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County is going to dig up my front yard...

Posted by buford 7 NE GA (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 5, 13 at 12:32

A few weeks ago, we had a bad storm and flooding in the neighborhood. I didn't have any bad damage, just missing mulch and my fence was pushed in. However, my neighbor across the street had 5 feet of water in his basement. This has happened before and was supposedly addressed. This week the county has been all over the neighborhood and in my yard surveying, putting up flags and spray painting for utilities. I knew something was up when my hsuband told me they were in our backyard yesterday.

It turns out that the drainage zig zags from my neighbor across the street to his next door neighbor, then across to my yard then turning twice before it goes through my backyard to a drain that goes to the retention pond. What would make sense to me is to have it go straight across the street into my yard through my backyard to the same drain. That part of my property is county easement and I haven't planted anything there except grass.

But what the county, in all it's wisdom, wants to do is widen the zig zag path with the 4 left turns. Which involves digging up my front yard and driveway and countless roses and maybe some trees.

I'm being calm, and I recognize the need for this project. If they have to dig up my yard, fine. I guess what I need to know is how can I protect my roses in the event that they need to be dug up and replanted. I have some small roses, but also some large teas that may be in the path. Can I cut them down and either pot them up or burlap them and keep them in a shady spot until I can replant? Do you think that would work with large established roses?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

I would pot them and put them some place where they won't be in the way and wait till they're done doing their thing and then replant them. I would be sick if I had to lose most of my hard work to any project.


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

Have you asked them why they don't just make it a straight run? Call the engineering dept. if you haven't and ask them. I'd also ask them how much of the bill they're going to foot if you have to dig up long established roses. If they were in the easement, I think it would be a different story.


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

  • Posted by hoovb z9 Southern CA (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 5, 13 at 15:40

I would also find someone at the county and get them to go straight through your grassy area. If you convince them it is less work they may go for it. Doesn't hurt to call your mayor or council person as well.


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

it's not decided yet, but this is local government, who knows what they will do. I think it makes much more sense to go straight, and not just because it will save my yard. Once we hear back from them, I will certainly try to push that idea.

The guy who my husband talked to this morning made note of the roses and said 'these ain't the kind you get in Home Depot'. At least he recognized that fact.

If they wanted to dig through my junipers, I would pay them to do that :)


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

This makes me so angry I could scream. I understand how the system works and that "maybe" something should be done to alleviate the problem, but just coming in and digging up your yard is ridiculous. Have they had an outside engineer come by and assess the situation????? No, I doubt it. The fastest way and how much "ch ching" they can make over situation. I'd jump up and down and have one of our Southern hiissy fits until I got it done without risking my roses. If you don't stand up for what's yours, they'll take it away from you!!! Don't move your roses until the last word is said and then enlist the people who are doing the actual work to assist you. That is just the opinion of someone who has been in a similar situation.


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

Buford, tell them that just in case. It it came right down to having to move the roses, say I'll move them if you'll dig up the junipers. Negotiate, negotiate.

My sister recently had a go-round with the power company. She has ten acres with beautiful mature specimen trees that the power company had to trim over the utility lines. She walked through it with them the day before. When she got home from work, they had clear cut this humongous swath all the way to her front porch. They ended up having to pay her $35,000 for all those trees.


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

Yes, yes defiantly start making phone calls. You don't have to be belligerent, but you do need them to understand that you expect them to pay to move, hold, replant, and then replace anything that doesn't make it.

Double check with an attorney what type of rights and compensation should come to you and make sure the local government knows you know and knows you will expect it even if it is outrageously expensive. I would never let a government entity come on to my private property to do any work without some advise from an attorney for a whole host of reasons!!

Take lots of pictures and catalogue what you have for your records. You should reiterate that no, these aren't Home Depot roses and replacing them to size is not only difficult but very, very expensive. Call a landscaper and get a bid to move, hold and replant--don't let them assume you'll do the work yourself (even if you will!) or that this is work that can be done by a random roadside crew. Emphasize the expense.

Give them a reason to find a better solution!!


