City wants to move residents' fences, sheds

February 10, 2009 4:10:42 AM PST
Some Raleigh residents say the city wants to destroy their backyards.The city is clearing land over sewer easements and for some people that means wiping out fences and moving sheds at the homeowner's expense. Eyewitness News did a little digging and found this is something that is happening all across Raleigh.

Most people understand trees being torn down since roots can ruin the sewer lines, but some homeowners who contacted Eyewitness News say they're being forced to take down their fences and sheds they've had up for years.

They say the price and the look won't be pretty.

"It's going to look like a tornado has made a path of destruction through our backyard and front," homeowner Kaspar Kasparian said. "It's going to look awful."

Kasparian is afraid his yard will be torn up once the city of Raleigh clear cuts 20 feet across and all the way down sewer easements.

His neighbor, Jason Klakoff, would lose thousands in landscaping as well as a fence they need for the rescued dogs they foster.

"There's more of a need now than ever to find foster homes," Klakoff said. "We wouldn't be able to do it anymore." Because he says they can't afford to pay for a new fence. Neither can homeowner David Baird. The easement cuts across his backyard and down the middle of his storage shed.

"You're talking about tearing down a $12,000 to $15,000 shed, relocating fences," Baird said. "All in all it could take $20,000 out of my pocket ? in this economy who has that kind of money."

And what's worse they say is that the city of Raleigh is giving them 30 days to remove what's been there for years.

"It's based on clean water act, federal law," Raleigh Public Utilities Donna Jackson said.

Jackson says the clearing is required under federal law and in order to get a state permit for sewer collection.

The city has to be able to get their large trucks to the lines quickly to clear grease or tree roots that clog up the pipes and send raw sewage everywhere. Its preventive measure, but some homeowners say they'd rather take their chances. Homeowners say they would rather wait until it's an emergency.

"Is this all necessary over the possibility that something may go wrong some day," Klakoff said.

The city says they've given people more than 30 days before, but that's not good enough for the homeowners Eyewitness News spoke with. They're meeting with city leaders Thursday.

Raleigh has very few overflows compared to other cities, because of its aggressive sewer maintenance program.


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