5 On Your Side

Clogged pipe leads to dispute between neighbors, golf course

Posted January 7, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— A clogged pipe is at the center of a neighborhood dispute among two homeowners, the City of Raleigh and a local golf course.

More than a year ago, neighbors Kevin Martin and Ken Nelson said they noticed a large hole forming in the ground between their houses in the Hedingham community.

A drainage pipe that extends from the neighbors’ yards to the Hedingham Golf Course had broken and needed to be fixed. Water gushed from the pipe causing a sinkhole.

Neighbors deal with sinkhole Neighbors deal with sinkhole

“Then it was like, ‘Wow, we’ve got a problem on our hands!” Nelson said.

In December 2007, Nelson and Martin called the City of Raleigh. According to the city engineer’s report, a part of the pipe on the golf course was clogged, which “caused the pipe to separate at the joints, resulting in sinkholes.”

The city agreed to pay for most of the repairs, but the neighbors and golf course would have to shoulder the remaining costs. The city asked Nelson to pay about $3,000, Martin about $1,600 and the golf course $1,000.

Hedingham Golf Course refused to pay, according to Nelson and Martin.

“The response has been that they're willing to allow the work to be done, but they're not willing to shoulder any financial responsibility,” Martin said. “It makes me think that the golf club is not willing to act as a neighbor in our community.”

Hedingham’s attorney, Brent Wood, said the golf course did not clog the drain and is “not responsible for maintaining it.”

City officials disagree and said the golf course is required to keep it clean since part of the pipe is on its property.

As of Wednesday, nothing was budging except the sinkhole, which was getting larger.

Another snag is that the owners of the golf course have not signed the petition that would allow the city to come on the property to do the work. Even if Martin and Nelson wanted to pay the golf course’s portion, the work could not start.

Wood says they haven't signed the petition because they've offered the land to Martin and Nelson. Martin and Nelson said they do not want the land, mostly because of the added maintenance it would require.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • CrewMax Jan 12, 2009

    I want to know where the water is coming from in the first place.
    Is this a drain at the bottom of a cul-de-sac that drains between
    the homes? If so, this should be on the city to fix. If the homeowners installed it, they should fix it.

  • BULLDOZER Jan 12, 2009

    The two neighbors should hire a contractor and fix it(because the danger exists) and then petition the golf course owner and city in court for relief. Regardless of who pays for it, the danger of one of the kids getting hurt is still three.

  • 93mastercraft Jan 9, 2009

    I am not trying to advertise this place, I have used them as a customer before, but all these homeowners need to do is buy a load of gravel and rock from a place like http://www.trianglelandscapesupplies.com/products_rock.html and with a little back breaking work with a shovel and simple yard tools they can fix the problem themselves. They could rent a bobcat if they wanted or even pay someone a few bucks with experience running equipment like this to make them a basin and place the gravel and rock down. Gravel and rock have been long used for drainage and erosion control. Would look pretty nice running between the lots down the hill too.

  • 93mastercraft Jan 9, 2009

    Wait until a child falls in that hole and gets hurt. Then we'll see who is responsible for fixing that hole. All the homeowners need to do is call in a dump truck load of gravel and stone then dump it in the hole and make a basin for drainage between the two lots. This is much cheaper than a burried pipe and much cheaper. Problem solved.

  • Timbo Jan 9, 2009

    "Pour concrete in the hole and make the problem go somewhere else..."

    That's exactly what I was going to suggest. Dig it out and have a concrete truck pull up one night and dump its load. Cover it up and forget about it.

  • james27613 Jan 8, 2009

    Complicated, looks like homeowners need to hire
    experienced attorney to get this fixed.

    When you look to buy a home, avoid any plots that
    have easements on them.

  • killerkestrel Jan 8, 2009

    Doesn't say who installed the pipe in the first place. It is amazing how many people think that the state, county, or city should replace pipes running through their property, when they were not put there at the governments request. I keep seeing folks throw leaves, limbs, trees, and other trash into a drainage way, and then expect the government to clean it up.

  • Gork Jan 8, 2009

    That's nothing - people in that same neighborhood have let huge trees downed by a storm lay along the stream for a year now...

  • Builder Jan 8, 2009

    The people who benefit from the drainage should pay (the lots being drained), not the golf course which is down stream, by law it only has to accept upstream water and not impede it. Nor is it required to maintain conveyance upstream, only conveyance across it's property. I'd say the price is fair if it's divided by how much footage is across each property.

  • Rolling Along Jan 7, 2009

    Pour concrete in the hole and make the problem go somewhere else...