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

First of all, calculate at today's prices how much it would cost to replace all those roses and let "them" know the replacement costs--and add that that would not even begin to replace the "maturity" of the roses.

Then call every city or county official (whoever is responsible) you can think of and express not anger or outrage but your DISTRESS and DISBELIEF that the government would invade your privacy and destroy a rose garden that has taken 10 (or 20) years to create.

I did that when one of the utilities (I forget which one now) decided they were going bury the cables going from the back of the house to the utility pole in the alley--by the straightest route possible in order to save money. Which, of course, meant they would have to dig through half the roses in my backyard. I howled and carried on with so many people in official positions that by the time the utility got to my backyard and I howled and carried on with them also, the guy quietly started measuring off a curving line about 6 ft away from my western bed that covered the entire western side of my back yard. At the alley, he had to take a hard right to reach the utility pole.

I don't know which of my howlings did the job--perhaps it worked best with the utility worker himself, but I certainly threw around a lot of dollars figures and claims of how irreplaceable an older established rose bush was. I think it was the dollar figures that worked best.

Good luck. Let us know what happens.

Kate


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

Isn't it amazing what we can do when we all put it on the table!!! LOL Sounds like some of us can really throw a hissy fit!!!!! I don't blame anybody for getting upset and doing what they have to do in these situations, but isn't it a shame that women have to do this in this day and time.

Now,,,,when are we all going to burn our bras and sing Helen Reddy's hit from that era.

Keep us posted and don't let them bully you. You've invested a lot of time and money in your hobby and I think we can all understand your situation.


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

I hope this doesn't happen and it sounds like an avoidance plan may be possible. If it is inevitable I hope you can at least hold them off until the weather cools. I have a friend who had to transplant 100 roses this spring due to a mandated sewer line project and he was able to save 97 of them, some quite well established. I'm sure there are people on this forum who can be very helpful in advising you on the best methods for saving them. Mary


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

I would do like everyone else suggested and call everyone you can think to call. I would hate to invest all that time and money into my garden only to have some barbarian come wandering in and wrecking it. I'd also tell them they can hire someone to dig those roses up and not a county worker or inmate but an actual professional who knows what they are doing while you supervise the entire procedure. I'd be damned if I was digging them all up.


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

Thanks guys. I am going to do what a lot of you suggest. I'm also going to talk to my rose group for some input. Maybe some of them can 'foster' some of my roses for me if it comes to that.

I'll keep you all posted.


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

I would like to add my voice to the chorus urging you to place a dollar value on each and every rose. A pain, I know, to look up each one on HMF and then look up the nurseries which offer the roses, plus shipping costs, etc. but Money Talks to people who tend to zone out at the sound of words like "heirloom" and "irreplaceable heritage". I would also suggest, make it clear, politely, but clear, that No Salvage, not one shovel of top soil nor a stick to beat the dog with, will be permitted from your yard. Work crew members might revolt if they can't have their usual perks.


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

Nastarana, what does that mean? The workers take stuff from yards they dig up?


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

Buford, as a last resort I truly believe that the roses can make it fine. The larger ones will need a good sized root ball protected. During the time they are out of the ground if it comes to that just mist the root ball. A local nursery was invited to go to a nice house up in Seattle to dig out her roses. She was moving FAR away and could not take them with her. They were dug out in late June which is right around the time it stops raining here for about six weeks. Nearly ALL of the roses made it and some of them were the size of a nice tree.


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

Buford, yes, that has been known to happen.


