MO HOA faces millions in special assessments to stop landslides

This is the third landslide in 20 years for Winter Valley subdivision, near Fenton

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

Making its rounds on the news and social media is the report of a landslide at Winter Valley subdivision near Fenton, Missouri.

Homeowners report that the earth movement of May 4 is the third event in the hillside community. Landslides tend to occur with heavy rainfall, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports 20 homes are currently threatened by the crumbling hillside.

Video coverage from Fox 2 Now news clearly shows the precarious position of the landslide, with homes located at both the top and bottom of the hillside.

Landslide in Fenton subdivision has residents asking, ‘who will fix this?’

POSTED 6:05 PM, MAY 24, 2017, BY DAN GRAY, UPDATED AT 05:26PM, MAY 24, 2017
Fenton subdivision landslide

FENTON, MO (KTVI) – A major landslide in Fenton still has homeowners searching for answers. The landslide happened a month ago and a meeting Tuesday night didn’t ease homeowners’ concerns.
Winter Valley subdivision homeowners association held a meeting Tuesday to talk about how to fix the landslide caused by torrential downpours and how much it would cost. Some of the 100 residents at the meeting said they were not satisfied with what they heard for a long-term solution; but short-term, the association has hired a contractor to stop the slide.

Read more (video):

http://fox2now.com/2017/05/24/landslide-in-fenton-subdivision-has-residents-asking-who-will-fix-this/

More details in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Prospect of expensive fix for landslide worries residents of subdivision near Fenton

The landslide is located on common land owned by the HOA. Therefore, all 514 units will be assessed their share of the cost to stop future earth movement. According to reports, it will be necessary to build a stone retaining structure into the hillside. Homeowners face a special assessment exceeding 1 million dollars, and the project is likely to take months to complete.

Owners of the 20 homes in the immediate vicinity who have incurred property damage will also be on the hook for costly repairs. Most homeowner’s insurance policies exclude coverage for damage due to landslides.

So far, the County and the state of Missouri have not offered financial assistance to homeowners in Winter Valley, because the HOA is a private community.

However, residents of Winter Valley HOA are frustrated and perplexed. How did County inspectors overlook the construction of homes upon unstable slopes?

And the reader is left to wonder, why didn’t the HOA pursue a lawsuit against the developer after the first landslide occurred?

By now, two decades have gone by, and it is unlikely that the HOA can sue the developer for alleged defects or negligence, as most governing documents and state laws set limits on the time period for filing a legal complaint – often 7 – 10 years.

Why has no one been held accountable, and why must homeowners now bear the full cost for damages due to apparent errors and negligence of those responsible for approving and building Winter Valley in the first place?

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