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Detention pond gobbling up land in Gonzales neighborhood

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GONZALES - A couple of homeowners are having a property issue in a relatively new subdivision in Ascension Parish.

Mossy Oaks Subdivision, off Babin Road, was built in the last five years. Luke Langlois moved into the neighborhood about two years ago and has enjoyed it, up until a week ago when his next-door neighbor knocked on his door.

"Neighbor knocked on my door saying that the area behind our yard had fallen into the pond," said Langlois. "I couldn't believe it."

The land just behind Langlois fence has slumped into the detention pond behind the house. It happened overnight Friday, September 7, after a hard rain. Right now, it's only affecting a couple of homeowners, but residents fear it could get worse. Dollar signs are flashing in front of Langlois' eyes.

"I would assume it would be a lot of money," he said.

So much land has fallen, Langlois had to remove part of his fence since the ground where it once stood no longer exists. His peaceful backyard that backs up to the detention pond is at risk of being destroyed.

"My immediate reaction is, you know, what are we going to do about this?" he said. "Then seeing the cracks along my fence line, how much more are we going to lose if it continues to rain?"

In the last week, the less than two-years-old Mossy Oaks Homeowner's Association has gotten involved and Ascension Parish Department of Public Works visited the site last week. DPW says it's the HOA's responsibility and not the parish. The HOA has contacted a bulkhead expert and Langlois says he's also contacted the developer.

"No one wants to assume responsibility for it," he said.

Paperwork from Ascension Parish shows four homes surround this specific detention pond, with a 15 ft. drainage servitude. Development maps say the water body is an existing detention pond and that the pond, shorelines and/or levees should be privately owned and maintained. It also says, "The Parish of Ascension shall have no responsibility for the maintenance thereof."

Langlois and his neighbors fear the construction in the area wasn't done correctly the first time. He says grading behind his home was still being completed when he moved in.

"It's hard to see it, but if you look from the side you can see where the clay starts and the dirt on top and that's what we're losing," he said.

Tuesday, 2 On Your Side asked Ascension Parish for compaction test results and is currently waiting on this paperwork.

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