• Business owner frustrated about city not covering damage after water main break

    By: Blaine Tolison


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A water main broke in front of Terry Lankford's business on Aug. 24 in the NoDa neighborhood in Charlotte.

    There is still a pile of mud visible on the side of the building and the patch where the city made a repair near the sidewalk.

    Lankford got the call early Wednesday morning that a city water main broke and flooded his business in the 2100 block of North Davidson Street.

    "The mud was ankle deep,” Lankford said. “The whole warehouse covered in red mud."

    It's been two weeks, and the building he uses for his commercial flooring business is still a mess.

    Lankford said his insurance won't cover the loss because it was the city of Charlotte's pipe and not on his property.

    But this week, Lankford got a call from someone working for the city, and it won't cover it, either.

    "I did not find the city liable for causing the water main break,” the city's third-party administrator said in a voicemail.

    Outside, the city even painted a line where its repairs will stop.

    "The community here needs to know about this to know they're not; they don't have your back," Lankford said.

    The city confirmed it won't cover damage caused by broken water pipes.

    A spokeswoman sent Channel 9 an email explaining the city's policy.

    "Regarding the claim: When there is a water main break, and it is a sudden and unforeseeable event, the claim is denied,” the spokeswoman said.

    "What if a water main burst; four restaurants are flooded. Who is liable? ” Lankford asked.

    Channel 9 took that concern to an owner of Haberdish, Crepe Cellar and Growlers.

    "Our city needs to step up and just see what they can do to make it easier and better for local businesses to operate,” business owner Jaime Brown said.

    "It's a great area, but you need to protect the people who are here who pay taxes," Lankford said.

    Lankford estimates about $10,000 in damage, money that he's going to have to fork over out of pocket.


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