NORTH STRABANE TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — The Majestic Hills housing development came by its name naturally. It sits on top of a North Strabane Township hill top, some of the hill natural, some of it fill. When the fill above Forest Lane Drive gave way, it resulted in the loss of three houses on Majestic Drive.
“It is very sad to know the people had to watch their homes crumble like that,” says Bob Saporito, of the Homeowners Landslide Committee. “We can’t lose another home.”
The homeowners are understandably upset because there is another slide behind the homes on Bentwood Drive.
Saporito says, “It’s in the middle of the hill. It’s 175 feet wide and there’s another slide on the bottom of the hill. It’s very close to the homeowner decks. The engineer said it presents eminent danger because it’s a 150 foot high hill. The slope is probably around 70 degrees, and there are already two slides on it.”
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Two homes on Bentwood are at the most risk. Saporito says the residents are “very worried. Their yards are starting to get cracks and a rain storm could set it off.”
The developer of the property, Joe DeNardo of JND Properties, met with the township and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Tuesday, but Walz says, “We’ve had a couple of conversations with him the last couple weeks and there doesn’t seem to be any urgency on his part to find a solution.”
Walz says when the developer missed a noon deadline to submit a remediation plan to fix the problems, the DEP told the township to go ahead and take action.
A contractor will be at work Thursday morning on the slide behind the homes on Bentwood, even as work continues on the original slide above Forest Lane Drive.
The homeowners have hired a geotechnical engineer to look at the entire Majestic Hills plan. That report should be back soon, and Walz says, “We’re going be taking a look at the entire hillside.”
“There are slips and slides and you don’t know what they are going to turn into,” Saporito says.
Including one behind his home and his neighbor’s that he personally rigged a temporary fix to stop the slide.
“We’re paying for it right now and see what happens long-term,” says Walz.
He adds the costs will be passed along to the developer who is already being sued by Ryan Homes. The home builder, in its lawsuit, says when it acquired the land and built the homes, the land was certified ready for building. The lawsuit involves virtually everyone who had a hand in preparing the land and certifying it was ready for housing construction.
KDKA has reached out to DeNardo, leaving messages for a return call. So far, no response.
Walz just wants to make sure they get the work going as soon as possible “to stabilize that hillside to assure that nobody else loses their house.”