Retaining wall in danger of collapsing on homes, neighbors in NJ housing development say

HOWELL, N.J. — Neighbors in Pine View Estates in Howell Township say there is a 20-foot retaining wall in danger of collapsing on homes.

"As you can see my patio has collapsed," said Bill Buckley, a resident. "The part that concerns me the most is the retaining wall."

Buckley's home backs up to the wall. He says he had a stone patio installed in his backyard in August. He went to the town for permits and received approval from officials and engineers. But just three days after it was completed, his backyard started sinking, as did the retaining wall holding up the back end of his property.

"If that collapsed, there goes my home. There goes my neighbor's home," he said. "We could have a catastrophe."

PIX11 was just here last week when neighbors who live just outside of the Pine View Estates development said an improperly built drainage basin caused catastrophic flooding in their homes in August. Multiple residents on Pine Needle Street and Cherry Lane saw their first floor destroyed.

"The two and two go hand in hand," said Buckley. "The builder is taking shortcuts and people are suffering."

The Pine View Estates Homeowners Association has spent thousands of dollars to try and get to the bottom of it. They've called upon engineers, the town, the builder and an attorney.

"With this wall the way it is, who knows what these guys did to try to cut things short and save money," said Mark Vernon, the HOA President.

"We had someone that came by and said it was the fault of the builder. And that they should come in and repair it," he said. "Wall Township sent a letter to the builder. And the builder said that no, he didn’t think it was his responsibility."

The Pine View Estates were built in Wall Township but soon after the land was annexed to Howell. Howell says Wall Township remained responsible for construction inspection and approvals.

Representatives for both towns have said they are working to find a solution.

"We have a wall that is collapsing, we have a patio that is collapsing, and we have no one in Wall Township or Howell Township that’s willing to help us," said Vernon.

Wall Township said Wednesday they've put the bonding company behind this development on notice.

“We are not sure of the eventual outcome of this action, but it is our thought that this work may be covered under that bond,” said Wall Township Administrator Jeffrey Bertrand. “In addition, we were provided with a report from the Homeowner’s Association that indicates that the retaining wall may have been compromised to some degree by the patio.”

“It should be noted that patio was approved by Howell Township as a post completion item which may complicate the matter,” he added.

PIX11 reached out to the builder for comment - so far we have heard nothing back.

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