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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Home Sinks as Town Disputes Claim

James and Donna Pasquini had a spacious new addition built on their Coeymans home in 2004. The expansion was to be for Donna’s ailing mother, who died before she could enjoy it.

These days, the addition serves as a comfortably furnished bedroom suite, including a bath and walk-in closet, but it’s far from perfect. Daily, the Pasquinis lament the expanding cracks and gaps that appear on the walls and ceiling faster than they can count them.

Beneath the Pasquinis’ home, the ground is shifting, and they believe it’s all because an old town storm sewer that runs along their property line is collapsing bit by bit.'

A low stone wall between their property and a neighbor’s, built above the in-ground culvert, has toppled toward their home, along with a row of shrubs and two ash trees, which were removed when they listed toward the Pasquinis’ roof.

The Pasquinis say the first signs of trouble appeared two years ago after an extraordinarily rainy spring. In August, they noticed that the joints on the walls and ceilings in their addition were pulling apart. The concrete floor of a storage space below the living area began to crack.

They immediately began communicating with officials of the town of Coeymans to address the problem. A town crew cut down the two trees, the town hired an engineering firm to study the collapsing storm sewer and the Pasquinis said they were repeatedly reassured by town officials that the problems stemming from the collapsing culvert would be addressed quickly.

“They told us all along they would take care of it,” James said when I met the Pasquinis in their kitchen this week.

“We had no reason not to believe them,” said Donna.

It seems that, perhaps, the town’s idea of “taking care of it,” was different than the Pasquinis’.

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