When Annemarie and David Jones purchased their property on Gwenmawr Road, part of the Tuskes Hanover Oaks development (formerly known as Valley View Estates), they had no idea that a sinkhole had once been on their property.
“We worked very hard to build this home,” Mrs. Jones told the East Allen Board of Supervisors on April 11.
After moving onto the property in summer 2017, however, the Jones family quickly realized something was not right.
“We had no driveway, no grading, no lawn,” Mrs. Jones continued. “We did not know what was wrong with our yard.”
Grass, she said, was not growing, and rain formed swamps on their two acre property. The house was not settling properly. Mrs. Jones estimates that her and her husband had called repairmen over to the home at least 70 times over the nine months they have lived there.
The Jones family decided to investigate the issue. After going through files at the East Allen Township municipal building, they ran across a map of their development. This map showed nine sinkhole and depression sites around their neighborhood.
Then, Mrs. Jones found a 2013 FEMA report that stated a sinkhole was discovered on her property. The status of the sinkhole did not say “remediated.”
“Tuskes led us to believe we were buying a property without elevated sand mounds or sinkholes,” Mrs. Jones told supervisors.
While she and her husband were able to find proof of the sinkhole on their property, they are currently unable to find any proof that the sinkhole was remediated before they acquired the property.
“We cannot seem to get any information,” said Mrs. Jones. “We need something to get homeowner’s insurance.”
Township engineer James Milot assured them that the sinkhole was fixed. He says seven of the nine sinkholes and depressions were addressed. He told the Jones family that the sinkhole on their property, which a road currently goes through, was one of those remediated.
However, a lack of paperwork means the Jones family is not quick to believe that the issue is resolved.
“If you do not have the documentation, where is the proof?” asked David Jones.
All of the issues facing their property are something “indicative of a sinkhole, not a remediated sinkhole.”
“If it was remediated,” said Mrs. Jones, “it was not done properly.”
The Jones family asked supervisors to provide them with any documentation they have on their property’s sinkhole history, including proof of remediation and proof that the property was cleared to be built on. Supervisor Roger Unangst promised to supply the Jones family with all of the paperwork the township has available.
“We have had run off and erosion,” said Mrs. Jones. “That by itself should not have been allowed by East Allen.”