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Old San Juan Road Homeowners Sue City for Flood Damage

San Juan Capistrano homeowners Guy Glaser and Letty Bassler-Glaser are seeking more than $25,000.

The owners of a $2.5-million home near El Camino Real Park are suing the city for more than $25,000 to recover costs associated with the flood damage their home sustained in December. They say the city's storm drains don't allow for adequate drainage.

The property, at 31502 Old San Juan Rd., owned by Guy Glaser and Letty Bassler-Glaser, "was damaged when water, mud, rocks and debris invaded their home," a suit filed Wednesday in Orange County Superior Court states.

In the suit, the Glasers allege that the city was aware and had "constructive notice of the dangerous condition caused by the [drainage system] since October 2004," when flooding occurred in the same vicinity.

The Glasers are seeking more than $25,000 in damages but have yet to determine a concrete dollar amount, their attorney Craig M. Collins said.

Their home was one of many in San Juan Capistrano that flooded just before Christmas, when about 10 inches of rain fell in less than one week. City staffers have estimated that the torrential downpours spurred 12 mudslides. Residents in low-lying neighborhoods such as the Glasers' reported as much as 1 foot of water inside their homes. 

In their suit, the Glasers say their home is next to a hillside from which water runs off and funnels into nearby city-owned storm drains. They want the city to pay for their loss in property value, costs to repair the flood-related damage, costs for engineers and geologists to the analyze the damage to their property, emotional distress and their attorney fees.

Alberto Barrera March 10, 2011 at 11:01 PM
Is this a joke?
rick lyons March 11, 2011 at 12:27 AM
No, not at all. Would it be a joke to you? Please keep in mind that the City has not done anything to stop the flooding in seven years. Would you want a foot of water in your home every year? I think these people have been very patient with the City. I do not blame them. Enough is enough.
Steve Behmerwohld March 11, 2011 at 04:37 AM
So the Glaser's have had a foot of water inside their house for seven years in a row? Have they ever reported the situation to the City before now? I can understand water and mud, but if they had rocks and debris "invading" their house, maybe they should have shut the door. If the creek overflowed and hundreds of people were flooded, would that be the city's fault too? I live very near San Juan Creek and have flood insurance. Do the Glaser's?
Alberto Barrera March 11, 2011 at 04:44 AM
Old San Juan Rd. is a gated community. Do you know what runs less than 50ft away from all of those houses? Thats right, the Trabuco creek! I have been around that area several times on my way up the Shea trail and by the looks of the location, those homeowners should have already known that the area was prone to either flooding or mudslides. In this case, it was both. My guess is that either the drains were clogged, or the pressure in the drain(s) caused by the creek forced the water back up again. The city should not be held responsible for damages that these people can clearly afford to pay for themselves.
rick lyons March 11, 2011 at 04:55 AM
Alberto, I am not speaking for the Glaser's I don't even know them. However, I have seen when it floods at the end of the culdesac where their home is located. The storm drains are poorly designed by the City.
rick lyons March 11, 2011 at 04:57 AM
Steve, the home is above the flood zone at the end of Old San Juan Creek. Unfortunately, the home that you are in Steve is only seperated from the creek by a levee. Which, as you know does not have a good track record, which is one of the reasons that you have flood insurance.
Alberto Barrera March 11, 2011 at 05:46 AM
We're going to need to see those design plans.
rick lyons March 11, 2011 at 05:52 AM
Alberto, they are available at City Hall.

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