This page will probably be more of a very brief introductory essay with an index to a set of articles which will consist mostly of stories on this topic.
THIS IS A STUB ARTICLE WHICH WILL EXPAND ON THE FOLLOWING TOPICS:
I got the idea for this kind of article from talking to Mike about his recent work at the architecture firm he works for. One case involves a property owner who wants to do some building but there is an easement on the property. The guy went to get his building permit approved and the guys in the city office pointed out the existence of the easement.
It turns out that the easement is for some city utilities that are no longer in use. And the city has no plans to use that area for any utilities in the future. The easement is therefore totally obsolete.
The city office that had the easement requested that the easement be eliminated from the property.
The planning department made approval of the plans dependent upon the fulfillment of the other office’s request to eliminate the easement.
The property owner put in a request to remove the easement.
Some requests for similar changes can be taken care of by an over-the-counter transaction.
Long story happens. (Need to get the details again).
The result is:
A request to remove an easement that is put in place by the city has to be approved all the way up to the City Council. And no, this cannot be taken care of easily just because the department that has the benefit of the easement is the one who is the source of the request to eliminate it.
So a $500 change becomes a year-long $30,000 nightmare of paperwork.
When Mike told me this story, I told him my dad’s story of when he was working at Cape Canaveral on the Atlas / Centaur project and the change in supplier for the $3.00 electrical plug cost a thousand engineering man hours.
I’m sure we can get lots of similar stories of government regulations that turn out to be, in effect, shakedowns for fees and taxes. (Like the entire Space Shuttle program, which deserves its own lengthy article.)