Sinkhole starts dam fight

STANLEY, NC (WBTV) -  A neighborhood in Stanley is split on who should foot the bill to repair a pipe connected to a dam owned by three people.

The repairs would cost $100, 000.

The land has three owners. One person owns the lake, someone else owns the property across the street from it and the Town of Stanley owns the road that connects the two.

Stanley Mayor Chad Brown says the state became concerned with the dam over the Summer when it noticed a sinkhole forming.

Engineers suspect it has to do with a leaky pipe and if it's left un repaired it could cause serious flooding.

But fixing the pipe is not that simple. The lake has to be drained feet five feet before inspectors can pinpoint the exact problem

"A lot of the neighbors are thinking that the town should pick up all this, we're not a town with a lot of money," said Brown.

The issue has turned into a real mess.

Turns out, the house near the lake should never have been built there.

County officials approved the zoning permit in 2004, not knowing the land was in a flood zone.

The original owner moved, now the family living there might have to pay up or face state fines.

"This all of a sudden pops up, no one wants to be responsible for it, the state, the county, they want us to pay for it," said Timothy Bush who lives in the home.

But who should foot the bill is just one problem. The other problem is the potential eyesore that comes with draining the lake.

Jeff Swaim says he bought his house because of the view.

"It's going to really kill the property values around here too," said Swaim.

The town of Stanley must pump the water out by November 9 so the State can inspect the pipe, otherwise they could face a $500 fine per day.

The homeowner who lives across from the lake has hired an attorney.