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Lake County, CA, Self-Storage Owner Plagued With Storm-Runoff Issues

Self-storage owner Ronn Westhart says his Arrow Space Storage property in Lower Lake, Calif., has been repeatedly damaged by runoff water and mud during storms, but he has received little assistance from neighboring property owners or Lake County officials in combatting the problem.

February 4, 2015

3 Min Read
Lake County, CA, Self-Storage Owner Plagued With Storm-Runoff Issues

Self-storage owner Ronn Westhart says his Arrow Space Storage property in Lower Lake, Calif., has been repeatedly damaged by runoff water and mud during storms, but he has received little assistance from neighboring property owners or Lake County officials in combatting the problem.

Westhart contends his property has sustained damage four times in the last 10 years, including a mud slide from the hill above the storage facility. In that instance, mud pushed up the side of the building, nearly reaching the circuit breakers to the storage units. The corner of one unit remains stained from the damage, and Westhart keeps a dehumidifier in the office to combat mold where water streams in, according to the source.

"The water comes across this little community roadway that I have, and it just comes down into my property," Westhart told the source. "On a number of occasions, I've had water come down in such volumes that it rushes into my door, and it flows into the adjacent office, into the warehouse, and out their front door. It's gotten to the point where this is unacceptable."

With neighboring property owners being uncooperative in cleanup efforts or preventive maintenance, Westhart turned to the county for assistance, but he said officials have also been unhelpful. "The county has ordinances here that property owners have to maintain the runoff from their properties onto other properties. The California state legislature passed laws to protect the downside properties," he said. "I'm not asking [the county] to clean this up, I'm just asking them to mitigate what the statutes say they have to do, and they're not doing it."

Westhart appeared before the Lake County Board of Supervisors on Jan. 6 to speak about the issue but has not heard from anyone, he said. Among the officials he has contacted is Richard Coel, director of community development, but Coel said the county can’t move forward on the complaint until it witnesses the runoff in person.

"We need to catch it when there's a storm event significant enough to cause a runoff so that we can track it back,” Coel told the source. “We have so many different code-violation cases, and this one we're not sure it's civil. It's difficult to determine if we're not seeing the problem as it's occurring."

Among the problems affecting Arrow Space Storage is Kugelman Street, a privately maintained county road. The road runs parallel to the storage facility, which sits about 1,000 feet from the street. "If there's an issue where it's an old road, it's a lot more challenging to address," Coel said. “However, if there are problems that the department can tackle, they'll be ready to act. If there's a stormwater violation, we certainly will address that."

While Westhart has waited months for the county to intervene, he’s spent thousands of dollars on a new roof and drains, he told the source. He has other plans he’d like to implement but wants to wait for officials to assess his property. "I was hoping the county would come out," he said. "I've already had a meeting with my contractor on what we need to do to get this cleaned up, but to date, I've had no response from the county."

Sources:

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