Couple's dream home ruined over battle with builder - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Couple's dream home ruined over battle with builder

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One local couple says a more than three year battle with their home builder has greatly affected their health and ruined their retirement.

KWWL first brought viewers the story of the Janesville couple's struggle with a large storm drain on their property last August.  The couple, Paul and Mary Loy, say they were not told that the entire subdivision's storm water would drain onto their property before they purchased what they thought would be their "dream" home.

On more than one occasion, the Loys say they asked the builder if they would have any water issues. The Loys say the builder never mentioned that the storm drain would run onto their property, and assured them they wouldn't have any water issues.

"This has been a nightmare. It has affected my health," said Mary Loy.

Now, after years of fighting the property dispute through the Janesville City Council, things have turned into a lawsuit. 

However, the Loys are not the ones who filed the suit. Instead, the lawsuit was filed by the State Bank. The bank owns farmland directly behind the Loy's backyard that has been damaged by the storm water.  Video taken by the Loy family shows heavy storm water from the entire subdivision rushing into their backyard and continuing onto the field.  The swift-moving water has not only eroded the Loy's backyard, but the farmland as well.

Video taken a year ago by KWWL shows a trench at least a foot deep, and the exposed roots of the corn planted along the path of the water.

A year later, State Bank President John Rigler says the storm water has caused irreversible damage.

"We have had to take a good section of it out of production. It is a gully. The only thing that can survive down there is the mosquitoes and the weeds," said Rigler.

Last year, subdivision builder Jim Sands said he would build a retention pond in the empty lot next door that would hold the storm water and release it slowly into the field.  The plan would have also removed the storm drain from the Loy's property.  But because of a state law requiring every homeowner to agree on a subdivision change, the plan failed when a few said no.

A year later, Jim Sands tells KWWL he doesn't feel it should be his responsibility to change the storm drainage system.

"It is a natural water way, like I said, so all we did was increase the velocity of it," said Sands.

Sands says the city approved the current storm water run-off system before the water caused any damage to the Loy and State Bank properties.

"Then the city would not accept it until this is resolved, which I did everything I was supposed to do. I should be able to wash my hands of this," said Sands.

The City of Janesville has not yet accepted the subdivision as part of the city. According to the city, this means Jim Sands remains responsible for the storm drainage run-off system in the development. Janesville Mayor Sandi Carroll says the city will not accept the subdivision until Sands resolves the current water issues. 

The State Bank hopes that by filing the lawsuit, a judge will override the law requiring every homeowner to approve a change and force Sands to build the retention pond.

"Just do what he has agreed to do. We have sat by twiddling our thumbs for years waiting for it to get built. It hasn't been built," said Rigler.

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