Judge approves plan to stabilize Mount Adams hillside

CINCINNATI -- Work to repair a slipping Mount Adams hillside is now underway.

A Hamilton County judge found Metropolitan Design and Development's plans to stabilize the hillside between Oregon and Baum streets are satisfactory and said work could begin Wednesday.

Attorneys for the city and company met privately with the judge for about 30 minutes before announcing they had reached a deal. 

"We expect them to present their drawings that are consistent with what we have articulated to them," city attorney Marion Haynes said. "We've made very clear to them, and we've made clear to them in front of the judge, what our expectation is."

A worker was using a backhoe at the site by 2 p.m. A permit for a new wall was issued later that afternoon.

The developer's lawyer, Brad Helms, said the company still isn't admitting fault, though they do plan to get the work done as soon as possible.

"The court has ruled that the project was Metropolitan's responsibility," he said. "There's a lot more that has to happen in terms of causation and ultimate liability for this project."

Judge Tom Heekin had ordered the company to shore up its plan to fix the hillside and show it had taken steps toward hiring a contractor by noon Wednesday.

Heekin wrote that he'd find the company in contempt if they didn't follow the order.

The city took Metropolitan to court last week after a landslide between Oregon and Baum streets damaged two Baum Street homes. City officials said Metropolitan had done work at 406 Baum Street without a permit and said that location was the epicenter of the landslide. The company submitted a plan to the city but did not accept liability for the landslide.

The landslide has pinched a sewer line running between Baum and Oregon and has left residents above the landslide, on Oregon, worried about what will happen to their homes.

Peter Burrell, an attorney representing some of the nearby homeowners, said the process has taken too long.

"We've been getting jerked around for ... weeks, and it took this to get MDD to fix the problem," Burrell said.

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