North Dakota Homeowners Concerned After Neighborhood Yards Collapse

August 17, 2016

Some homeowners in a Bismarck, N.D., neighborhood are questioning the long-term safety of their houses after some backyards dropped as much as 7 feet in June.

Jim Hopfauf is one of the homeowners affected by the collapsing hill where houses are perched in north Bismarck. He told The Bismarck Tribune that it keeps dropping every time it rains.

Homeowners and government entities have shared in the cost of a study of the problem. City Parks and Recreation Director Randy Bina said the study suggests rock rip-rap landscaping put in place by homeowners to secure their land is actually making the problem worse.

The study recommends removing the rock and reshaping the slope.

The study results are to be presented during Thursday’s Bismarck Park Board meeting.

Hopfauf said that since his home was built in 2004, about one-third of the backyard has sunk with the hill along with a tree line and a walking path – all of which are tumbling into a nearby creek.

The Bismarck Park District has blocked off the walking path because it’s no longer safe.

The problem became serious in the fall of 2013. Seeing that the park district installed some riprap on the slope, Hopfauf, Wolf and a neighbor installed $20,000 more.

Hopfauf said development has created more pavement and fewer fields to absorb the water before it feeds into the creek.

Wolf has experienced the same in the past decade.

“Nobody has come up with a plan, and nobody is spending any money on it,” he said. “As homeowners, we can’t do anything until the hill is stable.”

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