In last-ditch effort, High Point man asks city to fix backyard

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Peter Dealing takes a lot of pride in his backyard. He mows it regularly, weeds, the whole nine yards. There’s just one problem that has grown over time: a five-foot-deep crater that is marching across his property, slowly swallowing land as it grows.

It’s a result of stormwater runoff that’s taken years to develop. When Dealing bought the property nearly 15 years ago, it was a gentle brook that curled around the back yard. A lot has changed in the landscape over a decade.

“It's a snowballing effect,” Dealing said. “One thing leads to another to another to another.”

Dealing wants to maintain his property, but there’s only so much he can do when the root of the problem is down the street.

He says years ago, the City of High Point approved a project that would put a couple homes on two lots that were unavailable when Dealing bought the property because there was a retention pond.

Now with the pond gone, the stormwater system has changed. Dealing says an unintended consequence is the runoff floods his backyard brook, making it more of a river.

The city came in and did maintenance on the stormwater system closest to where the pond used to be, but left Dealing to deal with the damage. He sees it as a double standard.

“Why did the City of High Point come out here and fix it for him for free and now they're telling me 'OK well we'll fix the damage that's happened because of it for $7,000,'” Dealing said.

Property owners in High Point pay a $4 stormwater tax. High Point’s Assistant Public Services Director Robby Stone says that money is used for various water projects, including the Stormwater Improvement Program.

Stone says the program is set up to meet the property owner halfway since the owner is responsible for maintaining any city stormwater system that runs through their property.

“The amount we issue back to them is for materials only, the city is responsible for paying for the equipment, cost and the labor to do that work,” Stone said.

Dealing firmly believes since the damage is a result of a change to the stormwater system approved by the city, the city should foot the entire bill.