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Houses Sinking

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ncrunch32
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 762 Kingston, NY
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2004-09-14          96408


My daughter is finishing up her last year at UB in civil engineering and is working for a civil engineering firm in Buffalo, NY. She told me there is a 20 x 20 mile area in Amherst (suburb of Buffalo) where upscale homes are slowly sinking over time - maybe a 1/2-1 inch every couple of years or so.

It appears the area used to be covered by a lake thousands of years ago, then glaciers covered the mud with the soil you can see there today. The mud layer is 15 feet down and was not observed or taken into account by contractors when they built foundations for the homes.

The homeowners are suing the Town of Amherst since most of the contractors who built these homes 20 years ago are no longer around. Probably it is not likely they will recover anything. Pretty amazing stuff. Anyone every hear of anything like this?

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4285 Southwest MiddleTennessee
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2004-09-14          96409


You never know how things will shake out with the People's Socialist Republic of New York, but I would thing that it building permits were required and issued by the municipality; there is culpability. If the houses were built to code required by the permits and municipal inspectors, if would seem to me that they will have a hard time trying to dodge that bullet. On the other hand, state and local governments in that state do whatever they want. ....

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ncrunch32
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 762 Kingston, NY
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2004-09-14          96410


Would that be PSRN? LOL. Chief, I just want to be sure that you understand that there is an "upstate NY" and a "downstate NY". Upstate NY begins about 80 miles north of New York City. There is no correlation between the political views or any other views of the two parts of the state - conservative in the north and liberal in the south, they might as well be different states. ....

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4285 Southwest MiddleTennessee
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2004-09-14          96412


Perhaps they should be separate states. After a good friend moved to Canadagua NY upon retiring from the Army, he had all of his gun confiscated by the local police dept. when he went to register them and get owner's permits. It took him over 6 months to get them back. The taxes eat his lunch and he soon learned that there was a law for everything and even some things never thought of. It is such a shame as NY is a beautiful state.

I feel for those folks with the sinking houses. There is no easy or inexpensive fix short of hoping that the foundations will sink a limited amount and stabilize. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7155 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2004-09-14          96414


They had a problem like that with a 8 or 10 storey condo up here. Turns out it had been built over an underground stream which was eroding the soil under the footings.

A friend of mine was the engineer hired by the tOwn ot fix it, the simple solution he came up with was a series of de-watering wells. Pump enough water out of the soil and you end up with a large dry block of dirt under the building, that basically creates a larger bearing surface and the weight per sq. inch goes WAY down.

He was able to stop the building from sinking, the prices for those condo units kept sinking though....

Best of luck. ....

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
Posts: 2652 NorthWest NJ
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2004-09-14          96419


Chief,

I hear you, working with the local town inspectors can be costly let alone going to the county or state gov't.

The irony would probably be that after you started the law suit, the town condemned the building based on the impending danger, forcing the litigant into bankruptcy and ending their ability to litigate.

I had a coworker here in New Jersey that thought he was going to make a couple million because his house and land was a critical parcel for completion of a housing project/park project. He turned down the towns early offers which were great but not up to his expectations. Later the town went and condemned his property under some law about Parks and Low income housing, and he got next to nothing for the land, and he had to sell the house for very lttle after his property was chopped up by the construction project.
....

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4285 Southwest MiddleTennessee
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2004-09-14          96427


The TVA tried something like that with me a few years back. They were real proud and arrogant about rubbing how they siezed my land without having to go to court under the TVA Act of 1933. When I explained them that they would not be allowed to use my drive way for bring in their equipment and that I would STRICTLY enforce my POSTED no treaspassing signs as well as maximally observe my right to make a citizens arrest and confiscate any equipment on my private property to include the TVA Police; they seemed to get a LOT more diplomatic and reasonable. After 10 days straight of heavy rain; my property was one of the few not flooded and they very courteously came back to me with hat in hand begging me to let them on my property. After some negotiating vs. the dictating they tried with me earlier; I got a very good solution worked out. ....

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Houses Sinking

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Iowafun
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 955 Central Iowa
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2004-09-14          96438


My dad had a problem with their old house in Texas. The engineers had done the appropriate drilling and soil samples. That clearly indicated minimums for the foundation. After cracks started to appear in the new house (this was built about 4 years ago), he started to get concerned. He bought a surveyors level and started measuring. The house would shift about 4 inches or so between dry and wet conditions. The neighborhood was built on clay fed by underground streams that exist only during wet seasons. Dry it's fine, wet season showed up and house would move. Make popping noises and such.

Dad went to the city and got a copy of the building plans and such including the design of the foundation. Took some effort to dig down along the foundation on a couple of sides of the house. But the tape measure didn't lie. The contractor for the foundation went cheap and did not build to the specified requirements by a large margin. All the home in the neighborhood had been done this way. All had major problems.

One fix was to tear into the inside of the house, drill trhough the concrete foundation and install pilings. A major mess since this has to be done from the inside of the house that you live in. The builder started to buy back homes and bulldozed them. A real mess for people though. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7155 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2004-09-14          96453


Hey Randy, you might be more right than you thought, check out the story linked to below.


Best of luck. ....


