Carrollton Homeowners Sue Over Property Sliding Into Creek

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    NEWSLETTERS

    More than a dozen homeowners in Carrollton are suing the city because they say the backyard on their property are sinking. (Published Friday, Feb 15, 2013)

    More than a dozen Carrollton homeowners are worried their homes will slide into Dudley Branch Creek because of a settling problem.

    Fences and parts of several yards have disappeared in the 1300 block of Barclay Drive as a retaining wall that supported them sank and fell away.

    The worst of it is in Petra Hamrla's backyard.

    "They want to beautify Carrollton, but they don't care for residents, so that's very sad for me," she said.

    A large part of neighbor Dalia Chavarria's yard has sunk away.

    "Every time that it rains, it's going deeper and also it's coming toward the house," she said. "It's scary."

    Their lawyers say 14 homes are threatened by the problem, which the city refuses to repair.

    The residents claim the damage occurred because Barclay Drive is higher than their homes and the creek bed slope is too steep -- both in violation of city standards -- so rainwater causes the land in between to slide.

    "We believe that they simply did not follow their own standards and, as a result of it, our clients' houses are in jeopardy of falling into the creek," attorney Michael Weston said.

    The lawyers claim city records show officials knew there was a problem and fixed it in the past.

    The homeowners' lawsuit claims that the effect of the city's improper maintenance now amounts to inverse condemnation of the damaged private property.

    "They intentionally took these properties, that they had knowledge of what they were doing and, by virtue of that, the value of these people's houses has dropped precipitously," attorney Bruce Turner said. "They've lost huge amounts of money. They can't sell their houses, and this City Council won’t help them."

    The city has said a failing retaining wall that supported the yards is on private property and that maintaining it is not the city's responsibility.

    City officials and Mayor Matthew Marchant did not return message left for them Friday.