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Slot Cars Exposed to Water

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  • #31
    Hi Guys,
    This is a long read.

    Contacting the area newspapers and other media outlets is one of the steps I will take after giving town and state officials the opportunity to do the right thing.

    The point raised about the planning which should have been done before the golf course was turned into an office complex is right on the mark. But at this point in time I cannot let that issue take the oxygen out of the room. What officials failed to do back in the 1960s does not have an effect on the situation right now, other than the fact if the water is allowed to flow past the homes, it will flood the office building. While that is unfortunate, it is not my problem.

    The office building has multiple issues. The golf course, and therefore their building, is the lowest point in the area. Not only do they get storm water from the dead end on the north side, they have a large roadside exposure on the west side and the Garden State Parkway (which is slightly above grade) on the east side. So they get hit from three sides during a big storm.

    As to getting the neighbors involved, that may not be easy. There is only one other house (which is on the other side of the dead end) which gets affected so as far as the rest of the neighborhood is concerned, I'm sure they are more than happy storm water flows away from their homes. The neighbors across the street are going through a rough batch as one of them just lost their mother unexpectedly, and the wife is working 12-14 hours a day right now. While they are disgusted with the town and want something done, they have other priorities at the moment. I think if they were in a position to sell they would be gone.

    The other disappointing aspect is the office building has decided to stop dealing with the town out of frustration. In speaking with the head of maintenance, who is the building's liaison with the town, the complex has decided to build their own drainage system. I'll see if they follow through because it seems as if they have put this issue on the back burner and have not made any moves since the storm. His first step was going to be clearing out his side of the dead end and that has not yet happened.

    All that said, I will continue.

    Here is an interesting story. Two weeks ago my landscaper stopped by to ask if I had made any progress with the town (this is before I filed). When I said I was getting nowhere he told me he is now an elected official on some board/council and asked if I wanted to speak with the mayor. He pulls out his cell phone, calls the mayor and hands me the phone. I speak with the mayor for a few minutes, being very courteous, telling him he needs to get the dead end cleared out which I explain could be done in less than a day. And he should know, as a kid his father lived about 10 houses up the street (I grew up with his two younger uncles) and he lives less than a half mile away. The mayor asks for my phone number and says he will have the town engineer get in touch with me.

    That was two weeks ago. Do you hear my phone ringing???

    Tuesday I go to the state assemblyman's office where I will speak with one of the staff. I already sent her the photos and will bring all the paperwork and we'll see where that gets me. I do not expect much but it's all part of the process in building a case which says I did all I could.

    After that, I will probably go ahead and file a lawsuit if for no other reason than the experience. What's the worst that could happen, I lose? While I need to do a little research, there are three levels of courts. The first is small claims court which has a limit of $3,000. Next is a level of court has a $15,000 limit. And finally there is Superior Court which has no limit. My lawyer friend said the $15,000 court will be far more friendly to an individual without a lawyer, is less formal than Superior Court and the court date will come up more quickly. Since the filing fee for Superior Court is $250 I'm sure the lower courts are even less. And once in motion, the process becomes public.

    Meanwhile FEMA came by and approved my claim for the wall. The problem? The assessor only put in for $1,600 and the wall estimates are $5,500 and up. So I will have to file an appeal once I get the paperwork.

    My thinking is if FEMA gives me enough to cover the wall (or enough to put a fence there instead as I do not need a wall) then all I need is to cover the loss from property. My full cost estimate is about $24,000 with $8,000 for the wall (I included the cost of adding bracing for the wall). If I forget the wall, then $15,000 would cover what I believe is the lost value of the slot cars, computer equipment, etc.

    So next update will be Tuesday. Wish me luck.

    Thanks for the read and suggestions.