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

I just got done with a similar situation here. The city had to come in to replace a bridge on the street that runs past my house and do some drainage creek improvements to reduce erosion. Unfortunately, some of the area needed to do the work and run the heavy equipment went through one of my rose beds. I was paid reasonably well for the easement and the affected plants. The work was supposed to have been done by the end of last summer. It wasn't started until November. What I did was dig up all of the plants in the affected bed and relocate some of them to some new beds. The ones not replanted in the ground all went into 5-gallon buckets. All but one survived the ordeal, but that was my fault for not getting the bucket drainage correct. When the work didn't start when originally promised, I had to replant them in a temporary holding bed for the winter. Then the work started. The work crew was quite careful and helpful to me in getting the plants put into the temporary bed. By putting all the plants into the 5-gallon pails for the summer, the new roots were all in a tight ball that made transplanting everything this past spring a lot easier. I would suggest that if you have to dig up a lot of plants, use the inexpensive 5-gallon buckets you can get at Home Depot or Wal-Mart. They will work well for the plants for temporary quarters and will help confine the roots to make transplanting a lot easier when the product is finished. Yes, the whole project was a royal pain, and I am glad it is over, and if you get money, you have to pay income tax on that also. That is another pain. Good luck. You will need it.


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

I feel your pain, but I think there are some very good suggestions here that may help you keep your garden mostly intact.

Just a quick tip: If you go the 5 gallon bucket route, you may be able to get them for free from a couple local restaurants or grocery co-ops. My partner is a chef and brought many home for me that were going to end up in the trash. They get deliveries of pickles, etc. in them. Some they keep for storage, but many just get recycled and they may not mind saving them for you.

I've been using them in my garden to dump sifted rocks, bricks, concrete and such in from the topsoil for a couple years now

I just this year drilled holes in a few to plant some tomato plants. It is an experiment, but we have little sun and these buckets were the only way to plant them and place them in the sun w/o establishing a bed in the front yard, where I prefer not to dig.


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

Besides your roses, you need to protect yourself. Ask about what time workers and work vehicles will arrive and what time work will start and end each day and if there will be any 24-hour work days with shift changes (as we had) or work weekends. Ask about dust abatement, noise, air pollution, vibrations, amount of equipment traffic, and how long the project will take. If you don't show concern, they assume you don't care. When you meet with people, make notes. You also need to talk with them about how they are going to put your property back to the way it was--replant roses, new driveway, etc. because they will do the least amount possible.

Good luck with the roses. See if the county will send over a couple of workers to help with the potting.


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

Nastarana and Buford

When the county finished up the last few blocks of the street I live on (it was designed to be part of the main road but the property or easement and permission to complete was not granted for 30+ years) The contractor they hired had guys that would sit in the bucket of their back hoe or loader and lift the worked up and over the back yards of neighbors to steal the fruit off their trees. They would FILL the loader bucket. And they were NOT happy when I called the office number on the side of the loader and offered photos of their fine crew stealing from all the neighbors.

I heard from another guy up the road that the power utility workers did the same thing on his avocado orchard. But he caught them and demanded full restitution of the market value of his crop (with the sheriff there).


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

Buford, I understand you are a really nice person, unlike moi, but sometimes giving the impression that you are prepared to be a truly annoying, pain in the toes hardcase is in itself enough to get intrusive authority to back off. The authority office fauna might not care, but they have to work through guys who do do the work, who won't want to deal with demanding property owners. As you said, there are better options than going through your yard. I respectfully suggest that what you might want to do is make the other options look better than what is presently proposed.


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

I totally agree with Nastarana.
If it were me I would be yelling and telephoning, plus getting attorney friends to call talking about large compensations, plus talking to the local paper. I'm thinking they would suddenly and mysteriously change their plans, lol; and I'm thinking if you did the same mysterious changes would be made in your favor as well.


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

Hi, I decided to revive this thread because I just received a letter from the county requesting me to sign an agreement giving them easement over most of my front and side yard for $1, LOL. I have no idea what they are actually going to dig up. Of course, they took 6 months to send this and they want an answer in 5 days. Well, that isn't going to happen.

The county 'property manager' did hand write 'call me' with his number on the letter, so I will do that on Monday. I am going to request that he come out and show me exactly what they are going to do. I already have a lawyer lined up. I also have to get my other two neighbors involved. They are going through their yards too, so if we act together, we might have more pull.

I will keep up this thread with developments. It may help someone else in this situation down the road.


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

Are they paying you for what they are doing above the $1 easement fee? The government has easement access to a portion of your land as is their right to which you agreed on buying the house, but without due process and compensation, I never heard of anything where they are unrooting and upending large swaths of land in this fashion without your prior permission or without a hearing, but in the past few years I am not surprised at anything.


