Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Yard - part...100?

It's been a while since I've updated, but no less my blog has been getting slammed with views in recent months. So I figured now would be a good time to put something out there. If you've actually read any of my previous posts, you would know that Heartland & "the mysterious developer" basically left us and all of the surrounding homes/lots around us, jacked for any kind of use able yard space.  Well, my persistence so far has been paying off. 
Just before winter struck last year, we had some significant loads of dirt dropped on our lot. But they were never smoothed out so we couldn't use anything beyond the edge of the grass. Not to even let the dog go to the bathroom. They FINALLY smoothed that out after numerous calls and complaints. We've been pushing since before we closed to get  our - and all of our neighbors - back yards fixed, and recently (I hope) it seems to have gained a little traction - Some of which is in Thanks to new builds pressuring Ryan/Heartland/NVR/Mysterious Developer. So - new neighbors(and current neighbors), if you're reading this (and I know some of you are), Please don't stop pressuring them to fix your yard! In order for any of our yards to be properly fixed, the whole center area needs to be properly graded, top soiled, seeded and so on. 

All of the new people moving in, just starting to build or about to close have no idea how long and futile this argument has been. I've put a lot of effort into this, not just for us - but for all of the adjoining yards.  We could have very easily sought out an excavator and had our yard fixed last year - on our own and out of our own pocket, then disallowed them to access or change our land. Which to be honest the pricing I got wasn't That bad. But we didn't want that - we wanted all of the yards to be corrected as a whole because that was the right thing to do. Even still the slow progress is enough to drive you mad.
As one neighbors mother very wisely put it - "There's power in numbers."  Now if only all of the affected neighbors could band together and insist on a group meeting with upper management - who supposedly is taking care of our yards now (because yet again it's "out of my hands" of the current PM) - then and only then, I believe we will get this done within 60 days or probably less.  

 As of right now, all of that water is diverted right through my yard and into the back yards of 3/4 other homes. So essentially we have approximately 11 homes affected by this!!!!!!! That could be a class action law suit I bet. But that's not what I'm interested in at this point... Patience and persistence is paying off....a little at a time.

Isn't this just lovely??
To be totally fair, it kind of does need to go into that general direction - there is a drain there. HOWEVER, that amount is far too much and will flood those peoples basements if we wind up with a couple days straight of storms. 
That being said - We have yet again been promised that they are going to bring in dirt from all Ryan Homes developments within a 10 mile radius. We were also told that they were bringing in dirt from a huge roadside project to just get the whole back area all done at once. 
(Nothing major yet.)
So far - only a couple loads of dirt have been brought in. They were supposed to be used to finish flattening out our lot, but the ground was too wet and the truck started sinking. The excavator had the truck dump it and pushed it over as best he could. They are supposed to also (still) be raising the manhole cover. Right next to my house they're building a new home, and have to build a retaining wall and a large ditch to divert water from my entire right side of the house out into the back yard. Awesome.

That being said - Take a look at this. My shoes are a pretty hot pink. But seriously - look at where my feet are standing. When we closed, this wasn't even close to being possible. There was a 10 ft drop from the edge of the grass down to the rest of my yard. It's now just a small knoll. So small that once it's top soiled and properly graded, will likely be entirely flat.  Pics of the progression below. The biggest thing that helped reduce that drop off for us (and I believe it would work for most of my neighbors) - was the excavator chopping off the top knuckle of the drop off, and pushing that dirt down to the bottom of the hill. That forced the slope to be significantly gentler. From there on out, any dirt they dropped made HUGE differences. BUT - It wouldn't have mattered much what they put there until they chopped off that knuckle.

To the right is before we closed, just after the foundation I think - technically that road is the easement for all of our yards that they used as a roadway while back filling the giant crater they dug out.

This was pretty close to when we closed, I'll look at home for a picture from the day of closing but regardless - as you can see here, that's no gentle slope. That's a freaking drop off. Not what I agreed to buy.
Panorama of the backyards together while they were in the early stages of filling in. To the right is about exactly how that drop off stayed until they had enough of us complaining.

You can't safely raise a family with a yard like this. Luckily, it's been significantly improved as you've seen above!! It's come a long way!

Our yard at this present time is about 80% flattened. My kids can play and I'm not worried they'll fall off the edge and break a leg now. They still need to do more in the center to bring it up, and some in the far back to bring it down, and they'll have to do something with the side but it's hard to say what. Maybe leave it somewhat - we need a hill in the back yard for all the kids to slide on in the winter anyway.

 I've been told that they will work on the lower lots first (the one to the left of me, one lower left and my lot) then work their way up to the rest of the lot in order to grade it all properly. With the small amount that has to be done to my yard, they've told me by the end of July, and then again by the end of the summer. Honestly - I Think end of summer sounds about right. So - once again, crossing fingers and hoping for the best meanwhile harassing people on up the phone tree within both companies. Because let's face it, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Just imagine if we all complained as much, at the same time, to the same people.... :-)

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