Lance Williams, president and CEO of Williams Homes, confirmed Friday he intends to buy back some of the Trestles homes currently afflicted by a local landslide.
"Williams Homes is a 20-year-old, family-owned company headquartered in the Santa Clarita Valley," Williams said in a prepared statement Friday, adding, "Our company is cooperating with the affected parties associated with the slope failure between the American Beauty and Trestles neighborhoods.
"Our team is further coordinating with a skilled team of soils engineers and geologists working on the site to identify the cause of the failure, develop a work plan to repair the slope, and ultimately complete repairs in a timely fashion so that the affected homes are returned to normal occupancy, and the affected families can safely return to their homes," the CEO said. "We have reached out to the homeowners who have limited access to their homes to provide assistance. We are listening and responding.
"Some affected homeowners have asked us to purchase their homes, which we have agreed to do," Williams said. "We intend to continue our efforts to listen, learn and to provide assistance to the affected families where and when possible."
The failing slope was first noticed by residents living above the Trestles developments more than a month ago, when Stephanie and Luis Estrada entered their backyard to find rifts in their brick planters and grass.
Within a week, the cracks morphed into an 8-foot-deep hole that engulfed three backyards — and on Thursday, the damage appeared as if it has continued to get worse.
Workers on the scene can now walk from the Estradas' backyard down to the Trestles residences unimpeded, since a brick wall that separated the neighborhoods now lays crumbled into multiple pieces.
The black backyard fencing, which hung above workers' heads when the slide originally started, is now pressing into the boarded windows and doors of one of the Trestles homes that Williams intends to purchase. The backyard fencing and concrete of other homes have also begun splitting due to the pressure of the moving earth.
Piping from the pumps, which were used to mitigate potential damage during previous days of rain, visibly snakes throughout much of the hill alongside bags of gravel.
There has been no heavy rain for at least a week, but puddles are still visible at the base of the landslide — despite the fact that workers used more than 40,000 square feet of plastic sheeting to prevent moisture from reaching the saturated soil.
The gashes that cut through different areas of the slope mirror those found in the Estradas' backyard nearly five weeks ago, except the ones on the hill are 6 feet wide and a couple of feet deep.
Landscape Development Inc. workers were on the scene Thursday working to remove the tarp in an effort to provide access to the geologists and testing teams, according to Amy Ambrose, an earth services division president of Landscape Development, which has been hired to help mitigate the damage done by the slide and recent storms.
Ambrose added in a phone call Friday that a team will return to the slope if there is a chance of rain in the forecast, "but it's out of our hands for now."
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