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Army Corps of Engineers to cut down man's $14k treehouse/guest house? Options · View
lafayettemister
Posted: Friday, June 08, 2012 8:16:48 AM

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Joined: 10/4/2010
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Location: Alabama, United States
Corps to cut down tree on man's property. Video

Tremain Albright has spent more than $14,000 building and renovating a treehouse along the Kootenai River in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. But the Army Corps of Engineers says the house must be torn down or the city could lose more than $128,000 in federal funding.

KTVB reports that the Army Corps of Engineers says the house is too close to a water levy in the river and could damage the levy if the tree were to collapse.

"It's a sad day, I'm not real happy," Albright told the station. "It's very special. There's probably nothing else like it … within the state of Idaho."

Albright says the money he spent on the treehouse was used converting it into a guesthouse, and he had received a special variance exemption back in 2007 that he thought was permanent. The Army Corps of Engineers will most likely cut down the treehouse on June 15.

"I still feel like this is just an action of big government," Tremain said. "We were totally helpless. The city's helpless, and they are pretty much held under the gun."


==========================================

The fact that any government agency can decide when they can go and cut down or remove anything from personal property is a little scary. We never really own our land, we just borrow it. Why wouldn't the decision of the property owner trump the decision of anyone else?

The poor man even got a variance to do this, the government gave him permission. Now after he's spent thousands of dollars they change their mind. Nice work Army.

If the levy is so easily damaged by a tree falling on it, enough to flood the area; I think they need to actually repair the fucking levy.





When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. Socrates
Guest
Posted: Friday, June 08, 2012 3:53:16 PM

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Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 531,806
1) the property owners choice affects more than just his property in this situation. if the area floods depending on circumstance it could affect a lot of people
(also, they could just seize his property, give him fair market value and i believe its 30(?) days to vacate. needs of the many outweigh the needs of one)

2) don't lump all of the army in there with that statement. the decision was made by an engineer corps officer (and more than likely his higherups) blame him/her, and only because they are following rules that have probably changed since 2007. not the rest of my corps, nor the whole army.

3) repair would be if it was damaged. fixing the section in this case, as its not "broken", would be more like replacing. preventative maintenance over doing replacing something that doesn't need to be fixed. trees are heavy dude. sure i ain't seen one crack concrete but anything is possible. also, since as that is NOT the only tree they are taking down, there's a bigger picture at stake.


LadyX
Posted: Friday, June 08, 2012 4:03:31 PM

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Joined: 9/25/2009
Posts: 4,827
I agree that a common good should generally take precedence over a property owner's wishes. It's really a shame that he got permission through all the right channels, only to have it be reversed after he went to all that expense and trouble, though. Sounds to me like he got it permitted through the city/county/state/whatever, but the Corps of Engineers wasn't involved, and they're operating in their own sphere, not privy and uninterested in who was granted a permit for what.

If I were him, I'd look into my options to file suit against whoever gave him the permission, on grounds that as far as he was concerned, he did all his due diligence, and the fact that they're now telling him his improvements must be demolished is not his fault or his problem. I'm not a civil engineer, and presumably none of us Think Tank regulars are either, so I can't call bullshit on whether or not the treehouse is actually a problem. I don't think the rank and file at the Army Corps of Engineers really care one way or the other about the philosophy of "big government", they're just doing their job by the book.

Whatever the case, I hope he gets compensated.
lafayettemister
Posted: Friday, June 08, 2012 4:17:10 PM

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Joined: 10/4/2010
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Location: Alabama, United States
I don't think his treehouse makes any difference at all on the safety of the levee. None whatsoever. "If" the tree fell it "could" damage the levy. If a boat ran aground in the same spot it "could" damage the levee. IF is a very broad word. This has nothing to do with safety or flooding. One tree isn't going to compromise an entire levee. I'm not a civil engineer, but if that's the case then every tree along any levee in the state or country would need to be removed. This has to do with $$$$$. It's all about money. The loss of the $100k funding is the ONLY reason this is happening. It's a beaurocratic nonsensical "policy" type thing from the Core of Engineers.

I'll be out of pocket until Monday. I'll check with you peeps then.







When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. Socrates
Dirty_D
Posted: Friday, June 08, 2012 5:12:56 PM

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Joined: 4/15/2011
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Location: Soaking up the sun, United States
We need to respect property rights as absolute.

