McKinney resident finds himself helpless in fight over retaining wall

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by JOBIN PANICKER

Bio | Email | Follow: @jobinpnews

WFAA

Posted on February 14, 2014 at 8:26 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 14 at 8:25 PM

McKINNEY -- Larry Duncan has seen his backyard wall go from cracking to crumbling in a matter of two years.

The McKinney resident from the Heatherwood subdivision is afraid one morning his backyard is going to cave in.

“Every day, more and more comes down,” Duncan said, referring to the stones that hold up his wall.

He likens his backyard wall to a ticking time-bomb. “The trouble is, when this bomb goes off, I don’t have an answer to what I’m going to do next,” Duncan said.

He said he shouldn’t be individually responsible for a wall that is one, poorly made, and two, shared by dozens of other homes.

Duncan claims he has exhausted all options. The city of McKinney said it is not city property.

"The city of McKinney does not have the ability to obligate the repairs of the walls in the Heatherwood subdivision," according to a city spokesperson.

The only support the city said it can provide is to not enforce city code violations.

"Under the circumstances, the city has not issued code violations to the property owners who need walls repaired," the spokesperson said.

When News 8 called the homeowners' association, a rep told us that the wall was not “association property.” The HOA has put up a fence surrounding the crumbling stones to keep children from getting hurt.

Duncan has even attempted to contact the original builder of the wall; he says it was built by JFB McKinney in 2003. When News 8 attempted to reach the builder over the phone, the line was disconnected. It was made evident in our October report of this retaining wall issue that the company had dissolved and the owner had passed.

“Every time I talk to a contractor he says, ‘No, I won’t touch this wall,’” Duncan said.

And that’s because contractors say it is one entire wall running through the neighborhood.

Contractors tell Duncan cutting up his portion of the wall will compromise the structural integrity of the rest. He said contractors want to avoid that liability if problems arise in the future.

The estimates he has received to fix - despite no takers - have ranged between $20,000 and $45,000.

Larry Duncan is afraid it’s all on him and so now he is considering a move, but selling his house now may be difficult, too.

E-mail jpanicker@wfaa.com

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