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this will all work out in your favor. It seems that you're doing everything you can to make that happen. Good luck!

Ingrid


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

Glad you got a lawyer. No, don't give them an easement.
They have enough of our property already....
Yes, do keep us posted? Maybe they will provide you with the land for the Buford Municipal Rose Garden.
*wink *
Susan


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

Glad you got a lawyer. No, don't give them an easement.
They have enough of our property already....
Yes, do keep us posted? Maybe they will provide you with the land for the Buford Municipal Rose Garden.
*wink *
Susan


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

Update, I spoke to both the county representative and the lawyer today. The county representative was very nice, except for the fact that he spoke to me as if I was an idiot (in his very polite southern way). I politely, but firmly, told him that I didn't have a good feeling about the project, especially when he told me I wouldn't be able to plant anything on the easement. Um, WTH???

Anyway, he said he'd get back to me. He did, and said that they while they are going to dig up the front of my yard where the pipe connects to the storm drain, they are going to extend that pipe to the grassy part of my side yard and then go back, bypassing some of my more extensive hard and land scaping. I asked to see the new plan, and he said he would send it.

I also sent the plans to the lawyer and he is looking into it. He reiterated what you all have said here about calculating property value from the easement and compensation for the loss of landscaping (good news, they will likely dig up the junipers in the front, which we want to get rid of anyway!). I already compiled a list of the plants that may be disturbed by this work, here is a rundown:

a dozen mature trees,

2 dozen junipers (only some I don't want)

45 roses, mostly Teas and Austins

about 3 dozen more shrubs, azaleas, hydrangeas, spireas, abelias, butterfly bushes, lantanas, hollies

about 120 irises and foxglove.

If you look at this picture my yard is the one with the big L going through it . You can see the existing pipe and I drew a line where I think the new pipe is going to be. We will see what happens next.


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

Get EVERYTHING in writing! Don't agree to anything verbally. I know this and still had problems, because the person I was dealing with would not put anything in writing. Neither would his boss...or his boss's boss.

Don't let them start anything and don't SIGN anything, until you have an actual figure ($2,000 or some such) for replacement value...not an estimated value...and something saying exactly where they can and CANNOT dig.

Good luck and don't believe anyone! Get everything in writing and notarized if necessary :)


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

LL is right on target. Sad to say, but the Gubmint (as we say down here in the South) is the worst opponent because they are not really limited in scope of what they can and can't do. City Hall and fighting and all that stuff.
Trust your lawyer, get it in writing and force them to follow procedures.
A dozen mature trees? Seriously? That's absurd. There has to be another (albeit more costly for the Gubmint) way.
Gosh, I hope my phones don't get tapped for this!
*smirk*
Polite but Firm. That's the way to go.
Susan


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

I'm sorry that you have to worry about this. Sheesh, why can't they just stay in the grassy part? I'm glad it didn't have to be in the middle of summer.


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RE: County is going to dig up my front yard...

I did send a comprehensive list to the county of my questions an concerns (I got a lot of good info on the internet regarding pipeline easements). We decided not to ask for compensation for the easement itself. The easements are calculated by length, regardless of width, so since there was an easement on the property when we bought it, we would have a tough time proving loss of value.

However, I did request that the project manager come out to the yard and stake out where the digging will take place so that I could plan to move anything I want to keep. They will be digging up my junipers (YEAH!!!!) and I will probably lose some trees and have to removed some roses (hopefully to be replanted in a few days). I put in my list a 'special consideration compensation' for mature trees that will be lost due to this construction. Hopefully that's not a problem.

Although the easement is 30 feet wide, the digging will most likely be much more narrow, but they have to allow for equipment so that's why it's so big. Hopefully their activities will be limited (I plan on being there when they do the work).

I'm making lemonade here. I get rid of the junipers, get to maybe re-arrange my roses to a better spot, and maybe buy some new ones! Plus we should have less flooding in our yard going forward.


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