Skip to comments.Man sues city over seizure of house with underground shelter
Posted on 05/09/2012 9:13:13 AM PDT by Kartographer
Two years ago today, Joe Del Rio was awakened to find city officials at the door of his lifelong home in East Austin, demanding entry. Before it was over, the Police Department's SWAT team and the Fire Department had been deployed, and Del Rio said he was detained and questioned for about 10 hours because of what officials called a multilevel bunker-like space under the house with suspicious and unusual materials.
After the city billed Del Rio in April for about $90,000 in repairs it said were critical to make the home on Canterbury Street safe, Del Rio sued the City of Austin last week for what his lawyers say was a heavy-handed and unconstitutional seizure of his property without compensation.
(Excerpt) Read more at statesman.com ...
I want my neighbors to be prepared. This guy’s crime is jealousy from scum sucking leaches it seems.
Pays to keep your mouth SHUT!
Security is all about what your enemy doesn’t know.
It also pays to pay attention to property lines.
Apparently this guy dug under his neighbour’s yard and that’s probably how the city found out.
Superficially, I want to see what pretrial discovery turns up.
“...collection of about a dozen firearms...”
At least they called it a collection and not an arsenal.
Looks like another massive governmental over-reach. Par for the course these days.
Kind of hard to hide all your preparedness from neighbors;they will somewhat rightfully be suspicious of concealed digging.
If someone had noticed or reported John Wayne Gacy and a few others odd excavating there might have been less unsolved murders.
Spunds like most husbands...I can do it myself.
Those pics are useless, Pancake on a bunny head kind of bullshit. He went straight down?
I’d rather take my chances with the S hitting the F topside than to hide out in that... *shelter*. Yuck.
Hope that standard of shelter construction isn’t par for the course for serious preppers.
Yep looking for reasons because they didn't really have one to start with.
Crimaliens do this under our border ...and get in less trouble for it.
[ It also pays to pay attention to property lines.
Apparently this guy dug under his neighbours yard and thats probably how the city found out. ]
Then it should be between him and his neighbor with the government arresting him/ fining him on behalf of his neighbor, not as a function of the government into itself.
But, at the source, there is a time line.
Apparently this has been an on-going issue since 2008. It wasn't a sudden thing.
Not that I'm all that crazy about forcing people to get permits to work on their houses, either. As long as they're not creating a public nuisance, who cares?
Undercutting a neighbor’s house is pretty screwed up.
Really. I would rather go and live out in the woods.
Maybe he told the neighbor to go pound sand?????. If a neighbor was going this on my property and did not stop after beig told to I would be calling the authorities also.
Do you have inside information not presented in the article?
I see nothing in this schematic indicating that there was even an inch excavated that wasn't directly underneath his own house...
"two 55- gallon drums found" - geese, I have two of those that I got with intentions of converting to rain barrels. (note they didn't find anything IN THE DRUMS!) Guess I'd better get rid of mine before I make headlines.)
On what basis did they have the right to fill up that space with concrete and put him out of his home? He worked security for the town council for 22 years. Did he 'pee' someone off? sounds like a petty get-even abuse of power. Maybe he thwarted some lucrative schemes?
They totally took away his house and rendered it worthless.
Please point out where it says that he undercut his neighbor’s house.
Not hardly. My 40ft x 20ft SU (Safe Unit) is quite different:
Scroll down to get an idea of what it can look like.
Here’s the problem with building a shelter with a bunch of neighbors around.
The Twilight Zone - The Shelter
Some of those photographs look to be of construction techniques very common to obamavilles all across the country. Tried and true.
My wife gave me that exact card a few years ago.
I framed it and put it next to the shop entrance...see it every day. 8-)
OMG - He had firearms, car batteries, propane tanks, inert grenades and a hole!
What horrors lurk in the garages of Americans everywhere?
Why do they call it a complex? Why not make it sound more sinister and call it a compound?
Exactly! There is a lot more to it than the part we read shows.
I wouldn’t do it, but it’s not my property, but if you look at the pictures I don’t see any part of the bunk that could possible be larger than the house.
BTW there was an article that came out recently about a new trend for wealthy people to build modest-looking homes with extensive underground facilities. Apparently one of the owners of such a home is Mitt Romney.
Hey, two 55 gallon drums for rain water harvesting.
Lead acid batteries as part of his future solar system.
They should have given him a green house award...:^)
> I was going to say, What sort of person ratted out his neighbor on this?
You wouldn’t believe how petty some neighbors can be.
My next door neighbor neighbor filed a complaint against me, because my wife maintained a bird feeder. The complaint stated that the birds were too noisy for allow him to sleep on Sunday mornings. I had to pay a $75 dollar fine for maintaining a vermin attractor and I had to remove the bird feeder. (By the way, there are no rats in my neighborhood complements of the 13 cats on just my block alone.)
Loose lips sink ships.
Well, that stinks. It would take a lot more than bird song to bother me, but my mother has a similar problem. Just one bird, who chirps his song every day from dawn to dusk. Loudly. Didn’t bother me, but I was only there a few hours...
I had remove a humming bird feeder but that was because my cats learned to how to catch them. They got one, and I rescued another, so the feeder went.
Pity. I loved watching the hummingbirds.
Thanks to the pics in post #8, I withdraw my statements.
Over-stimulated & under resourced.....(homeowner....not me!)
I think I might be tempted to throw a handful of birdseed under the guys window on the occasional evening.
So what? Here in Texas he could have a 1,000 guns all loaded and none registered (all acquired from private sellers) and still be within the law. I actually feel sorry for him having only a dozen or so.
Wow! Very nice.
Del Rio inherits the house, with a 50s or 60s era "bomb shelter." He expands on it some (before the age of required permits for storage sheds, doghouses, birdfeeders and rain gauges, and restrictions even on using collected rainwater for your plants), puts in air conditioning, and buys some legal firearms during that time. Hey, it's not that great a neighborhood...
Someone tells the Po-leece that he's got "a bunker, and guns, and suspicious barrels" and APD calls out the SWAT team, and the Bomb Squad, and a Central Command Post, and the Fire Department, and, finally, the code-enforcers (got to have some probably cause, ya know). "Hey, this could be bigger than Waco!"
One dynamic entry later, they realize that they've got a 72-year-old law abiding citizen, retired Air Force Reservist and former City of Austin employee, a harmless hole in the ground, legal guns, empty barrels, and lots of egg on their collective face.
From there on out, it's pure police-state CYA.
"The building's going to cave in tomorrow! Fill his basement with four or five truckloads of concrete!" (Er, 'scuse me, uh, it hasn't fallen in yet, after all these years -- what's the rush?)
"Old car batteries present a hazard! Build a $10,000 double chain-link fence and put scary signs on it!"
"Don't forget to cut off the electricity and water and evict him, then send the guy a bill for the whole screw-up and dare him to sue us."
I'm an ex-cop, and generally "pro-police," but you only have to be on-scene at an everyday automobile accident investigation here to see that APD is "us versus them" on way too many steroids. We're all guilty until proven innocent, and then just suspicious...
An attempt to reduce the property tax assessment perhaps?
I don’t see where he did anything wrong. He even hired a structural engineer to verify if a retaining wall design was required and the PE didn’t think the house structure was unsound.
Only thing abnormal was the owner had been a security guard for the Austin City Council and had retired from that job.
It appears the structure was built directly beneath his house and not directly under the foundation stemwalls or their surcharge.