State geologists are assessing the slippage problems affecting a hillside house in the Heather Glen Subdivision. The house was ruled unsafe for occupancy last week.
Layton Community Development Director Scott Carter said geologists hope to make recommendations on the Shane D. and Kimberley Cordingley house, 1851 E. Sunset Drive, by Wednesday afternoon."The state is mapping out the slide area," he said.
The state hopes to create a computer model that will outline a plan of action to save or stabilize the home.
Contrary to previous media reports, Carter stressed that Layton City is helping with efforts to solve the problems. However, he said until the exact causes are known, all the city can do is help with the geological studies. Otherwise, it would be throwing money away on improvements that may not work.
"We must know the cause," he said.
For Carter, this kind of slippage is deja vu. In the mid 1980s - another extremely wet period - he said there were similar problems with some hillside homes in Layton.
Heather Glen subdivision had not been built then. Carter said development started there in about 1987.
The Cordingleys have moved into the home of a friend in the neighborhood. Area residents have helped them move many possessions out of their house. The Cordingleys could not be reached for comment, and Carter said they indicated they don't want to be bothered by the media.
"Mrs. Cordingley's really shaken up," Carter said.
The house isn't likely to fall off the hillside though, Carter said.
"It's twisting. It's folding," he said.
Some of the framing has popped out and there's definitely enough structural damage to make the home unsafe.
Carter said the city isn't aware of any previous problems with homes in that subdivision. At least one other home in the area to the west has smaller cracks in its foundation, but he said they aren't serious enough to declare it unsafe. He also said the yards of other homes have also slipped and cracked.
"If the whole earth is moving, there isn't much you can do about it," said Deana Cheal, who lives two houses east of the Cordingley home.
The consensus among several Davis County insurance agents is that the damage to the Cordingley house and other houses won't be covered by insurance.
The greatest damage to the $200,000 Cheal house, as well as the other 15 homes in the subdivision, may be the loss of value, Cheal said.
"Even if we put a for sale sign on our yard, we couldn't get five bucks for it now," she said about the house that they have lived in for 11 years, and only have four more years of payments remaining.
Attempts to protect the house, such as numerous plants, walls, and ground anchors, have helped some. The assistance that Cheal would prefer, however, is in the form of city or state help. But as of yet, both entities have not made great efforts to save the homes or provided any outlets for such help, she said.
"We may have to sue for it, and we don't have the time or money to undertake that," she said, noting that because they own a business, they cannot claim bankruptcy. "But we don't want to sue, we just want some help . . . The backyard is scary, our doors won't close, and we have cracks in the walls. It's a worthless house."
Carter said the city won't consider changing any subdivision or building ordinances for hillside homes in light of these problems. However, it will likely strengthen what the city requires on soil and geological analysis for developers. That action doesn't require any formal ordinance change.