Sinkhole expands; homeowners look to developer for answers: ‘I feel like I’ve been robbed or cheated or lied to’

First-time homeowners in Denham Springs are worried about growing sinkhole

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - First time home buyers want to wake up in their ideal home.

“To be honest with you, for the price, I didn’t find anything that looked better than this house,” Venese Morgan said.

“It was really what I’ve always dreamed of,” said Megan Reitenour.

Neighbors have attempted to stop the sinkhole from further eroding by adding brinks and gravel to the soil.
Neighbors have attempted to stop the sinkhole from further eroding by adding brinks and gravel to the soil. (Source: WAFB)

Nice backyards with a fence certainly sweeten the deal, but this one is not doing a good job disguising a growing problem.

“I’m scared the ground is going to give out. It’s terrifying to look down into it,” Reitenour said.

A sinkhole sits right along the dividing property line for Reitenour and Morgan, first time home buyers. They both bought their homes in the Cedar Ridge Court subdivision in Denham Springs in 2018.

The sinkhole is close to 7 feet long and just deep enough for someone to fall in. That makes it a matter of safety for Reitenour and her small pup, Lugnut. Reitenour says she doesn’t allow her 2-year-old Shih Tzu to play outside unsupervised.

Megan Reitenour and Venese Morgan in Denham Springs are worried small animals or children will fall into this sinkhole.
Megan Reitenour and Venese Morgan in Denham Springs are worried small animals or children will fall into this sinkhole. (Source: WAFB)

“You have to watch him very closely because it’s a very large hole and it’d hurt if he fell into that," she said.

She noticed the hole about six months ago. That’s around the same time her neighbor started to worry.

“Originally when I bought it, the back yard did not look like this. The backyard showed no signs of any kind of damage," she said.

The Livingston Parish Department of Public Works says the development is privately owned, so neither the parish nor Gravity Drainage District 2 is responsible, which leaves the property developer.

“I’ve called. I’ve left multiple messages with no response,” Reitenour said. “I called again today, and they did not answer.”

“This is a very expensive mistake,” Morgan said. “ I feel like myself, as well as my neighborhood should not be the ones held liable for this."

Morgan adds that she and Reitenour were not told the homes had issues before buying. Both have been calling the home builder since June, but haven’t gotten a response.

A sinkhole sits along the dividing property line between Megan Reitenour and Venese Morgan's homes in Denham Springs.
A sinkhole sits along the dividing property line between Megan Reitenour and Venese Morgan's homes in Denham Springs. (Source: WAFB)

The homeowners have attempted to take matters in their own hands, adding bricks and gravel to slow the erosion down, but’s it’s not a remedy and they say it shouldn’t be their problem. Not to mention, Morgan’s house is just inches away from the ground that’s washing away.

“I feel like I’ve been robbed or cheated or lied to. Not only that, but I feel like I’ve been stiffed the bill to fix a problem that I had no part in creating," she said.

WAFB also reached out to the development company, but has not gotten a response. The pair has plans to file a lawsuit against the developer.

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