Government Work

crayons 0819
Day Four of Leaving Any Ol’ Day. Some Day stairs will be a thing of the past.

Some Day I will take on a topic that isn’t about us moving. But not today.

After spending most of yesterday in suspense — where will four of us sleep? — we got the answer we didn’t want: right where we’ve been. One Day More, to go all Les Miserables, which seems appropriate.

Mid-afternoon, our house on Irwin became the site of a whirlwind, as Dusty’s guys, Sam and Zach, arrived to dismantle shelving and install required carbon monoxide detectors, and Gilly — always to the rescue — came to clean whatever rooms were available for cleaning. (Some years before she came to work at Pat’s, she had her own cleaning business.)

As they arrived, Sam let us know the plumbing inspector had been at the house and approved us. I thought that meant we were two-thirds of the way through our tests, but that turned out to be an oversight. So then we were waiting on the county inspector, but as the afternoon grew longer, that likelihood grew smaller until it blipped clear out of existence.

Dusty, Sam and I took the newly-dismantled shelving out to the new house, where my full-wall bookcase will now hopefully serve us well as garage shelving. We decided which piece would go where, and were getting ready to go back to Irwin when a county pick-up pulled up along Riverwalk Drive.

I had forgotten all about the mandatory driveway inspection. I guess I don’t get the big deal about driveways, but you have to pull a separate permit (and pay for it) before you can think about submitting building plans, and then it gets its own inspection when everything is done. So while I thought we were waiting for three government approvals, it was really four: electrical, plumbing, county and driveway.

On the way back into town I speculated to Sam (he’s a nice young fellow) that the “inspection” probably consists of “yep, that’s a driveway.” Well, that turned out to be wrong.

I was loading other shelves into the back of my truck when Dusty returned. I asked, “Did we pass?” and he said “No.”

Now, you should know that no matter what questions people ask me, I always answer “No,” even when I mean yes. So I thought that’s what Dusty was doing, but no (always no) — he was serious.

The “inspector,” a county Road and Bridge employee, first couldn’t figure out where on Riverwalk Drive he wanted to be. Remember way back when we first bought this lot? (It’s okay if you don’t; we’ll recall it for you.) It was 142 Riverwalk, and between Dusty pulling our permit and us submitting it, the county’s GIS department took it upon itself to renumber all the street addresses in Riverwalk Estates, without bothering to notify the owners.

We went from 142 to 60, and the neighboring lot became 142. I knew this was going to lead to confusion, but I don’t know that I expected that confusion to come from the entity that created the confusion in the first place.

Once the guy ascertained he was in the right spot, he then looked everything over, and told Dusty everything was there . . . except the 18-inch culvert where the driveway meets the road.

“What’s the culvert for?” Dusty wanted to know. “For the ditch,” the guy said. “What ditch?” Dusty wanted to know. There was a ditch on the guy’s map, therefore there must be a ditch in real life.

[The other day when I was discussing the Van Tuyl Trails and I said the city started bulldozing without any sense of hydrology? I was at some public meeting when the community development director of the time showed council or planning commission or whatever body it was his map of the property and the three ditches he knew to be there. He was not happy when I piped up and told them there were a lot more than three places where water crossed the foot path. Turns out, I was right and he was wrong. Huh.]

But the county guy didn’t see any ditch. Dusty pointed out the ditch on the other side of the road, and then discussed how he could possibly put in a six-inch culvert with a half-inch of rock on top of it, and even that would leave a speed bump at the start of our driveway. The guy could see Dusty’s point, and he took a lot of photos. “A lot of photos,” Dusty said, several times.

Then the guy was going to take all his information back to his boss, Sparky (sometimes you can’t make this stuff up). He didn’t think there would be a problem, but he couldn’t promise for sure this bureaucratic setback will go away.

We can get a temporary certificate of occupancy without driveway approval, provided the building inspector (his name is Charlie) comes out tomorrow and doesn’t have a piece of paper standing in opposition to what’s really on the ground. Dusty said Charlie’s generally very good about getting out; since he hadn’t responded to Dusty’s calls, Dusty thought perhaps he was in Marble, Somerset, Arrowhead or some other remote part of Gunnison County (36,000 square miles) without good cell service.

So Dusty is feeling confident we can get inspected tomorrow morning, and he’s preparing his argument should Sparky decide we not only need to install the culvert but the entire ditch as well. I would think Atmos, Gunnison County Electric Association, CenturyLink and the county’s own North Sewer District might all want to object to that plan, since our ditch would dig up their work.

But honest to god, my encounters with Gunnison County do not give me a warm fuzzy feeling about government. The sewer district can’t get our bill to the address we want — and now I’m thinking we didn’t get a bill for last quarter, which I’m sure will be our fault — the building department didn’t understand its own land use resolution and the difference between a building envelope alteration and a boundary line adjustment; the GIS department can’t figure out its own numbering system; and now road and bridge wants ditchless culverts.

As Lynn said to someone at Spectrum (which also had trouble finding our house because of the numbering issue), “If this is how you make a good first impression on your customers, it’s not working.”

So: stop me if you’ve heard this before. We’re supposed to get inspected today, presumably this morning, and once we have approval, the animals and I can join Lynn at our Some Day That Might Be Never house. It doesn’t really matter: Gilly comes back to the Irwin house to finish cleaning up after us; and our moving crew is coming for the last of our possessions at 1. One way or another, we’re moving on out.

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