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Thread: Municipality Laws

  1. #1
    New Member Peter M's Avatar
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    Municipality Laws

    Hi all

    I must apologize for this lengthy post, but felt it needed to get the just of things

    I have a problem regarding the municipality; my property of 4500 m2 has a river running next to it, 75 meters of lovely river frontage, the main reason for buying the house. According to the municipality there is a 50-year flood line that ends on my main road. In other words to put it in order, the river then my house and then the main road. If this was so then my house along with a few of my neighbors have been illegally built. On question with this regard they mentioned that in that point in time, an indemnity was agreed on by the builder/owner that they would not hold the municipality responsible for any damages that might arise from the river in flood. Since then there have been two owners before me and on my acquisition, nothing was ever mentioned to this effect. For no doubt it would have influenced my decision of purchase.

    Now having said that I started to do a lot of landscaping trying to create a better layout to what I already have and also creating a bit of barrier between my house and the river. Non-the wiser of what had transpired previously. Now according to the municipality I am not allowed to do this because of the 50-year flood line. I am not allowed to influence the flow of water with in this mark, which I can understand the reasons behind this. On occasions the river has spilled onto my property and damaged a few of my flowerbeds etc… as I understand it I have no recourse and I feel a
    bit dead in the water on this one.

    Some background info

    Last year the river did come down with force and started to erode my neighbor’s property to the extent of his wall collapsing into the river, with out this wall, the river, when it could not make the curve that it would normally follow, would rise and then start to spill on his property if his wall was still standing he was protected, but without it, would eventually flood sections of his house.

    Now this is where the trouble started, for once the water was on his property it would start to dam up and the weight of the water would then push his/our wall between our houses down thus giving the river carte-blanche on my property. Soooo now my garage got hit and substantial damage to items in storage. Cleary appropriate action was required. Between my house and the river I allowed controlled dumping of building rubble to create a bit of height followed by a TLB to level, then with topsoil with a TLB again, ok things are still dusty but once spring has arrived my planted grass would spread and things would normalize. Now having done this my/our new wall would stand no chance of been pushed over again. A few months later the wall proved it’s self but with consequences to my neighbor.

    He in return spoke to the municipality, who came, inspected the area, I’m sure calculated how the river would cope with this, a construction team arrived and built a huge retaining wall of 30 meters in length, 6 meters high and 2.5 meters thick, of stone in cages to stop further erosion and damage to his property/house, which in my opinion was the best thing to have happened, not only does this monstrosity protect his property but shields mine in the process, so now I am finishing up what I started, leveling the dimples and planting grass etc….

    Following that and needless to say the river struck with vengeance and my neighbor sighed with relief not to mention myself. However the flow was now constricted in this area and the flow rate intensified as you can imagine and for the first time started to lap over to another neighbor property further down and opposite from me. He is not impressed. He is now holding me responsible and has instigated this inquiry with the municipality.

    His argument, if the municipality consents to my alterations/landscaping, then he will hold them responsible for damages that might arise from this, (which really got the municipality up in arms). I have had 5 inspections, all reporting things to be in order, but one high official/5 Star General, however convinced by my neighbor (whom has not come to inspect) that I have obstructed the river and is the main cause of this problem.
    Through our telephonic conversation, which was difficult, for I could only manage to get a few “but’s” in between each breath she took, to continue this onslaught of how wrong I was, I felt I was getting nowhere with this and allow her to vent until it became evident she was waiting for a response. In which I replied “Please come round and have a look for yourself” and a few possible times were arranged depending on her schedule. So I wait until then.

    Now this situation, I have no idea on how to address or what to expect and will most likely deal with each step at a time, but some ideas will be most welcome. I do not want a war but would like to settle things amicably, however, love thy neighbor has gone out the window

    Regards
    Peter

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Marq's Avatar
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    Sounds like your neighbours beef accross the river is with your neighbour who organised the big wall. I am not sure why you are being blamed for his problem.
    If the guy down the river is having river problems he has also probably built below the 50 year flood level.
    I think there is no recourse for any of you because you all sit on illegally developed land. The municipalty would argue that they are just trying to help out and stop soil erosion - the fact that there were dwellings in the way further down the river that should not be there is not their problem.
    I wonder if its similar to normal water run off rules where the guy with the lower contour has the problem no matter what the guy on the higher ground has done.
    I dont think you would ever be able to sell that property in a hurry so you will have to make the best of the situation. Maybe the long term solution is to buy a boat - offer neighbours a ride if the water gets too high - fire the canons when you drift by if they dont want to talk to you.

