Local News

Raleigh Man Has Sinking Feeling When He Looks At His House

Posted December 24, 2001

— Home for the holidays is giving a Raleigh man a sinking feeling. He blames the city for the slow demise of his property along Crabtree Creek. City engineers have offered to help out, but they say the ultimate responsibility lies with the property owner.

Since Mark Pfiefer bought his house on Oak Park Road along Crabtree Creek in 1994, he has watched it slowly slip away.

"On both sides of the creek, I had trees falling down," he said. "I had a mud slide that a tree had fallen down and slid down the hill. I just don't feel like this is my home anymore."

Pfiefer's driveway has buckled to the point that it is no longer safe to use. The banks on both sides of the creek are caving in. Pfiefer said he knew he was getting a good deal for a home on top of a former organic landfill of construction debris, but he never expected this.

"I don't see why I should have to get down there and clean something that doesn't belong to me in the first place," he said.

For years, Pfiefer tried to get the city to fix the problem or buy his home. The city told Pfiefer that he should have known the consequences of buying a home on an organic landfill, but he contends if it were not for the erosion of Crabtree Creek, he would not have these problems.

From local to federal leaders, Pfiefer has argued the city should have never granted building permits for the land. In turn, the city has offered anywhere from $11,000 to up to $50,000 to help repair and shore up the property, but Pfiefer said he cannot afford the thousands he, too, would have to pitch in.

"To me, that's only putting a band-aid on it," he said.

After seven years, Mr. Pfiefer said he just wants out. The problem is, so far, no one else wants in.

"As soon as they walk down this driveway and look at this bank, they're out of here. Basically, I've become a prisoner in my own house," he said.

Pfiefer is now looking for an attorney to help in his fight. City leaders say it is the responsibility of all property owners along Crabtree Creek and other public waterways to maintain their property.


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