Final UPDATE: So how long will it take the city to fix the boulevard in front of my neighbor’s home?

I found out today that my neighbor had to fix a valve going to his house as a result of the water main break, and it was HIS responsibility to do so (private contractor below) So he will be the one who has to clean up the boulevard. I found it interesting that the water main break was the city’s fault but he is responsible for the valve. Still trying to figure this one out.

They showed up today (2/6) and started re-digging in the hole.

As you know, a water main broke in front of my house on Saturday. As of today, the mound of dirt still remains in the road in front of my house and as you can see in the above picture is my neighbor’s boulevard. It was completely ripped up and destroyed and now has two barricade signs sitting on it.

Trust me, I know how these things work. It usually takes awhile before the city comes back to fix these things, so I decided to count the days, we are on day 4 now. Obviously, they are not going to be planting grass anytime soon, but it would be nice if they came by and smoothed things out. I can guarantee if this happened in front of the mayor’s house, it would not look this way.

But the bigger question is, “Who owns the boulevard?” I know we have been around and around about this on DaCola. If my neighbor owns his boulevard as some of you think, how can the city tear it up without his permission? And since the city did tear it up, to fix city owned pipes, don’t they have to fix it?

Further proof the CITY owns the boulevard – I guess we will have to wait and see who gets to fix it.


#1 GregN on 02.05.13 at 2:00 pm

Yes, we’ve been down this road before…but to reiterate, at the time of platting a subdivision right of way is dedicated. That width varies based on the classification of the road (local, collector, arterial etc generally – at least in the city). That width could be used initially for any combination of road, boulevard (on one, both, or no sides) and maybe sidewalk. Right of way is permanently dedicated to governmental use. No one ‘owns’ it. Right of way width would go from front pin on your property across to the front pin on your neighbors property across the street. In some cases, your property pin might be 10 or 20 feet behind the sidewalk (in other words that grass you consider your property isn’t really your property (common mistake people make is to assume sidewalk is property line – not always the case!). Typically, if you lived on a arterial road that hadn’t been widened to its full width yet you might have this extra right of way behind the side walk in what you consider your ‘front yard’. Its right of way. If the city widens the road, they might tear out the existing boulevard and sidewalk, use it for roadway, and put a new sidewalk right through that area you consider your ‘front yard’. I think where the confusion comes in is we are expected to maintain all of this as property owners so you feel like you must own it if you must care for it, and even more if don’t you will be cited. Seems strange to be cited for not taking care of something you don’t own (seems like if anything we who do should get a thank you note). If anyone doubts me and thinks they ‘own’ the boulevard or the sidewalk, I’d invite you to either tear out your sidewalk or pave part of your grassy boulevard (ask Dan Daily how that went) and see if I’m right. Down at the courthouse (at least Minnehaha) you can go to the back room in the register of deeds with the legal description of your property, find the original plat for your subdivision, look it up on the computer, and see the dedicated right of way width. Then get out the old tape measure and see (but don’t get hit by a car while doing it!), the roadway is just a part of that width.

Hopefully they come out soon and at least fill in the hole and level it out. At least make it reasonable. If you get grass seed consider it a bonus.

#2 Detroit Lewis on 02.05.13 at 3:32 pm

LOL. They are out there now farting around with it. Must have struck a nerve.

#3 rufusx on 02.05.13 at 3:45 pm

Doubtful any “nerves were struck” by anything other to the weekly schedule for the “fix-it” crew and the daily weather.

#4 Craig on 02.05.13 at 5:02 pm

They don’t typically worry about cosmetic repairs on weekends DL. And what they will do is flatten out the soil, fill in any holes, and then come back in the spring to make final grade adjustments before tossing a bit of grass seed down. After that point, if the homeowner wants the grass to look nice they are pretty much on their own.

In case you are curious, they follow pretty much the same practice if they happen to hit your mailbox with a snowplow. Ask me how I know.

#5 grudznick on 02.06.13 at 12:38 am

It takes years. Mark down my words and tell me in a couple years.

#6 Pathloss on 02.06.13 at 8:49 pm

Get ready, they’re going to assess you per front foot for sidewalk and curb repair.

#7 Detroit Lewis on 02.06.13 at 9:14 pm

Then I will assess them for Bullshit front footage.

