NEVADA CITY (CBS13) — A handful of homeowners in Nevada County are suing the county and the water district a year after a landslide wrecked their homes.
The group says the county knew of dangers in the Cascade Shores neighborhood and didn’t tell residents.
Last year, a record of nearly 8 feet of rain fell in the area of Irene Masteller’s home. In February 2017 a chunk of land in Cascade Shores gave out.
“Everything was just lost; everything was just gone,” said Masteller.
Ten homes were evacuated. The land is still unsafe. Masteller and her grandson with severe disabilities haven’t been allowed to come back.
“It’s been horrible. I mean we lost our home,” said Masteller.
Her home slid off its foundation. The front of the house now 8 inches higher than the back.
Large cracks fill most rooms.
“There is no value in it and no money to fix it,” said Masteller.
While the heavy rain was unavoidable, Masteller and a handful of others believe the resulting landslide was.
“They knew this whole area was unstable. Did they tell the public, no,” said Scott Browne.
He represents the families suing the county. He says the county should have made people aware of the dangerous land years before the slide.
Browne also accuses the county of disturbing the ground while surveying for a wastewater leach field location.
“Their work on the property below my client’s property contributed to the instability that ultimately resulted in a landslide.
But the county says not all the information is true.
“There are factual inaccuracies about the counties activity on the property, we haven’t touched the property for example,” explained Alison Barratt-Green, the county council.
Based on their examination, Barratt-Green says the impacts of the slide are the responsibility of the homeowner.
“This was a very unforeseen and unexpected event due to the atmospheric river events at that time,” said Barratt-Green.
As the lawyers hash things out a year after the landslide, Masteller and her grandson are left waiting with very little.
“I hope it gets resolved in a way that people can live in their homes and be safe,” said Masteller.
Browne says there are 33 other properties near the slide site that may also be at risk of a slide.
He’s requesting that the county financially compensate the three people listed in the claim for the damage done by the slide.
The county was served the lawsuit on Tuesday and counsel is working on a response.