A drainage pipe built 40 to 50 years ago traverses the property, in place of a drainage creek bed, Corliss said. The city has no recorded easement on the property.
The pipe still functions, Corliss said, and is in serviceable condition. The area was not included in the city's priority lists for drainage upgrades, as judged by the city's Stormwater Master Plan.
Neighbors and their representatives have argued that the building permit was issued improperly, and that no construction should be allowed. Among the reasons: The lot is too small to meet zoning codes.
Corliss said that provisions in the building code would ``reasonably protect'' the drainage pipe. The zoning code also considers the lot ``buildable,'' because it fits under a ``special grandfather clause.''
Neighbors also support having the public purchase the lot, to protect the drainage area.
Corliss: ``The city does not have a program to identify these locations, nor a budget to purchase all available easements.''
Regardless of whether the new residence would exacerbate drainage problems for other residences, the city's code currently does not require drainage studies for individual residential construction. If problems do arise, Corliss said, such problems ``may result in civil liability between private property owners.''