Neighbors worry retention wall could collapse, cause mudslide

by: Ken Lemon Updated:

LOWELL —

Neighbors in a Lowell community are on edge watching a 25-foot clay wall, scared it could collapse at any minute.

City leaders met on Monday afternoon to discuss the erosion concerns.

Resident David Turner said the time for saving his house is slowly fading with every drop of rain that falls on the mound of dirt behind his home.

“And every time it rains it gets worse and worse. We can have a mudslide any day,” Turner said.

He said the closed door meeting at City Hall and the debates among Lowell council members are not helping the people who live in Magnolia Place.

“We need help right now,” Turner said.

The developer of the community for seniors folded four years ago before completing the wall to protect homes along the south end of the community. Now the fence built as a temporary buffer is buckling.

The council has changed its ordinance to make it easier for the city to find the developer and either fine the company or take it to court. Residents say they do not need drawn out litigation; they need action from the city.

“We have to have a retaining wall to stop the situation we are in,” Turner said.

The city manager said that is the most expensive option and spending public money to repair private property is a slippery slope. Even if the city decided to build a retaining wall, it would take six months to complete studies and award a bid for the job. Residents said they do not have time to wait.

“It’s a disaster waiting to happen,” Turner said.