Jesse’s Story of the Day

Bothell Septic Dispute Has Homeowner Angry


Jessica Reaves had less than 24 hours’ notice that a developer would drop this so called historical home just a few feet from her driveway.

”They came in with a bulldozer and cut down and the house was moved into place within days”, Reaves says.

The house actually looks like it is history.

And all Jessica can see is chain link fencing and broken windows.

That’s not the worst of it. The City of Bothell says the contractors moving the house cut into her septic system.

Her ladies room is less than secure.

“I can’t sell the house, I can’t rent the house, I have no water so I have to go to a friend’s house to take a shower”.

Now Jessica’s taking a financial bath.

This all started two years ago- when developer James Godfrey had to move this historical home called the Sorenson House to build his Chateau at Bothell Landing retirement community.

Jessica couldn’t believe what she was witnessing, “That’s when we all noticed that the drain field was pouring out the side of the newly excavated earth.”

The drain field is the part of a septic system that removes contaminants from the liquids that come from the septic tank.

If a drain field is destroyed, the home is considered uninhabitable.

“The only way I can fix it is if the house got moved off it, and the ground was restored, dirt was brought back in”, Reaves says.

So how did this happen in the first place?

The 2014 plans Godfrey filed for the Sorenson house has the drain field drawn but not listed or recorded.

And in a February letter to City Council, Godfrey wrote that the drain field boundaries are not located on any maps or drawings.

The city says that is not true.

Because in 2007 he entered a drain field easement agreement with the owner previous to Jessica.

And the drain field on this record is perfectly recorded and listed.

“So the permit applicant needs to make sure that those easements and those various factors are put on their application at the time they apply”, says

Bothell Assistant City Manager Peter Troedessen.

He also says the city never investigated the drain field before approving the permit.

Meanwhile Jessica is running out of money so she can’t fight a legal battle against her deep pocketed neighbor.

The city of Bothell fined Godfrey 7500 dollars.

He is offering-to hook her up to his sewer for free.

But after being red-tagged for months, Jessica isn’t feeling thankful or trustworthy.

“I mean, my home’s been red-tagged for 2 years. I’ve had no water for 7 months now.  I want him to admit that he caused massive damage, and then I would like something that he would give me some security that he’s not going to do it again.”

Godfrey can’t do much more at this point. He’s done what the city has asked. He’s moved the sewer to the property line.

But Jessica feels that Godfrey should compensate her for damaging her drain field and for the trouble it’s caused her.

I will let you know if either side budges.

Godfrey’s hearing on the violations is set for next month.

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