City eyes house as hazard, Property owner asks for direction

Connie Swinney/The Highlander
During a Town Hall post flood event review Jan. 29, city officials addressed concerns by Marble Falls resident Nancy Dunnam, who lives on Buena Vista Drive, where a number of homes adjacent to Backbone Creek experienced property erosion.

 

 

 

 

By Connie Swinney
Staff Writer

In the aftermath of the October flood event, Marble Falls resident Nancy Dunnam, who has a home on Buena Vista Drive, believes her family has faced a tough climb towards recovery.

“I can't get any information on how to get back in my home. I have a fence that was literally put around my house, no communication,” she said. “How many of you guys that had this happen to you had a fence put around your home? Anybody? Or is it just Buena Vista.”

Dunnam shared her concerns during the Marble Falls Town Hall meeting on Jan. 29, which assessed and gathered citizen input about response and recovery since the flood event.

On Oct. 16, flood water from the Llano River eventually made its way through the Highland Lakes causing temporary evacuations and damage. Churning runoff also crept into Backbone Creek off Lake Marble Falls where at least four property owners on Buena Vista Drive reported erosion on the back side of their property, adjacent to the creek.

“We're members of this community too,” Dunnam said. “I'm sure you can see it from Johnson Park. We'd like collaborate with these guys.”

City officials did not condemn the properties but deemed them “unsafe,” pending action by the private property owners.

“When I drive by there five times a day, your house does not look safe,” Mayor John Packer told Dunnam during the meeting discussion. “If it starts raining and flooding, that does not look safe.”

Dunnam believes her property faced a more stringent post-flood event action by the city due to its location, which is on a peninsula adjacent to the municipal swimming pool, Lakeside Park and Lakeside Pavilion.

“How about road block barriers on my street. [There are] two ways to get into my house right now,” she said. “Both of them have road blocks. Nobody called me. Nobody told me, there was going to be a road block.”

She also asked city officials for answers on the status of engineering letters she submitted to begin the process of assessing her property.

“I still haven't heard a response today,” she said at the meeting. “I have an 'unsafe' placard placed on my window right now that says, 'Do not enter unless authorized in writing by the jurisdiction, which is listed by the city of Marble Falls.”

Packer recommended a meeting between the city and the property owner.

“Maybe we need to all sit down in the same room and talk about it,” Packer said.

In a follow up interview with The Highlander, Marble Falls City Manager Mike Hodge provided additional perspective from the city on handling the Buena Vista Drive properties.

“While we appreciate they are the homeowners, we're concerned about the safety of the public,” Hodge said. “It's still very fragile.

“Anyone who might be in Backbone Creek or there in Johnson Park.”

Hodge added that since the Town Hall meeting, city staff has taken steps to work with the Dunnams.

“We were expecting a study or report or testing (from the property owner). We're looking at how to respond to them, and the mayor and I are looking at meeting with them this week,” he said. “We've given them some criteria to meet.

“What we normally do on responses like that [is] we give them the things they need to provide,” he added. “It tells them how to respond so they can move forward.”

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