Retired Real Estate Broker
Grant Scott-Goforth’s article does not tell the whole story.
Sunset Road from Highway 101 (Broadway) to the county line at Weiler Road is privately owned. The City of Eureka has an easement for a public right of way. When the city obtained the easement it carried with it an obligation for the city to maintain the road. The Sunset and Weiler Road residences are all outside the city limits in the county, on privately maintained roads, privately maintained septic systems and are provided water by Humboldt Community Services. The city is not involved.
Until the construction of the brewery, there was no revenue generating property along the right of way and therefore no incentive for the city to perform their obligation. To provide services necessary to the brewery, the city spent public funds to improve the road surface, install industrial sized water service and provide a sewer lateral to carry away the brewing waste. All done for the benefit of a single commercial user NOT the residents and NOT the public.
Construction equipment building the brewery and the city doing improvements to Sunset Road degraded the Sunset and Weiler Road intersection. The city refused to repair the intersection. The paving of the Weiler / Sunset intersection was paid for by the Sunset Road Maintenance Association … NOT THE CITY and NOT THE BREWERY. Our thanks to Mercer Fraser Company for doing a nice repair job.
The city was told during planning stages to get all agreements with Ms Groom in writing. They didn't, and now they get to learn what "Not written, not said." means.
Are the residents happy to have the brewery as a neighbor ... No, not really but the brewery has an opportunity to be a better neighbor than a school or a school bus repair yard might have been. Both a school and a school bus repair yard were permitted uses of the land without the city council doing their zoning slight of hand which allowed a commercial brewery to be built on land that had been zoned solely for public use.
Regardless of Ms Grooms reported comments that the neighbors were against a restaurant on the brewery property. I believe that a restaurant is the one thing we did NOT object to. In fact we are for a restaurant, just put it where you said you would and NOT right across the street and under our windows. Didn’t you, Ms Groom, say you intended to build one in the red house on the corner of Broadway and Sunset Roads that you own? The same red house that Ms Groom said she was going to restore because of its Historical significance. The same one she said was going to be the offices for the brewery. The one that now is falling into disrepair due to lack of repair and neglect. The one that desperately needs attention from a landscaper, a gardener and a carpenter..
The neighbors were concerned about smells and were told there would be none. If you stand on Sunset Road or in the Sunset Memorial Park or in front of the K Mart building when Ms Groom is venting her brewing kettles from the northerly stack of the brew house (around 2 in the afternoon) I think you will understand what we residents were concerned about. Fortunately, the prevailing winds are usually from the north and blow across the brewery and the cemetery and K-Mart. We are not bothered by the smells of brewing at our homes. Cemetery workers, funeral attendees, cemetery visitors and K Mart shoppers are. Is that a blue light special I smell?
The residents were also concerned with noise levels and were told that the noise levels would not exceed the level of peak traffic noise on Broadway. Telling a partial truth, and not the whole truth, is the same as a lie. In court the oath is "The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth" for that reason. We were not told the whole truth. We were not told that the peak level of noise would now be constant and for extended periods of time (mostly noticeable during what had been quiet evening hours).
A restaurant could be a nice addition to the south end of Eureka but an Ice Cream Parlor at a Brewery? Root beer floats are great but Great White Beer floats or Inca Beer floats or Downtown Brown beer floats? Retch.
1755 Sunset Drive
Eureka, CA 95503
To the general public ... if you are interested in viewing the erection of the Table Bluff Brewing LLC (DBA) Lost Coast Brewing) brewing plant ... I recommend the following.
Sunset Road is presently being used by not only the public but also by contractors and heavy equipment building the brewery on Sunset Road. Sunset Road is in a deplorable state. The city is not maintaining the road surface and it is being further degraded by the constant use by heavy equipment. There are no alternate exits from Sunset Road so you will not be able to get out except the way you came in. You may also damage your car steering and/or suspension.
So ... Visit Sunset Memorial Park just south of Sunset Road and north of K Mart on south Broadway at the south end of Eureka. It is a beautiful cemetery and final resting place that is well maintained by the grounds crew. Located just across the highway from Lithia Motors and W&W Mobile Homes and is open to the public during the day until about 5PM in the evening.
Drive up into the cemetery, visit friends and relatives, walk the grounds and enjoy the views of the bay. Look to the north, across Sunset Road and view the construction activity for the brewery and try to envision the final complex. Affordable entertainment and educational fun for the whole family. Please be respectful of other visitors and funerals that may be in progress.
Well Ringmaster Willie,
If you are only going to bet on sure things, I can tell you are not a gambler. You said in your comment "I would bet you a dollar, they sold those cypress trees and the property owners received nothing for it.", and you are correct, the trees were sold and none of the proceeds were offered to us.
Ms Groom, was probably ill advised concerning her rights concerning the row of Monterey Pine Cypress trees. Many people in California are probably under the impression that they can do whatever they want with trees that grow on their property and THAT would be a false impression, especially if the trees are not wholly on their property. In Kallis v Sones (Filed August 9, 2012, Ordered Published on August 29, 2012) 2012 WL 3156602, the California Second District Court of Appeal ruled that ... a “line tree” – a tree whose trunk stands partly on the land of two or more coterminous owners, ... belongs to each of them in common. ... neither owner “is at liberty to cut the tree without the consent of the other, nor to cut away the part which extends into his land, if he thereby injures the common property in the tree.”
In Kallis v Sones, the cutting down (without permission) of a single 70 foot tall Aleppo Pine tree straddling the boundary line between the litigants properties cost the defendant (who caused the tree to be cut down) over $100,000 settlement to the Plaintiff. The award did not include attorney or court costs!
