If you are new to Gardens South Condominiums, this blog is a running history of the challenges created by a small landslide that affected 20 of the 111 total units in the community, as well as neighboring properties (Dairy Queen, hotel, etc.). Only buildings L & M within the Gardens South project have been affected. All of the other buildings in Gardens South have not experienced any structural damage related to the slide and appear to be safe. In late 2012 an earthen berm of nearly 60,000 tons of soil was constructed at the base of the slide. It is our hope that the berm, which was designed to counter balance and stabilize the 400 foot wide landslide area, will perform as planned.
Below is the latest communication from the geotechnical engineer tasked with monitoring movements in the slope. Both the city, the HOA, and the homeowners who were forced out of their condos are waiting to determine if the site can be stabilized enough to justify making repairs to the damaged buildings so they can be inhabited once again.
It takes a couple of years for the dirt to fully settle and determine if there has been further slide activity which may pose a threat. Some slight movement has been detected which is most likely caused by normal settling of the berm, but overall the berm, so far, appears to be doing what it was designed to do. One major concern however was a recent break in the main sewer trunk that services the residents of the unaffected building N as well as M. This was most likely caused by the slide prior to the construction of the berm and it's not certain how long the pipe was broken. The HOA spent nearly $50,000 in November to construct a sewage pumping system to service building N. Although building M is not currently connected to any city utilities, including sewer, the pump system is designed with enough capacity to also service building M if and when it can be repaired.
The geotechnical firm will conduct another reading in June, 2015 and hopefully by then they should have enough history and information to make a recommendation as to whether or not the site is safe so that a determination as to the economic feasibility of reconstruction can be made. In the meantime, all we can do is continue to wait, monitor and hope that the slide has been sufficiently stabilized as a result of the efforts made so far.
If you have visited Gardens South recently, you will notice that the community is looking much better. All of the asphalt has been recently sealed and protected. This is a two step process and the second coat will be applied in the spring of 2015. Improvements to the landscaping are constantly being made to reduce water consumption and take care of maintenance issues. The HOA payment of $280 per month per unit may be higher than some other projects but you should be aware that it includes funds that are being set aside for capital expenditures and extra damage caused by the landslide, such as the sewer repairs. If the damaged buildings L & M can be feasibly reconstructed or if the city requires demolition, a additional special assessment may be required of all owners. Anyone contemplating purchasing or selling a unit in Gardens South should be aware of this possibility.