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Developer’s dirt has residents seeing red PDF Print E-mail
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 05 July 2017 18:42

Homeowners in Port subdivisions say mound of topsoil has made a mess


    “A minor mountain” of dirt has residents of two southside Port Washington subdivisions frustrated as dust from the pile covers their homes with grime and makes it difficult to enjoy the views from their decks and windows.
    “You would not believe the mess,” Pam Tripp of 1949 Blue Spruce Ct. said. “I can’t have my windows open on that side of the house. You should see the dirt we have to wash off the windows and lawn furniture — it’s outrageous. I have to wash my windows at least once a week.
    “And that’s what we look at here on Blue Spruce Court. Everyone’s living room faces that dirt mound. None of us moved here to look at this.
    “I don’t understand how he (the developer) can do this.”
    Mary Wester, 1824 New Port Vista Dr., concurred.
    “It looks horrible,” she said. “We have constant dirt all over everything. If you open the windows, you get it everywhere.  I can’t believe it’s very healthy.
    “I’m very frustrated by it.”
    Residents were told the dirt pile would be moved this year, Tripp said, but that hasn’t happened.
    The women said they and their neighbors have contacted everyone from city officials to the Department of Natural Resources in an attempt to alleviate the problem, but so far they have seen few results.
    Ald. Doug Biggs, who like the women lives in the Misty Ridge subdivision, said he “totally understands” the frustration.
    “It’s like a minor mountain,” Biggs said of the dirt pile. “It is very dusty. I wouldn’t want to have the dust and dirt in my house all the time either. I feel terrible for them going through this.”
    The hill of dirt is topsoil scraped off the land when Fiduciary Real Estate Development began developing the High Bluff Town Home apartments, Port Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said.
    The firm was allowed to pile the dirt at the end of New Port Vista Drive, he said, so it can reuse the soil when developing the final phase of its subdivision.
    Initially, Vanden Noven said, there were complaints about erosion, which the developer handled by adding erosion controls, such as silt fencing and gravel and stone at the base of the hill.
    After residents complained this spring about the dust and dirt, he said, the city notified the firm that it needed to seed the hill.
    “They can’t just have a bare dirtpile there,” Vanden Noven said.
    The hill was hydro-seeded on June 27, he said, but it rained that night and residents have expressed concern the seed was washed out.
    “We’re waiting to see if it germinates,” Vanden Noven said. “If it doesn’t grow, we’ll tell him he has to re-seed it.”
    But Tripp is not convinced the seeding will work.
    “You can’t dump grass seed on a hill and expect it to grow,” she said, noting there isn’t a way to water the seed.
    “He dumped a bunch of grass seed and it all got washed away. What now?”
    A call to Fiduciary seeking comment was not returned by deadline.
    Biggs said Fiduciary is equally frustrated, noting the firm has been trying to deal with the problems.
    “They’re doing the things that should work,” he said. “I honestly think they’ve run into bad luck.”
    For example, he said, the company has seeded the mound several times, most recently last week.
    “Everytime they do that, we get torrential rains and it’s washed it all down,” Biggs said.
    Last week’s seeding may have been partially successful, he said, noting the base of the hill seems to be greening up a bit, although it is “spotty.”
    Biggs said he doesn’t know who told the residents that the hill would be removed this year, but said it will be removed eventually.
    “It is designed as a temporary place to store dirt,” he said.
    The company is still doing construction work on its site, and when it is done the hill will be removed, Biggs said, noting this is a condition of Fiduciary’s development agreement with the city.
    Although some residents said they are becoming resigned to having the hill as their neighbor, Biggs said it is not permanent.
    “No one’s happy, and we’re all trying to work through that,” he said. “When the project is complete, the hill of dirt goes away.”

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 July 2017 18:43
 
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