Board won’t grant exception to homeowner for water connection
by Alan Reed
Jun 14, 2006 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A homeowner who believed he had access to the Lake Barkley Water lines was told Tuesday night he would have to pay nearly $1,500 after learning his recently purchase home was not on the system’s lines.

Mary Joe Bryant, a Trigg County realtor, told the board that a client had recently purchased a home and the seller had assured she and her client the home had county water lines on the property.

The buyer, a man she identified as “Tim” recently purchased a house in an older sub-division. The seller of the house assured Bryant and her client that the property had county water lines buried beneath, though a survey of the area made the claim to be inaccurate, she said.

Terry Goins, district superintendent for the system, described the house as being 400 feet from the nearest water main, with another home between. The second home owner had consented to provide an easement for a water pipe at the cost of $2,000.

Melissa Milton advised the commissioners to uphold the regulations of their governing tariff. These regulations called for the district to lay pipe to a water main no more than 50 feet away. To do otherwise would make a precedent that would make an exception in other cases in the future.

Board Chairman Billy Joe McNichols said he believed that while exceptions may have been made in the past, that the commission had to abide by its tariff. “In my opinion, it is a cut-and-dry deal. It is not our place to do what they ask.”

Bryant and her client appeared before the commission to explain their situation. She felt that he purchased the home in good faith that there was access to Lake Barkley water on the property. Currently, there is only a cistern.

She added that he client is disabled and does not hold a steady, fulltime job. He depends on odd jobs from local farmers and assisting a neighbor with chores as well as a social services check for income, and could not afford to purchase the easement.

Goins proposed an alternative routing of pipes to reach the home, at the owner’s expense, $1,456. This was also not feasible for him, the board was told.

Commissioner Stan Bremer encouraged Bryant and her client to seek legal advice to void the sales contract. “It seems fraudulent to me. There should be some way to get out of it.”

Bryant said that her client’s limited means prevented him from getting an attorney, and his previous house had already been sold. “He really doesn’t have money for an attorney, and there is no guarantee he would win.”

“The seller was adamant that the pipes were there, and Buddy Gish said it was there as well,” she told the board. She identified Gish as one of the leading figures in bringing Lake Barkley water to the neighborhood.

The commission urged Bryant and the homeowner to look for other sources of funding to get water, though the avenues readily available had been exhausted, according to her client.

Bryant asked for help interpreting the sub-division’s restriction and covenant, citing a passage that read, “All lots are subject to easement for the purposes of providing utility service.”

Goins said that it was difficult for a water commission to interpret and enforce property laws, and a lawyer would be more capable of assisting with that concern.

For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.
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