Pond becomes nightmare for homeowner
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent February 26, 2012 7:34PM
The pond behind Carol Massa's patio home in the Barrington West subdivision has been causing erosion and claims more and more of the grassy area between her fence and the water in Hobart, Ind. Friday February 24, 2012. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 28, 2012 8:05AM
HOBART — When Carol Massa was looking to downsize nine years ago, she picked what she thought was the perfect lot to build a home on, a scenic location overlooking a tranquil pond in Barrington West.
Today, the very pond that hooked Massa in has become her nightmare, eroding her property and creating a safety hazard.
She said the land behind her house has been eroding two to three feet a year and the problem has gotten so bad the lawn-mowing company hired by the subdivision’s homeowners association to mow the common areas has refused to come behind her place for safety reasons.
“The grass had gotten so high I went back to trim it myself and fell into the pond,” Massa said.
She showed where a three-tier fountain once stood in her back yard. It was falling apart because of the erosion and had to be dismantled. She picked up a patio stone that was hollow underneath. She pointed by the fence separating her back yard from the pond.
“I keep filling that with decorative stone, but it keeps sinking,” Massa said, noting the gap under the fence.
She said one of her grandchildren fell in a hole in her yard and her children now are afraid to let the youngsters play outside there.
Massa worries the problem will work its way to the house itself, possibly causing foundation problems.
She said she first noticed the problem four years ago and had written to both the homeowners association and the city seeking help.
Tim Kingsland, Hobart Sanitary District coordinator, went to Massa’s home just north of St. Mary Medical Center last year and, although it is not a city issue, helped Massa with soil problems underneath her driveway.
“He felt sorry for me. He is a wonderful man,” Massa said.
Kingsland said he would talk to Mayor Brian Snedecor to see if there was anything else the city could do for Massa.
“But legally it’s the homeowners association’s responsibility, and the association’s not meeting its obligation,” Kingsland said.
Art Studenroth, former president of the Barrington West Homeowners Association, disagreed. He said the property behind Massa’s home belongs to her, not the association, and is her responsibility.
“Her beef is with the developer,” Studenroth said.
The subdivision was developed by Bud Greiner.
Still, Studenroth said some members of the association board at the time wanted to meet with Massa and offer her a settlement, but he said Massa never called back.
Massa said she was told they weren’t going to do anything for her so she figured why call back.
Owners of the 75-some homes in the subdivision pay $110 a month, which goes to watering and mowing the lawns, shoveling snow and other upkeep in the common areas.
Massa would like some of that money to go toward fixing the erosion problem.
“I’m at my wit’s end. I don’t know what else to do,” she said.