MARYLAND

Displaced by landslide, Fort Washington residents hear plans for remedies

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Residents of a Fort Washington neighborhood -- some of whom haven't been able to live in their homes since early May -- heard options for the future at a meeting Monday night.

Residents of a section of Piscataway Drive were forced from their homes after a waterlogged hillside gave way nearly two months ago. Some have since moved back after WSSC put in a new temporary water line.

Monday night at the Harmony Hall Regional Center, Prince George's County officials presented the affected residents with two main options for the future, neither of which are ideal.

Officials say the cheapest option to fix damaged Piscataway Drive and the hillside would cost $22 million. The county only has $11 million in the budget for it, so officials plan to ask the state for the rest.

If the state says yes, the county plans to repair the road and hill -- but the construction would force residents of all 28 affected homes to live elsewhere for six months.

If the state does not provide the $11 million more the county needs, then county excecutive Rushern Baker says the county would explore the option of buying homeowners out instead of repairing the road.

The county says the issue is complicated by the fact that the road is a county responsibility, but the slope that failed is private property.

Still, residents feel the county needs to do more to take ownership of the problem, especially since many feel years of neglect of the street's stormwater drainage system helped lead to the slope failure.

"It's frustrating," said homeowner Myles Cullen. "They have some responsibility."

"The facts haven't been straight," said another homeowner at Monday night's meeting. "They keep reporting in the newspaper that the hill failed and then the road broke. No, the road broke first!"

County officials say they are asking the state of Maryland for an answer on whether it will provide money within two weeks.

They say they're doing so because homeowners can't keep living in limbo.

Also, those who have moved back are using a temporary water line put in by WSSC. That line would likely freeze once winter comes.

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