm just curious. >> i do not have any recollection of it, and i do not see anything on any permits that have my name on it. >> yes, i also was looking back on the permit history. the listing of you in there might be inaccurate. mr. ewing, could i ask how his name not listed on this? we are always very supportive of staff, and we want to make sure that they are not in any way mis-listed. >> in 2006, mr. devontes did come to our home after a flooding episode. this time there was very brief. the flood had already occurred, and basically, i believe -- it
was a long time ago, and the reason his name is there is because i started logging everything and keeping business cards. he gave us his card, but i believe his time at our whole was probably less than two minutes. he came into the basement, took a quick look around, give us his card, and then left. i'm sorry, he gave us the citation. >> you have him as being there in 2006. >> yes, that is correct. >> this man, this gentleman? >> i do not remember his face. i just remember i had the card, and he came in, and we explained he had this flooding, and he took a quick look around. we were not doing any work at the time. we had just had an episode of flooding and wanted to know if there was anything that the city knew about this issue. because we had lived in this home -- we purchased the home and i believe 1993, and we only
started having issues with flooding -- what is it? 2005? i'm getting my dates mixed up now. i think december 2005. we had lived in the home for many years without issues of flooding, and suddenly, now, we are having this problem, so we called the city. >> i think i might have been the supervisor at that time, and he might have put me down as part of the reference, and that is how i might have been involved. commissioner walker: i think that this is really unfortunate, and i think we feel your pain. unfortunately, the building code is the building code, and that is really what we are here to apply. i think that -- commissioner lee: we are still in the rebuttal. commissioner walker: actually, my concern is one of when we
have a flooding situation at a place and they come in to do a permitted replacement or job, it is unfortunate, i guess, that we do not check to make sure that there is a back flow valve issue. >> we will do the inspection. we will check to make sure there is one if it is required and we are inside a building. they are just doing a hausfrau for a section of sewage, we do not know that there is a lower unit. we would not see that there is lower units. there is no work being done. we're just looking at that section. if we were inside that building and we went inside and they did a major replacement, at that time, we would say that we need to put back water protection here and at this location as well. we would not approve the job. we would approve what is in the street but not what is in the unit. >> but -- commissioner walker:
the back flow valve issue that was wrapped up and cut open -- >> we never saw it. commissioner walker: that actually was a problem even before they did they -- >> that was installed after the installation of the sewer. the store was done and there was information pursued after the installation. then, somebody went out and installed these backflow preventer is. we never saw that. there is no permits for the installation. we never approve them and were never able to correct the incorrect location. commissioner walker: one more question. is 30 days to obtain a plumbing permits for the back water valve and doing the final inspection reasonable? >> it is reasonable, yes. it is a job of breaking up the concrete or removing the old bathwater bell, camping of the bypass, going to the location of
where the laundry is, the opening of that line and installing another bath water valve, or whatever else is below the location that is getting flooded. it is definitely doable in 30 days. commissioner lee: ok, thank you. mr. ewing, do you have anything else to say? you have three minutes or bottle. >> i think my only comment at this point is i just heard the gentleman say 30 days. it has been quite a few years, and we have not gotten a finality of this problem. i think it is honest contractors, conscientious workers, people back do as they say -- i mean, we were told that our work would be permitted, and i think what the gentleman just said here before, and just like i was saying, that the work inside the home, the installation of the store was
not permitted. and not know. i am just left with a lot of doubt and a lot of fear, actually, around this. >> what was your original question? for this is their rebuttal. >> i have a question. what do you see as being reasonable, and if you could be sustained, because i understand all this other problems, that there have been other people here, but what we're trying to do is figure out how to work with you. you are saying that 30 days is something that is going to be hard. the bottom line is you have to do it. we know that here. if we were to give you 60 days to fix this, would that be helpful? >> i think 60 days would be helpful, but i do not think i would get it done. i'm looking at arbitration with mr. wilson -- >> this is not going to happen before the arbitration. i can guarantee you that.
>> i might add it does not affect what you have to get it done or not. you can proceed on with that, and will not affect your litigation. them is just not going to happen. that can take up to your two. >> i do not know. i would just ask the board to be as lenient as possible, knowing that my partner and i have tried our best to get the situation corrected. i would just ask for leniency as far as the timeline is concerned, to investigate, acquire permits, to hire conscientious, hard-working, honest contractors to do the work that needs to be done. i do not know how long that is going to take. honestly, i wish i could give you a 30, 60, 90-day answer. i do not know, but i do know that we have work to be done, and so far, all the work that we have done has been for naught. commissioner murphy: i think the
commissioners are really trying to work with you here. 30 days, 60 days. commissioner lee: anybody else want to weigh in? >> i would move 60 days, give him time to interview some folks come and get it done. >> and get references. you have to get references. >> and now you know they need permits. that is the permit in place? >> there was a permit obtained. let me find a deep fear. in may. may 21, 2010. he was going to the corrections
on the back water valve, from what i was told. but like i said, no inspections have happened. i do not know if you are still using him or not. them of the permit that the gentleman is just speaking about was actually a permit to take the place of a permit that was presented to us for 149 buena vista avenue. the gross for a different owner, a different address. subsequently, i believe that this permit was somehow -- the corrected permits for the one that should have taken place in 2006, not a permit to the corrective work, but to somehow
stand instead of the permit that was presented. >> so there was a modification of a wrong address to accommodate your address. for work to be done? >> for work that had been done. commissioner murphy: all i can say is that the commissioners have heard everything. but somebody needs to carry the ball. you are the owner, and i suggest you carry it. >> i think that if there is an issue about this other permit that is out there, i would suggest that the notice of violation needs a new permit to resolve the issue, and that i actually move that we of hold the department's suggestion and
-- except that we amend it to 60 days. commissioner murphy: second. >> just to clarify, you are upholding the order of abatement -- >> giving them time to comply, and if he complies with in 60 days, then the order will not issue. >> that is correct. >> of holding the assessment. >> yes. commissioner lee: ok, that is the motion on the floor. let's call a vote. >> ok. commissioner lee: yes. commissioner walker: yes. commissioner clinch: yes. commissioner hechanova: commissioner mar: yesmar yes. commissioner romero: yes. commissioner murphy: yes. >> okay, the motion carried unanimously. our next item is item e, general
public comment for the abatement appeals hearing. commissioner lee: seeing none. >> seeing none, we can move on to item f, which is adjournment. all those in favor? commissioner lee: ok. we are adjourned. >> we will be adjourned for approximately 15 minutes while we set up for the building inspection commission meeting.