Neighborhood's fight continues against Duke Energy

Residents want their yards fixed

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A neighborhood homeowners' association is continuing to fight with Duke Energy over damaged landscaping months after the damage was the subject of an On Your Side investigation.

Neighbors in the Clairmont subdivision in Indian Land first called On Your Side Investigates in May after a contractor installing new power poles for Duke Energy left the neighborhood's landscaping torn up.

After our first story aired, representatives from Duke began working with Nick Kerzman, the president of the Clairmont Homeowners Association, to make a plan to clean up the trash and fix the damage left behind by the contractors.

Three months after our first story aired, Kerzman and Duke have yet to reach an agreement. Patches of damaged grass have turned to dirt. Kerzman said he's frustrated.

"It's kind of like a David and Goliath is what it feels like," he said. "You know, a little HOA just trying to get things fixed and a big ole' electric company trying to minimize their expenses."

Kerzman said he doesn't care how Duke repairs the damaged patches of lawn, he just wants it fixed.

A spokeswoman for Duke Energy said they have offered Kerzman and the HOA two different options to fix the landscaping but he has rejected both offers.

The issue boils down to who will be on the hook if Duke's second round of landscaping repairs do not work.

A contractor originally laid down seed after the project was completed this past spring but several factors prevented that work from growing new grass.

Kerzman said a contractor said the fastest solution would be to lay down new sod. That comes at a cost of $40,000.

The spokeswoman for Duke, Paige Layne, said laying down new sod would leave the landscaping in better condition than before crews started their work.

Instead, the company has offered to have its own landscaper go back out, fill in the bare patches of dirt to level it out and plant pre-germinated seed. That work will cost roughly $6,000. Alternatively, Layne said, the company has offered to pay the Clairmont HOA $6,000. Both options require the HOA to sign a release waiving Duke from any responsibility to make further repairs to the landscaping in the event this round of seed also doesn't lead to new grass.

Kerzman said he would be open to having a Duke-contracted landscaper lay new seed if it came with a warranty guarantee.

"I don't want them to come out here and spend whatever dollars and have it be a failed project again," Kerzman said. "So let's come up with an agreeable solution and make sure that it's ultimately resolved."

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