Homeowners jittery about landslides

By Jeffrey Pieters

Spring’s warmth brings worries for a west Rochester neighborhood plagued by frequent landslides.

Residents of the Manorwood subdivision say their neighborhood has sustained four destructive landslides or mudslides in the last decade. The most recent, last August, caused damage to about 20 properties in five general locations.

Much of that damage is unrepaired, and last week, as the ground thawed, some residents feared additional, potentially more-severe damage from continued landslides.


"It’s scary living up here," said Stacey Antes, president of the Manorwood Neighborhood Association. "We’re not sleeping at night."

Neighbors have been meeting regularly since last fall with Marcia Marcoux, who represents the ward on the Rochester City Council; Chuck DeWitz, manager of Western Walls, the construction company that developed and built Manorwood; and Dave Morrill, vice president of McGhie & Betts Inc., the engineering firm that drew the development plans in the 1990s.

Last fall, the city hired an engineering firm, American Engineering Testing Inc., to assess the problem and recommend solutions. The report was completed Oct. 10.

Regrading, laying riprap and installing a retaining wall are recommendations at four of the five landslide sites. The repairs would cost about $150,000.

The landslide area that lies behind five homes on Lakeridge Drive will be harder and more expensive to fix. The engineering firm recommends securing the slope with 12-foot soil nails, or installing a retaining wall reinforced by a geogrid backing. The cost for either solution is estimated between $400,000 and $500,000.

Who will pay for those repairs is an unanswered question. The residents want the city and developer to pay for it. The city has a track record, in these kinds of cases, of assessing costs to the property owners who benefit. The developer declined to comment, as did Morrill.

The possibility of a lawsuit underscores the whole issue, though the residents hope to negotiate a settlement, Antes said.

City Attorney Terry Adkins said the city is free of any legal liability.


The liability concerns have made it impossible to find a contractor willing to clean up the pieces of her fallen retaining wall, Antes said. With her wall and about eight feet of her backyard having fallen down the hillside, Antes no longer can let her children play in the backyard, she said.

A patio hot tub, set level in November, has tilted, and patio blocks adjacent to the rear of her house have settled, Antes said.

What To Read Next
Get Local