“I thought it was an earthquake,” her father, Doug Carlin, 60, said.
Since then, he said the problem has continued to get worse. The Carlins say each time there’s a major rainfall, the retaining wall along the creek tilts over more toward the creek. They say the city of Marietta built the wing wall but refuses to pay to repair it because the creek is on Natalie Carlin’s property.
“The turbulence of the water coming down the box culverts is huge,” said Doug Carlin, a general contractor who lives nearby.
He and his daughter point to a nearby fence that is leaning and say that is caused by the collapse of the bank.
“As we walk across the yard, you sink,” Natalie Carlin, 28, said. “You make a footprint.”
They say the problem might have gotten worse since the city began work in 2008 to clean silt and repair two ponds at Laurel Park, located just through a stand of woods. Natalie Carlin said that causes more water to come through the creek, and the existing wall, built in the early 1990s, wasn’t designed to handle it.
“They made the two lakes up there bigger, and I’m the first stop downstream,” Natalie Carlin said.
Natalie’s brother, Brad Carlin, 32, said he is worried about what could happen if the wall isn’t fixed.
“It’s gonna be a chain reaction when it falls,” he said. “It’s gonna take the wall with it and, eventually, it’s going to come back into the street.”
Doug Carlin said he has met with several representatives from the city. They have proposed three options ranging in cost from piling riprap, or rubble, along the banks of the creek to slow the flooding, which would cost a little more than $6,000, to building a new 5-foot high concrete wall for more than $12,000. But he said the city wants the property owners to pay for all of it.
“The city does the work and I pay for it, with no warranty,” Doug Carlin said. “You build the wall and it falls and you ask me to pay for it? That dog don’t hunt.”
Doug Carlin said the city officials he has met with include Mayor Steve Tumlin, City Manager Bill Bruton and public works director Dan Conn. None of them returned calls seeking comment for this story.
Doug Carlin said he doesn’t want to have to sue the city but is keeping his options open.
“I don’t like having to cry wolf,” he said. “I want my daughter to be able to utilize this house for life, but if she decides to sell it in two years, five years, 10 years … her investment in this property, she’s losing it. We’ve lost 15, 20 feet of this bank.”
For now, Natalie Carlin said she isn’t able to keep her yard as nice as she would like.
“I’m a woman, I like to take care of my yard,” she said. “I can’t invest any money in doing that because it’s all going to wash away.”