CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The City of Charlotte and a national building company have pledged to help a local neighborhood after a WBTV Investigation exposed flooding problems ruining their backyards and threatening their homes.
Video obtained by WBTV showed lots that looked like lakes in Caldwell Farms near Harrisburg. A visit to the community revealed ruined landscaping and sunken patios.
Residents like Terri Smith say the problem is a constant.
“Every time it rains, yes,” Smith said.
Smith and other residents in Caldwell Farms all have varying degrees of flooding since they moved in. Their community went under construction in 2015.
“It’s across the board for the whole community,” Candice Arp said.
Some of them have even noticed damage to their homes, impacting their ability to sell.
“If somebody came to look at any of our houses on a day that rains, we’re up the creek, literally,” Smith said.
After WBTV reached out to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department, the companies, and entities responsible, started taking action.
Within a couple of days of WBTV emailing the City of Charlotte, inspectors were at Caldwell Farms taking a fresh look at the problem.
A voicemail left for one of the residents by a city inspector indicated there were issues that needed to be resolved.
“We are proceeding with having a field meeting out there and having an engineering report done of the property,” the inspector said.
The city would not consent to an on-camera interview, but a spokesperson sent WBTV a statement saying the issues would be addressed.
“The City will have conversations with the developer and home builder about the potential causes of the flooding and drainage issues along with potential remedies to address those issues. We share in the homeowners’ concerns and the City will work to bring the developer and home builder together so that we can get these issues corrected,” the statement read.
The original builder for the community was a company called CalAtlantic, which was bought out by Lennar in 2017.
On Thursday, Lennar provided WBTV a statement about the condition of homes at Caldwell Farms.
“We were made aware of the City’s and Developer’s positions today and we are investigating the issues. We remain committed to correcting any drainage issues that we may have caused,” the statement read.
WBTV asked if that included building errors caused by CalAtlantic and Lennar confirmed that it did.
The new focus on the problem is refreshing and frustrating to residents at the same time. WBTV started asking how often these flooding issues are occurring in the Charlotte area.
“It’s something that we’re seeing more commonly occurring now,” UNCC Asst. Professor Nicole Barclay said.
Barclay is an assistant professor of construction management at UNCC. She said as Charlotte’s landscape keeps rapidly changing, designs need to account for where the water will go.
“We’re removing tree and natural vegetation, so naturally we’re going to have more runoff,” Barclay said.
“We have to be able to design and construct for that changing landscape.”
In the case of Caldwell Farms, just like every other development, there are plans. Designed by engineers and developers and approved by the City of Charlotte planning department.
Barclay said it’s during the construction and design process that these problems need to be caught.
“That’s exactly where the inspections would come in,” Barclay said.
“I do believe that the inspection space is where we need to be able to catch those errors before it becomes a long-term problem.”
WBTV asked a city spokesperson how these plans were approved and whether the city has any responsibility in fixing the flooding problem at Caldwell Farms.
WBTV did not get a direct response on the question of inspections.