5 On Your Side

Clogged pipe leads to dispute between neighbors, golf course

Posted January 7, 2009 5:00 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— 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.



“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.