Resident threatens to sue city

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A property owner threatened to sue the city of Roxboro during a meeting at which he raised concerns about repairs to a stormwater drainpipe.

At the December City Council meeting, Clyde Kelly brought his frustations to the council and admitted that he was fed up with the city for not taking responsibilty and not having any records.

According to Kelly he sought legal counsel after he had reached his final straw.

That final straw came in the form of a big hole in the yard near Academy Street with a pipe coming through it.

It’s not the first time Kelly has addressed council members about his concerns.

For months the problem on Foushee Street and Academy Street has been an issue between the city and residents.

At this time, Kelly is the only person who has said he is considering pursuing legal action.

“I have talked with other residents and they are all concerned but I don’t know if the other residents will,” said Kelly.

The dispute began when Kelly first noticed the problem more than two years ago at his mother’s home when a hole opened up on his property line and he coud see the pipe at the the bottom.

He contacted the city and was told that he was responsible for repairing it.

He took matters in his own hands and realized it would not be an easy fix.

After noticing new big, washed out holes under the house he contacted the city again.

Meanwhile, the pipe ruptured and caused major problems for residents on a diagonal line from Foushee Street to Academy Street and the results were gaping holes in yards, a failing foundation, a sinking carport and a falling floor that swallowed a hot water heater.

The city claims that it is the responsibility of the property owner.

“I regret that this has happened to this neighborhood, this is my neighborhood. I live in the next block up from where this has happened but I clearly understand that if I had this issue on my property then I would be responsible for paying for it, for maintaining and for fixing it,” said Mayor Merilyn Newell.

According to the city since it is private storm drain under a private residence the homeowner must follow North Carolina law.

“The minute we learned Clyde was coming to see us we began to perform our proactive due diligence, consult our legal counsel, consult our insurer back in August, when we knew that this was an issue we began to immediately see if we had any liability, which our insurer and our legal counsel came back and said we did not,” said Newell.

The city has sent Kelly a letter from the North Carolina League of Municipalities stating that the “NCLM concluded that there is no liability of the part of the City for the storm water drain that may have resulted in damages to the residence.”

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