continued Boyer responds that the testing was done by a subcontractor paid by the developer. "So it was kind of a fox-guarding-the-henhouse situation."
When the city council approved the plan for Halifax Estates in 1993, the approval came with 55 conditions. Boyer has studied all of them and feels he has found discrepancies between them and the plans for the project. Condition 43, dealing with driveways, states, "There shall be a 20-foot minimum distance between the garages and the back of the [sidewalk] to assure a clear walkway while vehicles are parked in front of the garage." Boyer points to one of the project plans spread out on his dining room table. "See this driveway here. It's supposed to be 20 feet... it's 19...another 19...another 19."
The plans he's looking at are dated 1999. Recently, he's has been down to the city development building on First Avenue, downtown, to see the most recent plans filed by the developer. "The driveways are even shorter... 14, 15 feet," Boyer says.
Condition 41 of the approved residential development proposal stipulates that the streets inside the development must be lined with sidewalks. "The new plans," Boyer says, "only have sidewalks on one side of the street."
In a June meeting with his city councilman, Jim Madaffer, Boyer asked whether the 55 development conditions were suggestions or legally binding mandates. In September, he received his answer in the form of a letter from City Attorney Casey Gwinn, stating that "Unless clearly stated to the contrary, the terms and conditions of a permit are requirements."
Though he hasn't looked at the latest plans yet, Tom Murphy says they will be reviewed with all 55 conditions in mind. "I'm always very careful with these things," Murphy says, adding with a chuckle. "But I told Mr. Boyer today when I gave him the plans, 'You can start checking them now. If you find anything, let me know.' It is a little bit unusual, frankly, for the public to get involved in the plan-checking project. But it seems like every year for 35 years, the neighbors are getting more and more sophisticated and more and more determined. That's fine. That's the process. That's the law."
Murphy adds, "And, of course, Mr. Boyer is aware that if he starts questioning these things early enough that it's going to, perhaps, heighten our awareness. I've been in the business 35 years. I'm not sure I need my awareness heightened."
Wes Shippy says of Boyer, "That gentleman has done nothing but harass us at every opportunity. As a result of his claims, we've spent thousands and thousands of dollars to be on the cautious side of safety for the community, and we have yet to come up with anything to be of concern."
The Pacific Group, in June, had its lawyer fire off a letter to Boyer threatening to sue Boyer. The letter, signed by Laura W. Packer of O'Connor, Packer, & Dunivan, said, "Your repeated efforts to harass Pacific Group employees and subcontractors solely to delay the project must cease immediately. Likewise your efforts to further involve governmental agencies without any good faith belief that the work is not being performed in accordance with the approved plans must cease immediately."
Boyer insists he is not raising obstructions for obstruction's sake and further insists that this is not a "Not in my back yard!" issue. "I've always known that the land was slated for development," he says. "And if they had gone ahead and just been straight with us right from the beginning, if they were going to build homes just like in our neighborhood around here, I would have said, 'Joanie, it's their property and they have a right to build on it,' and we would have sat back and they never would have heard a word out of us."
Tapping the lawsuit threat letter, he adds, "But when they sent this, they really made a mistake."