Judge: Slipping Mount Adams hillside needs emergency stabilization

Posted at 5:27 PM, May 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-12 17:44:41-04

CINCINNATI -- A judge ordered a developer to act "with all due haste" Friday to stabilize a slipping Mount Adams hillside.

A private developer built the retaining wall that collapsed in Mount Adams last week and sent a hillside sliding into a pair of Baum Street homes, according to the city of Cincinnati. Art Dahlberg, Cincinnati's buildings and inspections director, said work was done at 406 Baum Street without a permit and called that the epicenter of the landslide that damaged the two homes.

Without a permit, the city couldn't inspect the plans. 

City officials had set an ultimatum of noon Friday for Metropolitan Design and Development to hire a licensed contractor to stabilize the hillside. 

The company submitted a stabilization plan to the city Department of Buildings and Inspections, but did not authorize its implementation and wrote "by submitting this plan for the purposes of complying with the terms of your order Metropolitan does not accept liability for causing nor contributing to the hill slide," according to a memo from City Manager Harry Black. 

"This response does not satisfy the order's issues, therefore the city has moved forward with emergency legal action," Black wrote.

The judge issued a temporary restraining order, finding an immediate danger exists and emergency stabilization is necessary. Metropolitan Design and Development will also have to provide financial statements for 2016 and '17 to the city by 4 p.m. Monday. Then the court will determine if the company is financially capable of carrying our the order.

Dahlberg said the landslide was a result of excavation done by Metropolitan Design and Development before they built the wall.


"Since they caused the problem, not only do they have the responsibility to repair the houses that they were the general contractors on, but they become obligated to stabilize the hillside and repair all the damage that has happened across the board," Dahlberg said.

The need for repair is urgent: Since the initial May 3 landslide, Dahlberg said, the hillside has continued to shift and destabilize, causing several smaller landslides in the process. 

The city filed a request for emergency injunction Friday against Metropolitan Design and Development to stabilize the hillside, according to Black. They are also seeking an order to deal with the damage done to the affected properties. 

The case is expected to go to a judge Friday afternoon.

Check back for updates on this developing story.