January 29, 2012
Good Morning Mayor Erickson and esteemed Council,
I am forwarding to you an email which I wrote to Councilman Henry a month ago. This should explain the history of our situation.
Last night, there was a small fire in the electrical wiring in the wall of our kitchen. I turned off the main power and called 911. It took a really long time for the Fire Department to get to us as they could not drive their trucks to our home. They could not see the house in the dark and I had to send my young son down the hill with a flashlight as I was busy getting our pets out of the house (yes, I already got the lecture from the FD on that). The firefighters had to walk up the hill with their equipment, which added even more of a delay.
This was a small incident and everyone is OK. But, the Battalion Chief admitted that in a larger fire their response would be severely crippled.
Why can't Public Works install some sort of temporary emergency access to our home until the City can get around to fulfilling their promise to us to replace the culvert and driveway? We live in the city limits and yet it's akin to living in a third-world country in regards to our access to emergency services. What happens if I have a heart attack (I have heart disease) and my son, who is Autistic, has to try to figure out how to help me? Do we need to wait for that kind of tragedy before the City decides to come through on their promise to us?
Members of the public have suggested that the city drop a flat-bed across the breach in the driveway. An alternate route would be to create an access on the City's other sewer easement that runs through the middle of our property and out across our neighbor's driveway. I have not talked to our neighbor about this as one of the residents of that home is a convicted Level 2 Rapist, and I am not comfortable interacting with him as I am a past rape-victim myself. I have no confidence that anything we try to do ourselves as homeowners would get through City Planning. We learned our lesson when it took 5 months for Planning to decide that we did not need permits to fill in the hole in our driveway in 2011. In contrast, it only took an hour for Public Works to respond to fill in the hole when they first repaired it. It is very obvious to us that there are different rules for the city than for homeowners. And then there was that whole unpleasant experience of having Gina Piazza from DFW threatening to throw my husband in jail if we didn't make the fish happy (even though there are no fish here, nor ever have been). I'd rather not go through that stress again as it cost us quite a lot of money when my health failed as a result and I had to go in for surgery. Needless to say, our savings are completely gone now.
What are we to do? We are now underwater in our mortgage as our property value has plummeted. We can't sell the house without access. We can't even move out unless we leave most of our possessions behind and just take the things we can carry on our backs. I have contacted a bankruptcy lawyer about abandoning our home. This is really upsetting to me considering that we have had perfect credit all our lives and currently have scores near 900. 35 years of hard work and good credit will all go in the toilet because of the City's inability to fulfill their promise to us. And, with 22 weeks of 20% cut in my husband's pay due to furlough coming up, we have no chance of building any savings to contribute to repairing the driveway. Even if we had a chance to build some savings, how long do you think it would take us to save $164,000 considering we support a family of 4 on an income of less than xxxx. Gina Piazza wants a "fish passage system" with a 10.5 foot diameter culvert--in our front yard! And, what on earth will the claims adjuster think when he sees that our home is inaccessible and therefore indefensible? Will we lose our home owner's insurance? We have invested all our life's savings into our property as we thought that was the wisest place to put our money. I guess the joke is on us...lesson learned to not buy property in the City of Poulsbo. But, how were we to know as we came here on short notice through a military PCS move?
As you can tell, I am distraught. I believe I have been very patient these past 3 years. I haven't bothered y'all too much. I've been respectful. Please, tell me when the City will fulfill their promise to us to replace the culvert and our driveway? Please, have Public Works install a temporary access for emergency vehicles. You are the City, you have the power to do this. Please do the right thing, in the Name of Jesus.