Nokomis residents share concerns over holes

Sterrett said this isn’t the first-time construction in that area has brought the same results.
Sterrett said this isn’t the first-time construction in that area has brought the same results.(Michaela Redmond)
Published: May. 20, 2023 at 3:15 PM EDT
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NOKOMIS, Fla. (WWSB) - Nokomis residents around the Kenwood Avenue area are dealing with holes that have popped up in the streets, yards and even under fences.

Victor Kokorian lives at the end of Kenwood Avenue and found the first hole to appear back in January with his neighbor Leigh Sterrett.

“On the surface it didn’t look that bad because the roots of the oak trees were kind of holding the soil up, but when you got in and looked in with the flashlight, it was literally as large as a a school bus. You could not see left or right how far back it went, and it was a good 20 feet deep,” said Sterrett.

Sterrett explained the hole came 72 hours after a construction site right next to their properties started pumping ground water.

The construction is through Pulte Group Homes that are building Legacy Cove at the corner of Albee Farm and Edmondson Road. This is the same stretch of land that used to be an orange grove.

Sterrett said this isn’t the first-time construction in that area has brought the same results.

“Roughly 30 years ago, the orange groves that were in place over here they started to dig an irrigation ditch around the orange grove, and they got in about the second day of digging and they started collapsing sink holes in the area. So, it was abandoned. They knew that what they were doing was causing the ground water to escape and open the voids in the Aquaphor and things were collapsing. So, they abandoned it. Everything kind of went back to normal and over the last 20/30 years, there have been zero problems in this area,” said Sterrett.

Four holes have appeared on a road that was filled, on Orange Grove Avenue.

Danyelle Kreider lives there and explained the road was just put in a couple of years ago and now they have the holes filled with sand and rocks. Kreider explained that along with the holes, the well pumps are being impacted as well.

“I’ve been struggling with my well pump now for a couple of months now. You know, because of the pond and the water situation and they took water out and then filled it back up. Now, that the ditch is getting bigger, the pond that they dug is getting bigger, and that has a direct impact on our wells and a lot of people around here are still on wells,” said Kreider.

ABC 7 reached out to Pulte Group and received a statement from their spokesperson Macey Kessler.

“We continue to work closely with Sarasota County and maintain active communication with them regarding our activities onsite. As soon as we were made aware of the reported subsidence events, we ceased work in concern, and engaged geological experts to learn more. Currently, we are consulting with the experts to determine if there is a connection between prior land development work and the natural events that have occurred in nearby neighborhoods,” said Kessler.

According to Sarasota County, they asked the developer to stop dewatering activities at the stormwater pond on the southeast corner of the site.

“Once the developer heard the county’s concerns, they voluntarily stopped the dewatering in that pond. The developer also proposed a plan for construction activities to occur on other portions of the project, which the county agreed to. At this time, the developer is working with a team of geologists to gather information of the surrounding area. Based on the results of this report will determine next steps. We do not have evidence at this time to know if the activities on site have contributed to the subsidence or if it’s related to current drought conditions. The incidents continued to occur after dewatering ceased,” according to a statement from the Sarasota County Planning and Development Services Staff.