- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 7, 2016

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) - Two Asheville homes are slowly sinking into the ground after the collapse of a drainage pipe, city officials have said.

The pipe problem has soaked the ground in an east Asheville neighborhood, creating a sinkhole that’s affecting two single-story homes, the Asheville Citizen-Times (https://avlne.ws/2ghZLQa) reported Wednesday.

Terry Simmons’ company, SLG Properties LLC, owns one of the properties. He told the paper it will be expensive to lift up the duplex, on which he’s still paying a mortgage and uses as rental property

City officials have said that the pipe failure and the damage it has caused are not their problems. Spokeswoman Polly McDaniel said that the pipes under the homes are private property and up to the owners to maintain.

“The pipes that failed under these properties are private pipes,” McDaniel said. “The city maintains the pipes that fall within the city’s right of way. These would be considered private property.”

Simmons said that he was not told about the culvert beneath his property when he bought it.

Tax records show the other home was sold to a woman by Western North Carolina Habitat for Humanity, the nonprofit that helps low-income people build and then buy their own homes. Officials with Habitat said they couldn’t say more due to a confidentiality agreement.

The paper could not reach the homeowner.

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Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, https://www.citizen-times.com

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