Address mix-up at root of problem for sinkhole repair delays
BATON ROUGE - A sinkhole has slowly been swallowing up a rental property for years and the property owner is tired of watching his money pit grow bigger and bigger.
When Jesse Hayes talks about his property he sounds defeated.
"The whole foundation is sinking," he said. "It's gone, it's gone completely from under there."
The foundation of his rental house is not only sinking, it's detached from the original structure. Hayes says the hole it's sinking into is about eight feet deep.
He bought the Baton Rouge property in 1996. It's a corner lot with a residence and a separate rental unit in the rear. He used the separate house for additional income until 2001. That's when he first learned he had a problem.
"I tried to put a fence in front of the door, my whole shovel went straight down into the ground," he said.
Ever since he's watched the sinkhole swallow more of the rental house he used to rely on for income. A few months ago a chunk of his driveway broke off and now it's falling into the hole.
He called the City-Parish about the hole early on and says someone came out once to look it over in 2004.
"I ain't seen nobody since," he said.
Hayes lives on Madison Ave. and North 17th Street. Last year, he filed a work order with the City-Parish and remembers taking a phone call about some scheduled work to fix the sinkhole but it was never fixed.
2 On Your Side found a work order was closed in May 2016 for repairs to a sinkhole three blocks down the street from Hayes and Hayes' name and number were on that work order. The City's Wastewater Collection Division confirms the sinkhole project was completed by a contractor at an address down the street from Hayes. The sinkhole just so happens to be along North 17th Street and has the same numerical address as Hayes' residence.
Hayes wasn't thrilled to learn that information.
The City-Parish went out to Hayes correct address Tuesday and Wednesday to inspect the sinkhole. It tells 2 On Your Side a permit was issued in 1965 to build the rental house, but it wasn't built where it was permitted to be built. Instead, the house was constructed on top of a sewer line.
Hayes bought the property and inherited the problem without knowing. He hopes now that the City-Parish knows about the issue, it can put a stop to the growing sinkhole.
As of now, the damage to the rent house is significant. Hayes said he's not yet sure what he'll do with the broken foundation but is hopeful he'll be able to move forward.
The City-Parish said it still has more work to do before it can determine what type of repair work is necessary.