The location of the individual trees in the Monterey Cypress Row along Sunset Road was part of a survey in 1998. The locations are also well documented in pictures and markings by the city. At least 10 of the trees, and possibly as many as 18 of them, were unarguably line trees. The math is simple, 10 trees times $100,000 = $1,000,000. I had offered to sell all our rights and ownership in Sunset Road as it lay within the city limits of the City of Eureka to Ms. Groom for $100,000 if Ms. Groom agreed to pay the associated costs to do the lot line adjustments. I made the offer well before the trees were cut down and before any construction had begun. Ms. Groom never answered or accepted my offer and it was withdrawn.
I was out of town in Granite Bay when the trees were cut down and was given no warning that the trees were to be clear cut. Had I been warned I would have quickly applied for a TRO temporary restraining order to stop the loss of the commonly owned trees, prevent Ms. Groom from committing a possibly illegal act and to preserve the value of our property and our pastoral views.
With the trees gone we now have an unobstructed view of the sewerage treatment plant and when the redesigned brewery buildings are constructed we will lose our views (at that point) of the Elk river where it enters Humboldt Bay, the Humboldt Bay boat turning basin and possibly the Pacific Ocean
Is it better to do what ever you please, without regard of the harm you cause and without asking permission and after the fact contritely ask forgiveness? So far, in the case of the Monterey Cypress Tree Row it has not only been better for Ms. Groom but it may have even been more profitable.
So far ...
The 22, cypress trees that were cut down along Sunset Road on February 27th and 28th, 2013, were boundary line trees located at the property line between the brewery property (previously owned by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Santa Rosa) and the 40 foot wide Sunset Road easement which is located on land owned by my wife and I. I never was asked if the trees could be cut down and have not seen any report stating that they were a hazard and just HAD to be removed. From watching construction of the brewery from our home up on the hill I can see where there is money being saved by the trees being removed.
The city did not give Table Bluff Brewing LLC explicit permission to cut down the trees and I question if the city ever had that right. When an easement is given for a public right of way does that also give away the ownership and rights to standing crops, timber, buildings and boundary line trees? I say NO. A dedication has to be explicit in what is being dedicated. The road dedication on Parcel Map No. 3189 says "easement for a public street, public utilities, and all purposes incidental thereto". There is no mention of the old 70 to 100 year old trees that were 100 feet tall. By omission they were excluded from the dedication and ownership transferred to my wife and I upon purchase of the land.
My wife and I purchased the land in 1998 and we occupied the land in 1999. Our parcel is a flag lot, 2 acres in size. The pole of the flag lot is Sunset Road from Hwy 101 in the city up to my neighbors driveway on the hill, past the city / county line at Weiler Road, in Humboldt County. The flag of the flag lot is the residential parcel upon which is built our home. All roads past the city / county line are non county roads, privately maintained and subject to road maintenance agreements. No parcels of land within the City of Eureka city limits had permanent rights to use Sunset Road. Sunset Road was only an easement to get from Hwy 101 to the Humboldt County line where all the residential parcels are located. The red house on the corner of Hwy 101 (Broadway) and Sunset Road used their driveway on Hwy 101 as their access. The red house garage had an occasional access through an additional door on the back of the garage. The Roman Catholic Bishop of Santa Rosa had a seasonal gate on Sunset Road just before Weiler Road to cut and remove hay from the pasture land. Now, because of the dedication of Sunset Road to the City of Eureka, the city is illegally expanding their rights and are exceeding the original intent of the dedication by allowing construction of, and commercial use by a Heavy Industry Brewery.
I have found lawyers who are willing to pursue a case for the illegal removal of boundary line trees on a chargeable, per hour, fee basis but have been unable to find any who are willing to take on the case on a contingency basis and most of the local firms can claim conflict of interest.
The case could quickly expand to include the City of Eureka. How the city obtained the road dedication and now it has now allowed use of the right of way in ways never intended are possible side issues. Because most of the legal firms in town have at least one lawyer that has represented the city, or their employees, or the brewery or their associates, the search for qualified representation is very difficult. It could be described as being similar to the search by Diogenes of Sinope.
Dean Slone - NBN - New Brewery Neighbor
The editorial cartoon in the Journal is very pro business (Lost Coast Brewery) and anti citizen rights (Weiler and Sunset Road residential owners). The cartoon entirely missed the point.
It is not about smells, views, jobs or what is good for Eureka, it is just about a little thing called constitutional rights and regulatory takings without due process. This is about the city jumping through hoops (trying) to legally get around what they are illegally trying to do. This is about government working closely with a single business, twisting the process to violate citizen rights.
To better understand what is happening, I have assigned numbers to the zones with Residential R1 number (1) (the best zone) and Heavy Industrial number (5) (the worst zone). To build a brewery on Public (2) land the city has to down zone from Public (2) to Service Commercial (3), then create a new code category under Light Industrial (4) called Craft Brewery, then reclassify Lost Coast Brewery as a Craft Brewery allowing them to move up a zone from Heavy Industrial (5) to Light Industrial (4) then grant a special variance to allow LCB to operate in zone (3) a zone higher than the (4) they just moved into. You wind up with a zone (5) Industrial complex being built and operated right beside a zone (1) residential area.
The Weiler and Sunset Road residential owners have tried to work with Ms. Groom and her Lost Coast Brewery project. We know that business is good for Humboldt County but not at the cost of our rights. If Ms. Groom wants our approval and blessing then let her get them the old fashioned way and compensate us for them. Stop trying to steamroll us under the guise of jobs creation and best for the community while the real bottom line is to make lots of beer and profit.
Sorry, can't help with frustrated thieves who will slash our tires when they cant steal them.
3. Put loch around wheels, rims, frame and sign post.
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In Print This Week:
Jan 19, 2017
vol XXVIII issue 3
The North Coast Journal Weekly
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