At a Wednesday special called meeting, the city council approved an offer, 4-2, with Johnny Sinclair and Philip Goldstein opposed and Van Pearlberg absent, that would abandon the segment of the culvert that runs through the properties, leaving the gaping hole for them to deal with.
Goldstein said he voted against the proposal because the culvert is on private property and is not the responsibility of the city.
Sinclair said he voted against the proposal because city staff had previously offered Faye McBee, a grandmother of three who lives at the corner of Wright and Henderson streets, and her neighbor, Brenna Bentley Bitler, a way to fix the pipe that was less expensive.
But Dan Conn, the city’s public works director, said that offer was months ago, and since then the pipe has further deteriorated.
The latest proposal approved by council is for the city to plug the pipe upstream from the two houses and reroute the water flow along Wright Street. The city would pay $14,000 and the homeowners would pay a total of $8,265. Conn said he mailed both homeowners the offer on Friday and has not yet heard from them.
There’s a good reason for that, McBee said Monday.
“There is no way I’m going to do that,” she said. “This culvert’s got to be dug up or it’s going to keep collapsing.”
McBee said the city can threaten her, but she doesn’t have the money to fix the sinkhole or participate in the city’s proposal. And her neighbor has moved out and is living elsewhere, she said.
“They threatened to declare me a public nuisance and condemn my house,” she said of the city.
“It’s like everybody I talk to says it’s ridiculous, but nobody can do anything.”
In March, McBee noticed that the earth beneath part of her concrete driveway was gone. City officials found a four-foot square storm drainage pipe that directs storm water from upstream of McBee’s neighbor’s house, running under McBee’s driveway and under Wright Street before ending at the creek across the street from her home.
In other business, Sandtown Village, a 22-lot subdivision off Sandtown Road north of Austell Road, has a new developer.
Marietta-based Venture Homes is buying the property, valued at $500,000, from East Bluff, who acquired it from United Community Bank after the development went into foreclosure in 2009.
Venture Homes has two of the lots under contract and plans to buy 15 more, said Bob White, Venture Homes president.
White received permission from the council on Wednesday to enlarge the footprint of the homes from a range of 1,400 to 1,700 square feet to 1,550 to 2,600 square feet while keeping the lot sizes the same. The deal hinged upon the change.
“Our plans are to offer the lowest base price, without any upgrades, in the $150,000s,” White said. “Venture will maintain a minimum of two spec homes in inventory, and market demand will determine the pace of construction.”
City Development Services Director Brian Binzer said the five remaining lots were built and sold before the property entered foreclosure by Oakley Development, whose president, Mark Gibbs, is a member of the Marietta Redevelopment Corporation.