Thursday, May 12, 2016


The government is not responsible for everything!

This may seem like a local story but the implications are nationwide.  

When I was shopping for a home here I actually looked in the areas shown as red spots on the map above.  The line of red dots is where the Rockies meet the Plains, they are prime real estate for on reason - the view.  Perched all along the front range foothills are neighborhoods looking out over the rest of the city.  I looked in the Broadmoor Bluff area (small red dot at the bottom) and admitted to the real estate agent that yes, the house had spectacular views of the mountains from the back yard.  She laughed at me... the "view" is the one out over the city.  Well, not for me.

The Rockies are young mountains as mountains go, and as the song goes, slip sliding away. The neighborhoods in question are built on what's known as a landslide escarpment.  The mountains are steep, the plains flat, all those pretty foothills came from somewhere and I'm sure you can figure out where.  Many geologists won't even work in the area:
"We don't work in the Cedar Heights or the Broadmoor areas," he said. "The risk is too high, and we think people who build up there are nuts. You'd think people would get the hint when we refuse, but they don't." 
So here we are, >27 inches of rain last summer and a large number of houses falling off the mountainside.  The homeowners want the federal government to buy them out.  The city notes on the plat documents that a geological hazard report exists but when presented with a two inch high stack of documents related to the sale most homeowners don't read them. Caveat Emptor! The only person responsible for not knowing are the buyers themselves.

Not the federal government's problem.  Think you were wronged? Lied to? Sue the builder, sue your real estate agent, sue the seller, heck you can even sue the city for granting the building permit, but the rest of the nation is not responsible for your poor judgement. 

When I purchased (any of the homes I've owned), I read every document, poured over maps and studies, I could tell you exactly how many feet my house in New Mexico was from the flood zone (600). Most people don't. Why? Because we immunize them against the consequences of their own stupidity. From oceanfront to mountainside it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the hazards.  You bought because you liked the view, the risks came with the view, and chances are that except for the dumbest among us, the thought of the consequences crossed your mind at some point.

Unsolid Ground

Geological Hazard Evaluation

Creeping Landslides

Landslide Information 

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