How can I fix my neighborhood's erosion problem?
September 4, 2006 6:41 PM Subscribe
What are the best ways to fix a neighborhood's erosion problems, and how do you convince builders and developers to take those steps?
posted by ND¢ to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
I bought a newly constructed home in a new neighborhood two months ago. Two other couples have also purchased homes in the neighborhood. The neighborhood is being built on a hill. My house is one of the homes at the bottom of the hill. The other neighbors are at the top.
The soil is red clay. My yard is sodded, and my neighbors' yards are sodded. Other than that, the entire neighborhood is made up of various homes in various degrees of construction, and a big hill made of red clay.
The neighbors behind me have a retaining wall made of railroad ties with a fence on top. I have a treated lumber retaining wall halfway through my yard, with a fence surrounding it. The other neighbor has a retaining wall and a fence.
Being summer, we have had several intense thunder storms. During these thunder storms, one neighbor developed a sink hole in their yard. The other had the red clay wash away from the sides of their fence, as have I, and I have had mud from all the home sites cover a great deal of my yard. It comes from under my fence, and through a "silk fence" that my home builder has strung between my property and the property next door.
We got over two inches of rain this afternoon in a two hour period, and the neighbor's railroad tie retaining wall behind me started spouting water and sand all over my backyard (apparently they back-filled with sand rather than gravel). I have also had additional mud coming down from under my fence and under the silk fence. The neighbors with the sinkhole have not gotten that repaired, and the neighbors above me that have the railroad tie retaining wall's fence is about to fall over because they have lost so much soil to erosion.
After it stopped raining, my wife and I went to talk to our neighbors, and we decided to get the subdivision's developer, our builders, and the real estate agent together this week to see if we can get the problems fixed. I talked to the developer tonight who said that he has already deeded the property over to the builders, and that it is their fault for not putting up enough silk fence, but that he would come to the meeting as long as the builders were there.
What I need from all those that have been nice enough to read all this are ideas about how to fix the problem, and how to make these people take those actions. What do neighborhoods on hills do to not have mudslides when it rains? What should we ask for? Secondly, how do we make them do this? Whose responsibility is it? Who licenses these people (this is in Columbia, SC) and will they listen if we complain? Is the developer responsible? Do yards come with warranties? Do retaining walls? If so, how do you enforce them? Both myself and my neighbors keep being told that it will get fixed, but nothing has been done. It seems as if the builders do not wish to do anything unless they absolutely have to.
Finally, for all the "get a lawyer immediately" people. I am a lawyer. I graduated from law school last year, and I know nothing about this area of law. I also don't have the requisite trial observations to be able to represent anyone in court without a lawyer who does there with me (my work does not require me to go to court). There are several people in my life who seem to think that merely because I am a lawyer that I can wave a magic wand and fix all this. I suppose if the meeting falls through, that taking someone to court will be my next step, but I don't know who to sue, what cause of action to sue them for, or even where the damn court house is (pretty sad, I know).
So, if you have any experience with collectively making people do what they should have done to begin with, or with erosion, or with builders, or with developers, I would love some advice. The meeting will be one evening this week, and I would like to have some ideas of what to ask for, and how to make it happen by then. Thanks in advance. As you can tell, this is a pretty sucky situation.