#8 LJL on 02.06.13 at 10:27 pm

UH OH..Someones blogging while bitter. Keeping with your usual theme shouldn’t the headline be: CITY RUINS HOMEOWNERS PROPERTY WITHOUT CAUSE. Sharpen your pitchforks and fuel your torches.

Articles about holes in street. Excellent work DETROIT

#9 Detroit Lewis on 02.06.13 at 10:32 pm

I love it when people laugh at me, for laughing at them. And vice versa.

The only hole I am worried about is the one in my wallet from peeps like you.

#10 Pathloss on 02.07.13 at 9:26 am

Tractor in your front yard is a code violation. Give back one of your yellow citations. I have 8, how many you got? It’s like marbles; you win when you leave with more.

#11 Pathloss on 02.07.13 at 9:31 am

I keep asking for citations but they won’t give me more. They’re unenforcable and collectable.

#12 Pathloss on 02.07.13 at 9:39 am

They’ll hit a gas line and claim it’s an IED. Then, they send 5 cops in firing 70 shots into a peaceful neighborhood.

#13 Winston on 02.07.13 at 7:15 pm

Almost thirteen years ago, my basement water valve broke so the City came out to turn off the street valve so that work could be done to replace my basement valve. Well, guess what happen, the city employee broke the street valve (It was truly a comedy of eras). The City then came out again (after a three day weekend) and replaced the street valve at their expense (they did no repairs to the grass in the “parking area”, I took that on myself) and then I paid to have the basement valve fixed…. At least that is how it played out for me in the last millennium(?).

#14 Winston on 02.07.13 at 7:16 pm

“eras?” …. errors.

#15 l3wis on 02.07.13 at 9:02 pm

Winston, I find this very interesting that the water main broke due to the city’s infrastructure failures but then turnaround and charge the homeowner to hook up to a service that the homeowner pays monthly fees to the city for that service. On top of that, they increased our water rates so the city could use that additional money (enterprise funds) to repair and upgrade old infrastructure.

#16 Winston on 02.07.13 at 10:27 pm

Well in my case, the City employee broke the boulevard valve and the City does not want citizens turning this valve off/on themselves. Therefore, the City was at fault. But my question is… “Did your neighbor monkey with the boulevard valve causing the brake?” If so, then I can see the City saying its the owners responsibility. Although, in theory you would think the City could also hold your neighbor liable for the main break as well, but there may be economies of scale decision-making taking place in this matter by our City Fathers/Mothers.

Now to the issue you raise;

“I find this very interesting that the water main broke due to the city’s infrastructure failures but then turnaround and charge the homeowner to hook up to a service that the homeowner pays monthly fees to the city for that service.”

The City is going to argue that they operate like a utility company and that at some point the customers sole responsibility must begin (i.e., with a land line the phone company accepts full responsibility up to the box attached to your home.) But the problem I have with this point is that, yes, water is a utility, but a City is not a private corporation (well it’s not suppose to be) rather it is us.

So your questions still deserve an explanation, unless your neighbor, with all due respect, is not telling the whole story?

#17 Winston on 02.07.13 at 10:39 pm

In addition, if the City claims to be analogous to an utility company, then the buck stops at the basement valve for the customer and not the boulevard valve (i.e., land line) you would think.

#18 Detroit Lewis on 02.08.13 at 9:39 am

Winston, I am researching it. I have heard both sides of the coin so far.

#19 rufusx on 02.09.13 at 11:40 am

I’ll way in on this a little bit from my days as asewer and water installer – having worked both sides of the curb-stop. Whe originally developed and installed- the “city” (actually, the developer – via someonelike me) installs only to the curb-stop. The builder/owner of the individual residence installs from the curb-stop to the meter connection – via someone like me. Of course, this 2nd process is inspected by the city just like ALL plumbing. The city itself installs the meter, then licensed plumbers take off from there. Seems to me the city is responsible for everything to and inlcusive of the meter, as there are only a few specialized folks (like I was) allowed to work on those segments – under the supervision of the city’s inspectors. I also belive thsat if any work is done from the meter outward to the main – it must be at the least done under direct city supervision.

#20 l3wis on 02.09.13 at 12:48 pm

Ruf – Thanks. That is the prevailing opinion I have been hearing so far.

#21 LJL on 02.09.13 at 9:50 pm

Holes in your wallet… too funny. Get to shoveling Cpt. snowgate. Cuase all those extra services you want will be free right.