Guest
Posted: Friday, June 08, 2012 5:54:16 PM

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Joined: 12/1/2006
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an "absolute right" will never exist. they will always be curtailed, hamstrung, picked apart and altered so as not to upset anyone in our society. you can only own this if this, you can only say this if this. the government gets what it wants. if not with cooperation then by force.
Guest
Posted: Friday, June 08, 2012 6:06:10 PM

Rank: Lurker

Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 531,806
Quote:
1) the property owners choice affects more than just his property in this situation. if the area floods depending on circumstance it could affect a lot of people
(also, they could just seize his property, give him fair market value and i believe its 30(?) days to vacate. needs of the many outweigh the needs of one)


Eminent Domain.


Eminent domain refers to the power possessed by the state over all property within the state, specifically its power to appropriate property for a public use. In some jurisdictions, the state delegates eminent domain power to certain public and private companies, typically utilities, such that they can bring eminent domain actions to run telephone, power, water, or gas lines. In most countries, including the United States under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, the owner of any appropriated land is entitled to reasonable compensation, usually defined as the fair market value of the property. Proceedings to take land under eminent domain are typically referred to as "condemnation" proceedings.
elitfromnorth
Posted: Friday, June 08, 2012 6:40:00 PM

Rank: Brawling Berserker

Joined: 2/12/2012
Posts: 1,614
Location: Burrowed, Norway
naughtynurse wrote:
We need to respect property rights as absolute.


Absolute? As in once you've bought it's yours and no one can take it away from you even if it's for the greater good? What about placement of schools, roads, officebuildings and other things that will help the city/area prosper? What if I live in a neighbourhood with run down ugly ass houses that are just fuck ugly and pollute and basically just a cyste on the local community. Should the city not be allowed to take that area and turn it into much needed appartment buildings and so forth? What about expanding cities? Should a grumpy landowner halt construction because that particular area is something he doesn't want to sell? That would be devastating in my area, because the need for new houses and appartments are skyrocketing. Yes, it is sad to see some areas disappear, but guess what; unless we start implementing closed borders and copying China's one kid policy then cities will grow, more houses will be needed and land is required to build the housing and stores and workplaces that keeps a community going.


"It's at that point you realise Lady Luck is actually a hooker, and you're fresh out of cash."
Dirty_D
Posted: Friday, June 08, 2012 9:13:29 PM

Rank: Head Nurse

Joined: 4/15/2011
Posts: 7,089
Location: Soaking up the sun, United States
I understand that they(property rights) in reality are not absolute. Doesn't mean I can't think they should be.

And yes even in those cases they should STILL be absolute.

My $.02

& now to take myself to bed like I told myself I would hours ago...

DLizze
Posted: Saturday, June 09, 2012 8:38:38 PM

Rank: Story Verifier

Joined: 4/23/2011
Posts: 2,552
LadyX wrote:
I'm not a civil engineer, and presumably none of us Think Tank regulars are either, so I can't call bullshit on whether or not the treehouse is actually a problem.


I AM a Licensed Professional engineer (civil) and I can understand both his feelings, and the viewpoint of the Corps. Trees constitute a major problem in any area where there is an impoundment or levee, and, as some on here have already pointed out, faliure of the structure would likely affect more people than just this individual. Without knowing the specifics of the case, and without seeing the river flow data, I cannot comment as to whether in this situation the tree is in imminent danger of breaching the levee.

The Corps of Engineers has jurisdiction over all waters of the US, and under Federal statute, must be notified by the local governmental body whenever any activity is planned within the 100 year floodplain of any stream or river. The gentleman states that he has in his posession several letters of approval from several offices of the Corps, but he does not state whether they are categorical or conditional approval. In my experience, when the Corps approves work within its jurisdiction, unless the letter is a statement of no interest, there is usually a caveat in the approval that reserves unto the Corps, the right to remedy any condition it deems unsafe to its structures.

Edit: @ lafayette - The tree falling is probably not the Corps of eEngineer's concern. It is more likely that the tree roots have penetrated the levee to the extent that continued growth will allow what is known as "piping" through the levee. The term"piping" refers to water following the path of least resistance (in this case along the tree's roots) through the embankment. Should that occur, a breech will follow within a short time. In thirty five years experience, I have only seen two breeches that were caused by tree growth, but in both cases, the quantity and velocity of water was highly destructive to downstream receiving areas.

"There's only three tempos: slow, medium and fast. When you get between in the cracks, ain't nuthin' happenin'." Ben Webster
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