Neighbors frustrated with massive hole alleged to be caused by poorly built drainage system

Residents in a DeLand, Florida neighborhood are desperate for answers as a massive, erosion-caused hole slowly creeps toward their homes. The washout is the result of a poorly built drainage system, they said.

Tabitha Ruge has lived in her home on Preakness Circle for years now. What was once a slope to safely walk on, has turned into a dangerous cliff.  "We had this nice grassy knoll, everything looked great and yeah now we get to look at our crater as we’ve nicknamed it," she said.

The erosion was first noticed by neighbors in 2021. Ruge said her husband measured the drop-off at roughly 30 feet. The property belongs to the Saddlebrook Homeowners Association, which means it is entirely up to them to solve the issue. Officials with the city of DeLand said they are monitoring the situation though.

RELATED: DeLand neighborhood watches large washout expand

"The city has been aware of this issue for over a year and staff has been in contact with the Saddlebrook Homeowner’s Association. The land and infrastructure in question is private property, and it will be the HOA’s responsibility to fix it," a spokesperson said. "However, the city is available to provide guidance and connect the HOA with resources that could help find a permanent solution to the problem."

Brad Pomp works with Sentry Management, which oversees the association.

According to Pomp, there was a lawsuit filed against the developer that built the drainage system. That suit was recently settled in court. Though the terms of the settlement are not available to the public, Pomp said it was enough to begin the repair process.

Pomp said an engineer has been recruited for the massive project. As of Wednesday, the engineer is in the bidding process for a developer to carry it out. According to Pomp, there is no timeline for if and when the project will kick off. Ruge said the lack of hard deadlines is concerning.

"I have four kids, I have pets that I am petrified are going to get outside of our backyard fence that we had to put up," she said. The cliff is about 20 feet away from the backside of her home. At one point she said her husband measured it around 70 feet away.