Fenton neighborhood worried about costs to fix mudslide after th - KMOV.com

Fenton neighborhood worried about costs to fix mudslide after the third one in 20 years

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Residents of the Winter Valley subdivision in Fenton are concerned about the number of mudslides occurring near their homes. Credit: KMOV Residents of the Winter Valley subdivision in Fenton are concerned about the number of mudslides occurring near their homes. Credit: KMOV
FENTON (KMOV.com) -

The heavy rain from earlier this month turned one hilly Fenton neighborhood into a muddy mess.

The rain water weighed so heavily on the hillside, eventually, mud slide down into the homes below.

The original mudslide happened on May 4 in the Winter Valley subdivision, which is made up of 514 homes. 

“Clay gets very heavy, there’s a bedrock of shale, shale’s a very soft rock, it compacted the rock, rock cracked, the entire hill slide occurred," said Patrick Sieben, a 16-year resident of the Winter Valley. 

Crews were not able to start fixing the problem for three weeks because they had to wait for the mud to dry and the ground to stop moving. 

“It was mainly mud. It just kept going, going and every day it’s been a little more. Now it’s reached next door to us,” said Paula Waltersam, a 20-year resident of Winter Valley with her husband. “Well it’s scary and we’re kind of old to start over.”

A bright blue tarp marks the third mudslide Winter Valley has seen in the last 20 years. The most recent one occurred four years ago. 

“We started with two houses on top of the hill and three on the bottom impacted. They’re talking maybe 7-8 houses going up the street being impacted,” said Sieben.

To fix this problem in the past, contractors built a rock retention wall.  However, experience here, doesn’t do anything to remedy expense. 

“A lot of homeowners are kind of frustrated because we don’t know what the cost is going to be, we don’t have a timeline of when it will be finished, and is my house going to impacted too?” said Sieben.

The Winter Valley subdivision has a $200,000 reserve for neighborhood costs, but Sieben doesn't think that will be enough to cover the cost of the retention wall, in addition to regular annual expenses. 

“We probably need about $80,000 of that to finish out this year, and then you got to borrow the rest,” said Sieben.

Frustrated with those responsible for developing this neighborhood among steep hills of mud, the subdivision has hired a lawyer and is discussing the options of lawsuits. 

“Someone must have skipped over their homework or someone didn’t do diligence,” said Sieben. “They’re looking for some type of action against the developer or the engineers or even Jefferson County.”

Members of the subdivision, contractors and engineers met Tuesday night to discuss options for fixing the problem and the costs that go with it. No final decision was made at the meeting. 

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