Region 8 Investigates: Erosion issues frustrate homeowners

Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 7:31 PM CDT
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BROOKLAND, Ark. (KAIT) - A dream – first home – turns into a frustrating living experience for homeowners in Brookland Hills who are upset over erosion in their subdivision.

Residents say the entire situation is unfortunate.

“We did love the house, we still love our house,” said Kyle Morris.

Brookland Hills subdivision in Brookland opened in January 2016.

“Fell in love with the house, the location,” said Nick Myers.

Several families thought this would be a great place to start growing a family.

But that changed once holes appeared in their yards.

Nick Myers and Kyle Morris explained their experiences living in the subdivision.

“After living here probably half a year or so we noticed, not a lot, but a little bit of the fence was just caving in over there,” said Myers.

“The erosion was here when the house was purchased, it was actually contracted that it would be fixed,” said Morris after walking through the gate to his backyard. “They came in a couple of months later and put some dirt there and kind of filled it in. That didn’t last hardly at all.”

Detention ponds sit near the homes in phase one; they’re meant to hold stormwater to prevent flooding, but instead, they’re causing erosion.

Homeowners reached out to Rausch Coleman, the developer, who says they tried to fix the issues.

“We’ve cleaned up voluntarily on numerous occasions. Spoke with the city about it,” said Josh Carson, vice president of Rausch Coleman.

The company says it is up to the property owners association since the previous developer did not start a POA or fix the land properly.

State records show Rausch Coleman set up a POA in September 2016 named “Brookland Hills Phase One Property Owners Association.”

The owners say they never knew much about that association and feel like the developer only created it to force them to deal with the issue.

“Rausch Coleman does not own it, it is the POA we have tried to help them get on their own two feet and pay their assessments,” said Carson. “No one seems concerned about paying assessments in our POA to take care of the property, so we’re not sure what is going to happen.”

The homeowners confirmed Rausch Coleman did fix the problem, but that fix didn’t last.

“It’s a bit of a big disaster actually, devaluation of the home itself. It’s been fixed twice now by Rausch Coleman and each time it’s been like a band aid fix,” said Morris.

“And when they did that job we were actually happy with it, finally we had something where we wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore and then after a year or two is when the back started caving in really bad,” added Myers.

Now, who’s responsible?

Rausch Coleman says it’s the property owners association. Homeowners point the finger right back at Rausch Coleman.

One option for the homeowners could be to start their own POA, but they fear they’d be stuck with the cost of repairing the problem, which could run at least $10,000 and maybe much more.

So, instead, they are looking to the city for help.

City attorney Kevin Orr said there are only a couple of options, “The city can clean it up and go after this corporation that has no other assets than that piece of property or assess against the property owners in that phase one lot.”

Homeowners don’t like either of those and still feel unheard.

“Frustrating, real frustrating. Because we moved here thinking this would be a great starter house,” said Myers.

Right now -- homeowners say they are using dirt and grass clippings to fill in the holes now because the concrete is separating from the ground, and their fences are caving in.

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