Link:   State Tax Burden

 
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lucerne
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 192 Lucerne Maine
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2004-09-14          96467


Ncrunch32 Those people need to go to New Orleans out by the airport. Some of the houses out there are 2 feet under ground on one end. They where buit on slabs and are sliding undergound. No pylons. When your in the city and a truck or bus goes by your car when your sitting still, you can feel your car bounce like it's on Jello. New Orleans is 8 feet below sea level and is all river silt. I have watched them drive 120 foot concrete pylons down town for high rise buildings, the first 60 feet they just push them down, then pound the other 60 ft. I did an addition to an old house on the street closest to the river, a few feet down we found just about everything clay marbles,real old bottles a complete horse shoe set with pin that had sunk over the years and disapeared. ....

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beagle
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1333 Michigan
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2004-09-14          96482


The Japanese are struggling with an entire airport that is sinking into the ocean. Thay created a man-made island, I think in Tokyo Harbor that has sunk 2 feet since it was built, and continues to sink into the ocean constantly. The columns in the lower level of the main Terminal building are jacketed with collars and hydraulic jacks. Every day, maintenance workers adjust the columns to make up for the differential settlements.

This is a $2 billion fiasco. ....

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TomG
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 5406 Upper Ottawa Valley
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2004-09-15          96506


Governments are on the hook for liability settlements through planning and zoning approvals and building inspections. We all end up paying as taxpayers through. I've heard speculation that a major motivation of privatization has more to do with distancing governments from lawsuits than with supposed efficiency.

There was a case some years back where a condo high-rise with an underground parking garage had a small creek flowing through the garage and the foundations were failing. Zoning allowed such structures and the contractor had gone through all permits and inspections. The under-ground aquifer that was the problem was well known, and the zoning planners, the contractor and inspectors likely knew about it. Government still ended up paying. ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2004-09-15          96511


I think things were gotten away with and probably still are that would shock most honest people. I could, (but absolutely won't) show you an apartment building and a house in two differnt parts of our county that were built on top of filled in garbage dumps in late 60's. To my knowledge both are still standing. I watched as both were done and could'nt imagine how building permits were issued for either. Strange things happen. Some day not "if but when" all of this comes to light who pays? Likely the owner will be the loser, or the Government. Who is the Government? Us, so we all share the burden of things that were "Goten away with" in the past. Enough from me. Frank. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7155 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2004-09-16          96574


Tom, that condo was the project I was mentioning earlier in this thread.

It wasn't just that the municipality had allowed the building to go in to a bad spot, they actually made the problem worse.

The Town had been drawing water from that aquifer via a huge Town well directly across the street from the site. When the Region took over the water system from the individual Towns they decided that this well was to be abandoned. After pumping 100's of gallons per day from that site for over 50 years they just switched the pumps off one day. The consultants had told the government to not plug the wells, but instead to allow them to flow into a creek nearby. The government ignored them. This caused the water table in that area to rise by 4' over what it had been.

This condo was not the only property affected. It was the only one that got any media attention however, some well-meaning building official decided at 4:30pm on the Friday of Thanksgiving weekend to issue an order condemning the building. That went over really well.....

Best of luck. ....

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Ducati996
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 347 New York
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2004-09-16          96587


ncrunch32,

I mean this in a nice way and not to upset you but you really dont want to seperate the northern and southern parts into to two seperate states. Financially we carry the entire state and Long Island being the biggest bank, and without us upstate NY would surpass the poorest state in the nation...so just take the money and be happy :)
Plenty of conservative folks down here, you just arent looking...

Duc

....

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yooperpete
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1413 Northern Michigan
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2004-09-16          96591


Witch half lays claim to Hilliary? I haven't got anything good to say about any state that willingly harbors Clintons! ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7155 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2004-09-16          96594


Maybe they should chop Hillary in two and each take half...

Speaking of Hillary, I wonder if she got Bill a gift while he was in the hospital, if she did I'm willing to bet it WASN'T a new tie or a box of cigars........

Best of luck. ....

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ncrunch32
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 762 Kingston, NY
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2004-09-16          96604


Duc, no offense taken! My apologies to you for assuming there were no conservatives down south. I went to SUNY at Stony Brook on LI so I have had the benefits of both parts of the state. I didn't know this thread would turn into a discussion of the disadvantages of New York State.

In defense of New York, I believe we have the optimal mix of weather (all 4 seasons and no typhoons) - a good educational system - within striking distance of great mountains and oceans - and to the city for those who like night life. I have 2 pistol permits and had no trouble obtaining them. There are lots of places to work but it is true that the taxes are high.


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Ducati996
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 347 New York
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2004-09-17          96697


Hey Yooperpete,

How about being kind to the state that took it on the chin and survived on 9/11 ?? that in itself is a miracle
and we still live today still the direct target, but we dont flinch...gives us more credit then that....The only reason Clinton is in, was because Rudy got sick...she saw an opening and took it...Lazio was a boy and couldnt complete and was never really a presence...could do without the taxes-highest in the nation however

Duc ....

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yooperpete
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1413 Northern Michigan
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2004-09-17          96699


Duc
Sorry, no personal attack was meant on you nor the great state of NY!! Please accept my apology. Just can't stand Hilliary. Can't see why anyone would vote her in, don't care who was running against her. ....

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Ducati996
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 347 New York
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2004-09-17          96706


Yooperpete,

I didnt take it personal dont worry :)

She walked in after the door opened...she didnt need votes actually it such as a shoe in....oh well

Duc
....

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