Thursday, November 13, 2008

What's that smell???

The City of Olathe has a responsibility to protect the integrity of their public wastewater and sewage system not only for the current residents experiencing a problem but everyone who lives in Olathe. The most current article can be found here.

The result of a poor outcome is a serious degradation of trust that the city can provide the services they are entrusted to provide and further that they have to competence to be trusted when considering many people's largest investment. I would think that people would want to feel comfortable when buying a home in Olathe that the planning was appropriate to insure things like this wouldn't happen and that they wouldn't rely on a design that requires water to move uphill. Right now that is in question.

I'm thinking if I'm buying a new home in Olathe where do I begin asking questions? Why would someone even think to ask a question like, "Was my city government smart enough to design and approve a reliable wastewater system that will prevent my basement from flooding if the power goes out?" You can't expect people to go that deep because we presumably have standards and policies regarding development. The issue is confidence and credibility and Olathe is losing it quickly and worse they are thinking of the short term cost of fixing their original mistake rather than the long term damage to the city's reputation by people considering living there. Mike Copeland's comments about it only happening twice in more than a decade are not only wrong but unacceptable. That boy has put on some weight since he first became out that triple chin!

I hate to be a simpleton. The city should immediately do the right thing and commit to fix the problem by getting the waste to move by gravity and not requiring a pump OR offer to buy these houses from the current owners. They need to stop covering their asses and look to direct blame somewhere else. I'm also not an expert but if I was the owner I'd install a back flow preventer to move it from my home to somebody else's. What the city does with the homes would be up to them but selling them to somebody who knows and understands the risk at a discounted price would help them recoup some of the money. The homes would certainly have some value even without a usable basement. If I was the city I'd figure out which option is cheaper and run with it. There......look at all the lawyers and consultants I just screwed out of tons and tons of money.

With this problem getting lots of local media attention the City is losing integrity by the minute and if they don't come clean..he he and dry up....he he he..... this problem they'll have more to lose than a few residents. Come on Copeland......clean it up. This isn't Wyandotte County afterall. We have standards here in JoCo....even Olathe.


SFRBV said...

Maybe Mr. Copeland has a thyroid problem?

Old Fart said...

The really large guy in the KCTV5 story (Paul) and his wife are friends of my family. My wife has known them for many years. Great people. They've tried to sell their house, but no one wants to buy in that area. The price doesn't matter. I don't care if the house is $50, would you buy something that COULD eventually be deemed uninhabitable because of fecal/chemical/waste contamination? I wouldn't. As far as installing backflow preventer on the waste water line... the city would have to approve it. The city has a policy requiring backflow preventers on drinking water lines for homes using buried sprinkler systems, but not for waste water lines. The city needs to own up to this, compensate these folks for the financial damages (the city currently will only reimburse for up to $500 per incident) and permanently fix the problem.

JOCOeveryman said...

Thanks for commenting Old Fart. I'd buy for $50 and take a chance.....I'd figure it out and rent it. Everything has a market price. Who cares what the city would want to approve at that point regarding the back flow preventer....what are they gonna do to you?

We definitely agree the City needs to own the problem and fix it. It is sad and ridiculous.

I Travel for JOOLS said...

"Last month during a complaint investigation by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, city officials told the KDHE that the lift station in question was originally " built ...and put in a location that the city would not approve if it were proposed today. "

Proposed by whom? The developer? The city themselves? Somebody is responsible for this and it isn't the homeowners. In my book if the city approved it, and especially if they built it, there is no choice but for them to fix/replace do whatever it takes to remedy the situation. The homeowners have to disclose any problems such as they have if they try to sell their homes and once they do, they may as well give their homes away.

I was on a Planning Commission (not Olathe) for a short time. The whole damn thing is run on an old boy network basis. Least satisfying experience I ever had and I quit after a year.

JOCOeveryman said...

Travels with your experience on a Planning Commission you would know and it clearly is the city's problem whether they proposed it there or the approved letting the developer propose to put it there. It is their job to make citizens comfortable that development is reasonable and done appropriately.....most importantly safely.

They have a market value. Everyone says you can't give them away but I'd take them all for free. The city needs to buy them out if they can't resolve the issue.

Yes, I'm very familiar with real estate disclosures but again the homes have a value albeit much lower than what they owe. Fix or buy them out. Isn't it really that simple?