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Homeowner Says Solution To Fix Sinkhole Will Not Work | News

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Homeowner Says Solution To Fix Sinkhole Will Not Work

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA) -- Clifford and Barbara James's 2.1 acre backyard has a sinkhole.  Next to the couple's property, Stanley Martin Homes developers are building single family homes near the Rose Hill neighborhood.

Clifford James says he signed a 2004 legal agreement to let a developer dig temporarily on half an acre of his land. He would get paid $6,000 for it.

But when Stanley Martin Homes started work this summer, James says the developer went too far. After heavy rains three weeks ago, his land has a growing sinkhole.

Now the developers have proposed to fix the sinkhole by digging out the soggy marine clay and filling the hole with another type of soil. They would also add drain pipes. 

James says the solution will not work. He wants compensation for damage to his property.

"You're freeing up more ground, digging deeper, making it looser. I don't see how this is going to stop it from eroding," James says.

9NEWS NOW contacted Stanley Martin Homes but did not get a response.

"It's just dangerous. They've just destroyed this property,"
 says Barbara who won't allow her grandchildren to play in the backyard anymore.

Eric and Debbie Rumph's backyard next door is also soggy marine clay covered with dead sod. The Rumphs say the developer had not been responsive in the beginning.

"The [sinkhole] has been here for the last three weeks and the silence was deafening from Stanley Martin," says Eric Rumph.

Fairfax County Government's press officer, Brian Worthy, says inspectors will monitor the situation. But Worthy says the problem is also part of a legal agreement between the developer and the homeowner.

Written by: Elizabeth Jia
9NEWS NOW & wusa9.com