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Family will pay $18,000 fine for illegal pool construction

by: TROY BUNDY  - Troy and Gina Bundy removed the pool and patio they previously installed and restored their property back to its pre-pool condition.The city of West Linn and residents Troy and Gina Bundy reached an agreement in municipal court Jan. 31 regarding the restoration of a notorious backyard pool illegally constructed near a wetland.

The Bundys were told, by court order, to remove the pool and patio they built in 2009 and to restore the property back to its pre-2009 condition by a Dec. 20 court date.

Their house, located at 1215 Ninth St., is sandwiched between two wetland areas. Since 2001 — two years before the Bundys moved in — the city has had a conservation easement on the property that also limits its use.

The Bundys admitted in court that they installed the pool and patio on their property before receiving the proper permits. After an application was submitted, city staff members denied the permit.

The Bundys then took the appeal to the city council and then to Oregon’s Land Use Board of Appeals. The denial was upheld each time.

Third party consultant Anita Huffman, the north region coordinator of removal-fill for the Oregon Department of State Lands, inspected the property Jan. 8 and verified the pool had been removed and filled in with soil.

“Based on the surrounding wetland areas that were restored by the (Bundys) per the order,” Huffman wrote in an email on Jan. 17 to the Bundys and Rhett Bernstein, an attorney representing West Linn, “I would expect the restored pool site to revegetate and sustain a typical wetland site.”

Before Thursday proceedings, two residents filed complaints against the Bundys to the city. Assistant City Manager Kirsten Wyatt said the complaints were given to the court and Huffman was made aware of concerns prior to visiting the site.

Neighbors expressed concern that the pool was not completely removed, but instead was broken up and then filled in.

According to Huffman, she was not asked by the court or the city to retest the ground where the pool was. She also said that because the Bundys already paid DSL mitigation credits, they have paid for the impact they created when the pool was constructed.

Troy Bundy said he was made aware of resident complaints on Dec. 27. In response to the complaints, which claimed restoration work had not yet been completed, Bundy provided the city and court with photographs and documentation of the finished construction.

Bundy began restoration work himself — removing tiling, lights and plumbing — in December. He hired a private contractor, which spent approximately four days restoring the site, he said.

“I salvaged as much as I could,” he added. “It was quite the project.”

Payments begin on reduced fine

Since June 2011, the city and the Bundys have been battling over the pool’s removal and remediation without any resolution. In May 2012 the city cited the Bundys for an ongoing code violation, which was retroactive to the time the pool was built in 2009, adding up to $2 million.

They each pleaded not guilty to the violations.

In a Sept. 10, 2012, decision, West Linn Municipal Court Judge Heather Karabeika found the Bundys in violation of the city’s community development code, leaving the Bundys facing a fine of up to $360,000.

Karabeika ruled Sept. 24, 2012, that the Bundys must pay $72,000 in fines or remove their pool and restore their property to its 2009, pre-pool conditions within 90 days for the fine to be reduced to $18,000.

Because the conditions were met, the $18,000 fine was all that remained Jan. 31. Following proceedings with Bernstein and Karabeika, Bundy wrote a $10,000 check. He intends to satisfy the remaining $8,000 in fines after finishing taxes in April. He has six months to complete payments, and a court date has been set for May 2 to ensure a payment plan is in place.

Bundy said he and his family are ready to move on with their lives.

“I’d like to put this chapter behind me. ... This has been going on for a long time. I’m happy to have gone through this process and fought for what I believed in and to have argued my case.”

In addition to their municipal court appearances, the Bundys filed a lawsuit against the city of West Linn on Aug. 28, 2012, in Clackamas County Circuit Court.

The city of West Linn filed its response to the suit Oct. 2, 2012.

In their complaint, the Bundys allege that the conservation easement on their property is illegal and voidable because the city failed to follow state-required notice and public hearing procedures and the city council did not approve the easement.

This argument differs from their city code violation of building a pool in a water resource area.

Bundy said the lawsuit negotiations were stalled until the restoration process was finalized with the city and court. He said he filed the lawsuit during the city court trial to prevent the city from claiming title of his backyard; however, is he ready to drop the case.

“I don’t know if the suit against Clackamas County will continue,” he said, noting negotiations with the city are still under way.

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