Nov 19, 2020

Homeowner in Virginia to Sue Isle of Wright Over Collapsed Storm Water Pipe

A homeowner in Isle of Wight County, Virginia is seeking to take the county to court for a collapsed storm water pipe in his backyard.

storm water

Carrollton homeowner Otis Brock is going to take Isle of Wight County, Virginia to court for a collapsed storm water pipe in his backyard.

A portion of Brock’s backyard has washed away, leaving a chasm more than 20 feet wide and about 12 feet deep plus the exposed concrete pipe, according to the Smithfield Times. The pipe has broken apart in multiple places.

Brock erected an orange mesh fence around the affected area to keep children from falling in, but that too has now fallen into the ravine with the recent rain, according to the Smithfield Times.

According to court records, there is a 20 foot easement in place for the pipe, 10 feet into Brock’s yard and another 10 feet into Brian and Susan Fernaays’ yard on the opposite side of the chasm. A specific owner of the easement was not designated in the early 1990s when the storm water system was installed. 

Circuit Court Clerk’s Office personnel say these easements are typically deeded to the developer of a subdivision or to a homeowners’ association, however.

According to Brock’s attorney, Joe V. Sherman, the county has a “common law duty to deal with storm water. That’s why they collect storm water tax,” Sherman said, referring to the $54 fee Isle of Wight adds to residential property owners’ real estate tax bills every year.

Isle of Wight County has neither confirmed nor denied having responsibility for the pipe’s upkeep, reported the Smithfield Times.

“Determining responsibility for upkeep of the easement is the issue the potential litigation is attempting to address, so we are not able to comment on that matter,” said Assistant County Administrator Don Robertson.

Sherman, who is representing Brock and the Fernaays family, expects to file the pending lawsuit by the end of November.

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