So we finally “heard back” from County regarding the current status of the pit.
And oh my is their response a doozy, but before I spill those beans I should explain that the only reason we have finally gotten any movement is because I went down to county and was basically a bitch.
Keep in mind this visit to County was this past Tuesday afternoon (10/17/23) and their response came in the following Friday at 12:39pm.
Now I didn’t go down there just for the pit: I needed to pull ownership information for a property on our road as part of the road fixing project with which I’m assisting. Since I was already at the Records office for that bit of info, I then tried to find out what it would take to try to get the permit records for the house, garage and pole barn here at Purgatory actually assigned to the correct address and/or APN — aka assessor’s parcel number.
After an hour trying to find any relevant information via the “self-service kiosks” which exist because Santa Clara County severally restricted the ability of the general public to find information and instead now uses said data as a revenue stream — you want the info you need to pay. Oh and please do not get me started on the changes they made in the last 6 months which restrict access to historical property records so now users can ONLY find current info and must file what amounts to a Freedom of Information request to gain access to anything else.
I’m digressing on this digression: let me get back to the primary issue that needed dealt with: regular readers may remember that the original permit records for the house, garage, barn and whatever else prior to 1988 aren’t assigned correctly because when Doc Richards sold the property back then not only was the land subdivided into lots with many new separate APNs, but Doc Richards then took the original address (4015) with him to the new home he built further up the road. That parcel’s APN doesn’t have the records attached to it either, but deep within the county archives the actual postal address of 4015 exists with our permit records attached to it and county has never corrected the error. Thus we get occasionally get SCC Code Enforcement and/or Planning all up in our business saying our house or the garage or whatever doesn’t have a permit. It’s aggravating and they need to get their ducks in order.
So on this visit when I found I cannot search thorugh their now-unsearchable self-service setup, our only recourse is to deal with the Planning department — or so said the real human employee I asked. Joy.
Thus I went up to the 7th floor to sort out how to fix that and at the same time I tried to reign in my overflowing bitchy attitude about said departments inability to do their jobs in a timely manner. (Remember at this point it had been four months of waiting for them to review the submitted plans for the pit. And that was on top of the four plus years of trying to resolve the issue which include a full year of them simply ghosting us.)
But before I get to my conversation with the Planning people, I learned about a very interesting plot on behalf of County officials that could very well impact a large number of residents across all of Santa Clara County.
My discovery began as I was sitting at “window 3” which if you haven’t been to the County Planning Office before, is just a slice of space at big semi-round desk area where members of the public can meet with various county staff regarding “stuff”. For example when we were in escrow for this place I went down there to pull permit records — which amounted to everything since 1988 because of the issues mentioned earlier as well as to find out what requirements were necessary to replace the rusting well tank and a few other things. That day I met with someone from the Permit Department, a Fire Marshall type and someone from Planning and they all covered a bunch of topics/answered various questions.
So Tuesday as I’m sitting there waiting for someone from the Planning Department, a guy walked behind me and made a comment about “all the fines” on our road. I turned to see who it was. I had never met the person so I said “that’s partly why I’m here….sorting out the pit.” But then, suddenly worried that there were apparently other issues on our property besides the pit, I asked what other fines/violations were against our property. To which the guy said that he didn’t know of any but he was just speaking of all the issues he knew about.
Now since I’m part of a slow buy steady effort to repair bits of our road, my interest was perked and I started asking more questions. It turns out this guy is someone I had corresponded with over the last few years regarding a variety of issues: trying to get help with drainage issues on our road, trying to get help getting rid of the derelict VW on the property across the road from us and across from the pit; and a few other things. I had never actually met him, but he apparently knew me by sight. Not creepy….No no….Not at all. And that is when I learned that there is a rather nefarious plot brewing over at Santa Clara County.
But now I have really digressed from the original purposed for this post which is to highlight just how asininely nitpicky the SCC Department of Planning is, so I will have to cover the possible nefarious plot being hatched over at County in a later post. For now, let me finally cover my interaction with the Planning person and what resulted.
So as I’m sitting at “Window 3” a member of the Planning staff comes out to meet with me. I got my “request” and it was Darrel Wong himself who came out. Yes the same Darrel Wong we’ve been dealing with on and off since the beginning of this saga five years ago and the same Darrel Wong who for five years keeps excusing all the delays on the part of his department with the same tired refrain that his “department is understaffed” and thus we just have to suck it up.
The end result of the mini-meeting was two fold: first he he told me the head of the Permitting department might be able to help with the whole “our permits for Purgatory are in purgatory” issue and ….drum roll please…..
He promised that his very own department (Planning) would finish their review of our application by the end of the next week. Which would only be two and a half months past their original target date!
So imagine my surprise when just a few days later I got an email notification which included the following:
This email is to notify you that review is completed, and a resubmittal is required for DEV23-2037.
Record #: DEV23-2037
Opened Date: 7/18/2023
………blah blah blah……..
The comment letter is available for your review on Santa Clara County’s InSite Public Portal. Please log in and click on the link for the application. Click on Record Info and Attachments. It will be last document uploaded and the name begins with Comments.
If you have questions about a specific comment, please contact that reviewer directly. Contact information for each reviewer is provided.
………blah blah blah……..
Permit Center Staff
Someone named “Jesse T” reviewed the drawings and the comments he made are so incredibly nitpicky we are at a loss for words. I’m left wondering if this is retribution for being so grumpy with his boss….
Example number one:
Those words “legalized fill to remain as is” have to be inserted in five or six times because that’s what Jesse the Martinet wants. No changes to the actual plans, just changes to the verbiage.
And this sort of things crops up in several other spots: like say a table’s terminology and formatting that isn’t to his liking.
And my very favorite of his notes that just make me want to scream into a void:
Seriously? “The construction route”?!?! The PIT is next to THE ROAD. How stupid are these people? Are the so incompetent at their jobs that they completely miss this big grey strip marked “ROAD” right next to the area that is/was the pit? How else are trucks going to reach the site but via the road? Are we expected to drone in the dirt in one gallon containers?
Also can they not read the elevation information and the fact that the pit is still BELOW the road grade?
And the last two “notes” are simply asinine. This dude wants to know where we are going to park the construction equipment and where the port-a-potties are going….
And as a sad end note to this lovely bitchfest regarding the Santa Clara County Department of Planning, it may indeed be the case that the document portal the department relies upon strips out PDF layers: I’m waiting for confirmation, but if this is true County is either not aware of the issue or simply doesn’t care and is more than happy to blame their “customers”. I am so not going to be surprised if the later turns out to be true.