The Culvert- Our first hurdle

Over the course of the next 6 months, the culvert will become our biggest regret buying our property.

Let me back up to pre-sale of our property.  In the HAR description, it stated “Culvert must be installed per county specifications.”  We thoroughly read the county page and from everything we could figure, the county will install the culvert as long as the owner buys the pipe.  Just to make sure we understood correctly, we called the county.  The girl was super nice, asked if it was residential or commercial, I told her residential and she reiterated what was on the website.  The county would install the culvert.  Great!  We bought the land…without having driven on it.  We jumped the ditch (a very DEEP ditch) to walk the property.

One week after the purchase, we called the county and said we were ready for the culvert installation.  We were instructed to fill out the paperwork online and go mark where we wanted the culvert.  Make sure to clearly label the address so the county knows they are in the right place.

Excited to finally be building our dream…we did exactly as we were told.

Wade filled the paperwork the next day.  This is January.  About 5 minutes later, the county called.

We had a special piece of land…our property required a commercial grade, box culvert and the county would NOT be installing it.

Wait…what????  But we called and verified BEFORE buying the land!!!!  Yes…but we did not give the EXACT address when we called.  We asked a generic question which the generic answer is that the county installs culverts…unless it is over 60″ diameter, in which case it is considered a commercial install and the county does not do that.

Taking a deep breath, we decided to move forward.  I mean, really, how much can a box culvert cost?  Surely…not more than 10K right???  WRONG.



Hindsight is 20/20.  Knowing what we know now, we might have been able to find something a bit cheaper…but not by much.  Most places that sell box culverts do not sell to the public…they are commercial culverts!  The ones that do sell to the public were giving us quotes of 20K+ JUST.FOR.THE.BOXES.

After spending weeks trying to figure out what to do…we were at a loss.  The cheapest we figured it would cost to gain drive-able access to the land was close to 40K.  Wade had talked to an attorney about the sellers who we bought the land from being responsible for not disclosing in the description exactly what it meant about the “culvert” and “county specs.”

UPDATE: We found out from the county some more information about our property.  It seems that the gentleman that originally owned the farm land with grazing cows (in the 90’s) decided to break it up into 14 lots of 2.5 acres each with his house on 5 acres and the lot next to him was 4.5 acres (which will become ours).  The county told him with the development of the lots, the drainage would be an issue.  They tried to work out several different options…possibly an alley with back entrance so the drainage ditch would not be disturbed, or have the neighbors share driveways to have fewer obstructions in the ditch…the owner did not want to do anything the county suggested.  In the end, he said it would be up to the buyers to do what the county wanted…install commercial box culverts.  The lots sold like hot cakes.  Every single one of them.  And then came the first houses.  The county saw what an issue the drainage was going to become so the first homeowners were able to work something out.  They would buy the culvert, but the county would help with some of the install.  It was an all or none thing…so the property owners that agreed had nice box culverts put in for a fraction of what we paid.  The others have sold off the land (without disclosing what it would take to gain access to the property).  After ours…there are still 3 lots that need culverts.  When you call the county now about installing residential culverts, they ask your location just in case it happens to be on our street…

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