Purchased by a trust tied to a mid-sized developer for $2.555 million this past July, a permit for some relatively minor foundation work, along with the addition of a new structural beam and piers, to the single-family home at 146 23rd Avenue was issued a few weeks ago.

An anonymous complaint was subsequently filed, likely by a meddling neighbor, accusing the contractor working on the home of having exceeded the scope of the approved permit and plans and working “in a dangerous manner.”

In response the aforementioned complaint, a District Inspector met with the contractor and project architect on site to review the permit, plans and work to date. And based upon the on-site meeting, it “seemed” as though the approved plans were being followed.

Upon further inspection, however, it was determined that the scope of work had, in fact, been misrepresented on the approved plans, with an unapproved excavation, to increase head room for the ground floor of the home and expand the living area, having undermined the foundation of a neighboring property. The impacted neighbor has now been notified that “approximately 20′ of your foundation has [possibly been undermined]” and the permit has been suspended, a suspension which has been appealed. Damn those meddling neighbors and their pesky complaints.

14 thoughts on “Damn Those Meddling Neighbors and Their Pesky Complaints”
  1. And of course, if the owner of the neighboring property sues the trust, the trust will just declare bankruptcy and the mid-sized developer will walk away, the principals of which will be laughing all the way up the back nine.

    1. Bankruptcy is not magical. There’s no reason to believe that any successful judgement could not result in a lien against the property.

  2. There’s nothing wrong with a just complaint. There’s a great deal wrong with frivolous complaints, and especially serial frivolous complainers. Exceeding the scope of the permit = fair enough. Exceeding the scope of the permit when the real story is “I work from home and construction noise bugs me” ? Not so much.

  3. There is no such thing as “relatively minor” foundation and structural work. Especially working in Outer Lands sandy soil on attached houses.

    The contractor/owner etc. should absolutely be responsible for any costs if they have damaged an adjacent building. I helped a friend to whom this happened in the Sunset. Vey similar situation.

    Grout injection is the typical solution to solidify the surrounding sandy soil.

    1. You are correct 20-40k depending on scope and depth of the area. I truly don’t understand builders who try to do these things. .Nevermind right or wrong the risk reward equation seems to stack firmly against these “shortcuts”

  4. Fellow commenters, I have some questions about inspectors.

    – What is the general timeline from Notice of Possible Violation to when the inspector arrives? Are we talking days? Weeks? How does coordination of schedules work around having the inspector arrive? Is it “email us to find a time” or is it “we’ll be there Thursday at 5.”

    – When an inspector comes, do they typically ask to go straight to the source (“bring me to your ground floor”), or do they walk the the entire house / property to look for any and all violations?

  5. I’ve been wondering about another property, 147 Marietta Dr in Miraloma Park, where something similar – unpermitted construction to excavate and expand below the existing foundation, undermining adjacent properties – was done. When caught, the construction engineering firm (headed by the city’s former Building Commission president) falsified documents in effort to trick city inspectors, resulting in City Attorney Dennis Herrera bringing suit.

    After sitting idle, half finished and looking ragged for around 4 years, work has resumed at 147 Marietta in the last couple months. Resolving the legal, financial, and engineering challenges can’t be easy – just wondering how these issues get worked out.

  6. Does anyone remember the foundation-renovated house on Mansell(sp?) street or Mendell(sp?) street falling on its neighbor? That was about 6-10 years go.

    1. You’re probably thinking of 149 Mangels in Sunnyside, which collapsed in 2007, while the owner was DIYing foundation work. Though there was a report here in Dec 2019 saying the city had issued permits for a new home on the site, last I was by about 2 months ago, there were a few materials on site that hadn’t been there previously, but otherwise no work of significance has been done.

      1. Thank you, that’s it. I should have mentioned upfront that it was unpermitted foundation work that brought the house down on the next door neighbor.

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