August 23, 2013 Print

Tales of Tyranny: Cheryl Eberting and the Phantom Lake Flood

Cheryl Eberting lives on the shores of Phantom Lake in Bellevue, Washington. Like many homeowners, she just wants to be able to transform her property into her dream home. She had enough foresight to purchase three lots next to her home, intending to use them either as a possible investment or as areas where her children or grandchildren could build homes for themselves.

Phantom Lake has a very low slope, so the water level is in a delicate balance. Despite this fact, the City of Bellevue has decided to direct all the storm water from the surrounding area into the lake. Their decision would not be so problematic if they managed the outflow from the lake to keep the water in some type of balance.

But they don't. 

The City has chosen to let the water level rise and flood many of the properties along the lake front – including Cheryl’s property. 

We are all aware of the potential hazards nature can cause. But what can you do when your local government decides to be the agent of harm? As one citizen or even a handful of citizens, how can you prevent a local government from devaluing your property by actively allowing it to flood?

To make the problem worse, the City of Bellevue has told the property owners that they can no longer remodel their homes or develop any of the formerly buildable lots because of “wetland buffers” and “setback” rules. If the City of Bellevue just managed the water level of Phantom Lake properly, this would not be a problem. Instead, they just keeping on collecting property taxes. 


Glen Morgan

Property Rights Director

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