  3. #3
    Administrator I Robot's Avatar
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    Hi Peter and welcome.

    A touching first post.

    I think Marq makes some good points.

    I wish I had a really good answer that would solve the problem. With a little luck, someone will cruise through with the right knowledge and pause long enough to give some substantial advice.

    For once I'm rooting for the wheels of government to grind slow enough for the right solution to be found.

    In the meantime I can only commend the way you've gone about it so far. May your meeting with the ***** General go well. She'd have to be a real hardcase to fault a person for defending their home.
    Last edited by I Robot; 31-May-06 at 09:27 PM.

  4. #4
    New Member Peter M's Avatar
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    Hi Marq and Administrator

    It does sound like a laughable issue and so it should be, but my neighbor down river looks at it differently, very unapproachable on this issue. This problem could quite easily be resolved; if he would build a little 300cm high wall to prevent any possible damage according to him but an expense I’m sure he could do without. I’m prepared to come to the party and contribute if I have to!!

    Thank you for the welcome

  5. #5
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Peter - I'd love to have you as a neighbour. I've got a gate that's giving me grief and somehow I think it's your fault. Care to come to the party?

    I reckon you got this one under control. If the five star General pays a visit, don't forget to offer her tea.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  6. #6
    Bronze Member Alan's Avatar
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    Hi Peter this is a difficult one but as the municipality has already approved what you have done i inturn would hold them liable for all costs of construction and demolition. People are using the municipalities as weapons at the moment, this is often seen at the coast when someone has a sea view and the neighbour builds a double storey house that now obstructs the view. The question arises, when you buy a property do you buy the right to the view. The way this is is fought is using the municipality as a weapon and often the man that threatens the most wins. Peter i would not like you to end up in this situation, as often it results in expensive law suits with everone loosing hard earned money, but do not be affraid of the general. All that has happened is your neighbor has beat the war drums louder than you have, be prepared to do some beating back.
    If "Love thy neighbor" is out the window love his wife instead, that will definatly take his mind off the bloody wall.
    Remember the Ark was built by Amateurs and the Titanic was built by professionals.
    Business isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.

    Marine Aquariums SA

  7. #7
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan
    If "Love thy neighbor" is out the window love his wife instead, that will definatly take his mind off the bloody wall.
    Note to self: Try not to p*ss off Alan.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  8. #8
    Silver Member Candy Bouwer's Avatar
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    Note to self: Try not to p*ss off Alan.
    Damm right Dave!
    Peter my Hubby used to be with the Inspectorate (Eng/ Building) He Now consults privately fokusing on Plumbing/Drainage issues. Drop me a line should you want to have a chat with him and I'll give you his cell. No harm done and he miight just know of something or someone you can call.
    "NETWORKING" is a "CONTACT" sport!"
    Alcocks Electrical Entomological Hygiene

  9. #9
    Bronze Member Alan's Avatar
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    "Peter my Hubby" oh really. LOL
    Remember the Ark was built by Amateurs and the Titanic was built by professionals.
    Business isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.

    Marine Aquariums SA

  10. #10
    New Member Peter M's Avatar
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    What’s a comma between friends, hey Candy. Thank you for the offer, should this matter esculate, I will definitely send a PM.

    To p*ss Alan off well….. this side of Alan I have not seen but would imagine a wolf in sheep clothing, diplomatically speaking of course. Still need to encourage him not to throw in the towel with regards to some other issues.

    Dave, to have me as a neighbor….I am a cut of the old cloth, but issues like this, I’m to old for…(Danny Glover)

    Well the anticipation was disappointing, Battle Axe Molly did a no show and I felt a little bit deprived, been prepared and all! So will see what this week brings.

    Regards
    Peter

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