Major sinkhole in backyard around storm drain, City of Charlotte says it’s not their responsibility

Sinkhole opens up in back yard

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A major sinkhole has opened up in a back yard in an East Charlotte neighborhood.

Neighbors estimate it’s 7-8 feet deep and that far wide. They’re concerned about kids or pets falling into it and hurting themselves, but what’s even more concerning for some is that it’s still unclear who is going to pay for it.

The sinkhole is between two homes on Paper Tree Road in an East Charlotte neighborhood. The sinkhole surrounds a storm grate between the yards that’s connected to a city storm drain on the street.

Sheilah Jones owns part of the property where the sinkhole is and said she tried to call the city several times before the sinkhole got so big but they never responded. Eventually, they got back to her and she says the Storm Water Services department said they would pay to fix the leak and the sinkhole.

But on Thursday, she says she learned that it was instead her and the other homeowner’s responsibility to fix the sinkhole.

WBTV reached out to the Storm Water Services department asking who was responsible for the sinkhole damaged.

“On Dec. 19, Storm Water Services staff investigated the reported drainage concern. This is a private storm drainage system located on private property. The private property owner is responsible for maintenance and repair of the system," said a representative of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services.

Jones estimates it will take upwards of $20,000 to fix the sinkhole in her back yard. She’s frustrated that the city originally told her they would fix it and now they’re changing their mind.

“You can’t give out info saying yes and then say no. I was told on the 20th they were gonna fix everything, the hole, the leak, everything. And now, you say you’re not responsible, so what changed?" said Jones.

Jones said she is not going to pay for it before getting more answers from the city and the developer who built the neighborhood.

“You don’t say yes and then say no,” she said. "So right there, someone is throwing ball somewhere, but you’re not going to throw it on my court, that’s not going to happen.”

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