JAMES CITY COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — A dispute in James City County over a pipe has pitted a local woman against VDOT, and this battle is far from over.
In fact, the pipe problem has caused erosion issues, and caused a driveway to split on Pinedell Lane in the Heritage Landing Community.
VDOT says it’s not their problem, and has been saying that for a long time, so the resident called 10 on Your Side.
You know you are at the Narducci home when you see the sunken driveway that has split. It once looked nice, but not anymore. Their driveway is caving in because of a compromised pipe underneath.
That pipe is called a culvert that takes water from the V-DITCH that carries storm water for the Heritage Landing Community, through the culvert, and down to a pipe in a washout area.
Homeowner Ruth Narducci is tired from her over 2-year battle with VDOT.
“I just want it fixed,” she told 10 On Your Side. “That’s all I care about now, and it’s been going on for years, and it makes no sense.”
Ruth and her son, Michael, want VDOT to help pay for the repairs that could go up to $40,000 because their property is damaged by public use for their neighborhood and the road.
“My first argument in the beginning was the [lack of] reasonableness [on the part of VDOT],” said Michael. “This is a road drain for the road and property, and it benefits the area on public land, and (VDOT) said ‘no dice.’ “
In a letter from VDOT’s Chief of Maintenance and Operations, Kevin Gregg, acknowledges to Michael Narducci, “the fact a portion of the pipe/culvert is on the VDOT right of way” is not uncommon and, does not impart ownership or replacement responsibility on VDOT.”
VDOT says the pipe is considered a driveway pipe, and is part of the property’s driveway.
“You see, they always tap-dance around the code where they say they maintain the pipe,” Michael told 10 On Your Side.
VDOT also says repairs and replacements of these pipes are the responsibility of the property owner, but the Narduccis claim VDOT has been out twice to clean out the pipe, and they want VDOT to come out more often.
“This is way beyond a typical homeowner job. We even asked them would you just do the work, and we will pay the contractors, and they refused to do that,” Ruth told us.
VDOT claims to be legally prohibited from working on private property unless it’s impacting a VDOT roadway.
VDOT did come out when a sink hole appeared right across the street from the Narducci home. VDOT says the sinkhole is caused by two failed VDOT owned cross pipes. That is absolutely impacting the road as the asphalt is cracking.
“I think it is VDOT’s responsibility to help us,” Michael said.
The Narducci family will always believe that, but where this all ends will likely be in their pocket to which they both immediately said yes.