Garland Couple Battles City Over Erosion They Say Threatens Home

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It’s become a routine for Cori Criswell to grab his tape measure and level to survey the edge of his house and yard in the wake of a storm just to see what might have changed.

He’s observing the strip of land that separates his house and a creek below, which he worries is steadily receding towards his foundation.

“I think it’s probably going to happen pretty soon under the right conditions,” said Criswell.

It’s a problem he said started a few years after his fiancé Bobbi Snider bought the house on Edgebrook drive in 2006.

Snider had noticed city crews digging up the creek’s embankment to locate an abandoned utility line.

The next time it rained, she said she realized all of the vines, bushes and trees that had been ripped away in the process were now allowing the soil to wash away.

"It's a domino effect. You messed up this land, and now it's soft and every time it rains it goes downstream,” said Bobbi Snider.

But according to the City of Garland, the responsibility rests with the homeowners.

They said in a statement, “Our Engineers determined that removing the foliage was not the cause of damage or erosion to the citizens’ retaining wall.”

Still, Snider said she saw crews out there three times attempting to stop the erosion with sandbags and netting in the months and years that immediately proceeded the removal of the foliage.  

The city responded, “The City’s work was done to keep erosion from causing damage to public property – in particular, the cul-de-sac.”

Even so the city had crews investigate the problem and estimate the cost of repairs, which they said would total more than $205,000.

The city does offer a 50/50 cost-sharing program to help homeowners with fixing erosion problems. But in Criswell and Snider’s case, they said the cost to repair would be more than 50% of the property’s value.

So with time working against them, Criswell and Snider said there only options now are to pay or prepare for a legal fight.

"I would just like them to step up to the plate and acknowledge that they destroyed the homeostasis of that land and caused all of this and just fix it. You know, just fix it,” said Snider.

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