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NKY homeowners worry their street is sliding

Don't Waste Your Money
Posted at 10:39 AM, Jun 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-14 23:18:21-04

Candy Stephens noticed something disconcerting recently on her quiet street in Fort Wright, Kentucky.

"This tree started to lean, it was up straighter," the longtime homeowner said.

The tree across from her home on Fort Henry Drive was leaning, while further inspection found the road in front of it cracking.

"It's a beautiful neighborhood," Stephens said. But she says if you look closer you'll find crooked trees, crooked telephone poles, crooked sheds, and cracks everywhere.

"My deck is going down and sliding toward the hole," she said, pointing to the deck behind her home that is pulling away from the sidewalk.

"I noticed sticking my foot in there that it has slid a half inch very recently" she said.

Her backyard shed, meantime, is moving away from the driveway. And a telephone pole is leaning, pulling the electric wire tight, and away from her house. You can even see the grommet that holds the wire pulling out of the brick.

Is New Construction to Blame?

Stephens wonders if a new home construction project down the hill is speeding up the sliding. The City of Fort Wright has approved the construction of several new homes on Pickett Drive, the next block over, across a steep gully.

"Things started happening very rapidly when we had the earth moving equipment and the vibration and the thumping," she said."

Fort Wright's Mayor referred us to the City Attorney, Todd McMurtry, for comment. 

McMurtry says while he feels for Stephen's predicament, he says hill slides like this are common all over  Northern Kentucky and the Cincinnati area, due to all the hills and clay, rather than rock, below the surface.

He blames Mother Nature, not recent home construction.

"It is a part of life in this region," he said. "Theres a lot of interesting soil in this area, and we've had a lot of rain this spring, which has triggered hill movement everywhere."

McMurtry says extensive engineering and boring tests by both the City and sewer district, SD1, concluded new home construction is not causing the slippage.

"The permitting that has occurred for the development is not the cause, and everything we've seen suggests it is not the cause of the problem," he said.

In addition, he said some older decks that are slipping could not be built today, as they don't meet current code for construction on hilly slopes..

So for now all Stephens can do is wait and watch the cracks that appear to be expanding by the day.

She hopes to involve other neighbors, and together discuss their next plan of action.

What You can Do

Land slippage is common in many hilly neighborhoods, If you are also concerned about slippage, and your community won't help, the best thing is to speak with an attorney, but also speak with all your neighbors.

If you get a bunch of homeowners together, there can be power in numbers, especially if you go en masse to city hall, or all chip in to hire a lawyer.

That way you may get results, and you don't waste your money.

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