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Homeowner says utility pole has caused her home to be hit multiple times

Posted at 6:08 PM, Oct 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-08 18:25:18-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Things around her Gilmer Street home are a little too close for comfort these days for VCU grad student Tamara Barker.

The Carver community homeowner says the alley next to her home is an extra tight squeeze for city trucks, delivery vehicles, and other drivers. It's all because of where a utility pole is located.

Barker shared pictures of the damaged pole with CBS 6 Problem Solvers. You can see where pieces of the wooden pole are chipping away from where drivers constantly hit it.

She also shared a video of trucks scraping up against her home, damaging it.

"My home has been hit by city vehicles at least on three occasions that I have video footage of,” Barker explained. “Also, it gets hit by individuals passing through the alley. I don't think that it's done intentionally. There's just not enough space to pass through safely."

This was her first home purchase. City officials say she bought an existing home that was actually encroaching on city property. Barker admits she didn't realize what a costly headache the pole would become.

She has spent more than a $1,000 on various stair, porch, gutter, and other repairs. One time the homeowner said she tried to recoup money from the city after a garbage truck hit her home but to no avail.

"I reached out to the city attorney. A guy came out to get an estimate of my damage. He dismissed it. I think they claimed sovereign immunity," Barker said.

The CBS 6 Problem Solvers reached out to city leaders. Kim Gray, the council member who represents Barker's district says that she is well aware of the dilemma and has been advocating for her.

Gray says she is working with various departments to solve this. She added that the city deemed the pole a hazard and in the past few months sent a letter to Verizon notifying them of that. A Public Works spokesperson said they are in talks with Verizon to see if the company will consider relocating the pole so that there is more room to access the alley.

That's something Barker says can't happen soon enough.

"My biggest concern is if the pole keeps getting hacked at the bottom, it would fall onto my house" Barker explained.

Gray says city engineers have taken a good look at the pole and believe it is structurally sound. They don't believe there is an immediate threat of falling on the woman's home.

The issue could take a little while to resolve, but Gray says it is definitely on their radar.

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