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Backyard pool battle draws to a close

Bundys drop lawsuit against city of West Linn


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Troy and Gina Bundy removed the pool in their backyard per the municipal court judge's order.It appears the water is settling between a West Linn family and the city over a pool built in a protected wetlands area.

Troy and Gina Bundy have dropped their lawsuit against the city after losing a battle over the swimming pool, which was installed without proper permits in their backyard and resulted in the threat of a $2 million fine.

The pool and a patio were installed without a permit in a sensitive water resource area in 2009.

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 municipal court last fall that they installed the pool and the 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, then to Oregon’s Land Use Board of Appeals. The denial was upheld each time.

The judge ruled that the pool had to go. A settlement was reached earlier this year that reduced the Bundys’ fine from $72,000 to $18,000 with the removal of the pool. The pool is now gone and the Bundys have paid $10,000.

Along with the municipal court hearings, the Bundys filed a lawsuit against the city of West Linn on Aug. 28 in Clackamas County Circuit Court. The city of West Linn filed its response to the suit Oct. 2.

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. Troy Bundy said he filed the lawsuit during the city court trial to prevent the city from claiming title of his backyard.

In an agreement reached last month with the city, the Bundys will need to only pay $5,000 of the remaining $8,000.

However, they cannot appeal the judge’s ruling as a stipulation. On top of that, they agreed to not challenge the conservation easement on their property. If the Bundys violate the easement again and don’t fix it within 30 days, there will be a $5,000 fine for each violation.

The Bundys have poured a large sum of money into the pool installation and its aftermath.

Troy Troy Bundy listed past and future expenses at $100,000 for pool installation for which he took out a loan, a planting plan and permits for revision at about $3,500, a state fine of $3,000, the purchase of $2,500 in mitigation credits from the wetland bank, a projected cost of $15,000 to $20,000 to remove the pool and restore the property, and an estimated $65,000 in attorney fees.



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  • 25 Nov 2014

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