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One year later homeowner is still waiting for sinkhole to be repaired

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    LEBANON, Pa. (WPMT) — A Lebanon woman who had a sinkhole open in front of her a house more than a year ago is still waiting for it to get fixed.

In the beginning, the City told her it was her responsibility, but her insurance company said, ‘not so fast.’

Debra Carpenter said she feels helpless.

“I’m also feeling a lot of pressure because I know my neighbors are getting frustrated with this taking so long,” Carpenter said. “It’s an eyesore. And they’re worried.”

It’s been one year and the hole in front of her house is even bigger.

“I mean everybody that walks around here doesn’t even go in the yard,” Carpenter said. “So they walk out in the street. Anything could happen. It could cause an accident. Somebody could walk in front of a car.”

When FOX43 was here last time we learned the City didn’t think it was their responsibility, because Carpenter owns everything up to the street. The city also said the sinkhole was caused by a tree that used to be there years ago, before Carpenter lived there.

But her insurance company told her that area is considered “no man’s land,” aand since she only owns the area up to the yard, they wouldn’t cover the sinkhole repair.

5 weeks later:

“The City sent me a blank contract they wanted me to sign to agree to pay half without any numbers,” Carpenter said. “So my lawyer disagreed and sent it back. And that’s the last we heard from them.”

Now her insurance company has agreed to fill the hole, and fix the sidewalk, but it is refusing to do that until the City comes out and fixes their side so it doesn’t happen again.

State Representative Frank Ryan came out to see the sinkhole Tuesday and said this should not fall on the homeowner.

“I’m having a difficult time seeing that the government doesn’t have liability for this,” Rep. Ryan said. “And I will tell you, I was surprised by the amount of resistance we’re running into from local governments about how they don’t believe that they should be taking responsibility for this.”

FOX43 couldn’t get a hold of the City, but Rep. Ryan said he spoke to the mayor, who said the city indicated it would work with Carpenter. He blames COVID-19 mitigation efforts for the lack of communication.

For now, Carpenter continues to play the waiting game.

“I don’t know what else I can possibly do,” Carpenter said.

Given the fact that Carpenter’s insurance company is willing to cooperate, Rep. Ryan said there’s no reason this shouldn’t be resolved this week. He also said he plans to introduce legislation in the next session which would more clearly define responsibilities for homeowners when it comes to repairs with water lines, piping, and other similar mattters.

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