Unfinished work worries Peterborg residents
Published: March 11, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - Residents in Peterborg fear that loose dirt and boulders from an excavated lot on Via Grenadines will result in a landslide or traffic accident and that if something is not done, the loose dirt will slide down into Magens Bay.
The lot abuts a narrow concrete roadway in the residential neighborhood.
Large, unsecured boulders and rocks are piled to the top of the 50- to 70-foot hill and along the sides of a trench cut into the hill. The lot is almost stripped of vegetation, leaving a large amount of loose dirt, and in some cases, the boulders have slipped down and jut about two feet into the road.
The black plastic silt fencing catchment along the base of the lot only partially covers the perimeter and has fallen down in places.
After The Daily News called the Department of Planning and Natural Resources about the lot, spokesman Jamal Nielsen said an inspector had been sent to the lot Friday afternoon and had seen "stabilization issues and areas of concern."
The inspector recommended that a team of inspectors employed by DPNR's Coastal Zone Management division, which has jurisdiction over the lot, visit the site "first thing Monday morning," Nielsen said.
If the inspectors find that the lot requires stabilization, the owner will be issued an order to secure the lot, Nielsen said. If the owner does not comply with the order, DPNR could levy fines and penalties.
The owners of the lot are listed as "Prescription Investments" on the permit posted on a telephone pole by the lot.
Prescription Investments is not listed in the phone book, and an Internet search for the company did not turn up any contact information.
The permit was issued Nov. 28, 2011.
Nielsen said the permit is for the construction of a two-story home on the site. Permits are good for only one year, and Nielsen said he did not know whether the owners had applied for a renewal.
According to Bill Otto, who drives up Via Grenadines to reach his home, the boulders form a road hazard and the lot itself is a eyesore.
"It's going to be very easy for someone to hit one of the rocks. Plus, it's just dirt. As the weather continues, and as the rain continues, it's just going to erode more," Otto said. "We just want somebody to do something about it. It's dangerous, and someone is going to get hurt."
Otto and other residents said the lot has been torn up for about six months, since construction crews abandoned work there. They expressed concern that heavy rains could loosen the soil and the rocks and cause a landslide.
"If this was our rainy season, I would be concerned about the whole hillside coming down and washing out the road," said Phillip Shannon, who has to drive up Via Grenadines to get to his house. Three years ago, heavy rains completely destroyed a portion of the road near his home, he said.
Shannon was critical of DPNR's oversight of construction projects.
"Whenever somebody excavates, they are never around to make sure that the laws and regulations are followed," he said.
Shannon said that he made two phone calls several months ago to DPNR about the lot and neither was returned.
Otto said he wrote to DPNR on Oct. 19, Oct. 25, Nov. 5 and Feb. 14.
Otto said that he received a response from the director of the building permit division, Phillip Smith, on Nov. 8 stating that DPNR had contacted the contractor about the situation and hoped to have a resolution within the next two days. No work had been done to secure the lot since Smith replied, so Otto again contacted him on Feb. 14, but he received no response, he said.
- Contact Amanda Norris at 714-9104 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.