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Couples fight builder over swampy yard, drainage issues

Posted at 12:19 AM, May 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-21 00:19:47-04

LEIGHTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- James and Stephanie Markland moved into their Harvest Meadows home during the winter in early 2014 in rural Leighton Township in Allegan County. "The neighborhood seemed pretty nice," James  said. However, their view of the property changed once the weather warmed up. Instead of a lush green yard, they said they found a swamp in their backyard.

“We really weren’t aware of any drainage problems until all the snow melted away and the water was just standing and not going anywhere," said Stephanie. "Two to six inches deep depending on how much rain we've had. We have frogs now. We have mosquitoes. The gnats ... just clouds of mosquitoes. Our son's allergic to mosquitoes. He can't even play on his swing set."

Last June, the couple called the Allegan County Drain Commissioner's office and an engineer paid them a visit.

“He had a big, huge map, and he opened it and said, 'That house right there is in my drainage easement.' I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘That house is in the middle of the drainage easement. That’s where your problem is,'” Stephanie recalled.

Sable Developing Inc. built the homes in the subdivision. According to Allegan County records, the county engineer found that Sable built a neighboring home in the county’s drainage easement. That house belongs to Joe and Rebecca Beach, and they’re also dealing with standing water.

“It comes awfully close to our deck, which is probably going to eventually eat into the poles that are going into the ground and cause the deck to be unstable, Joe Beach said.

The Marklands dug deeper and found out the Beach’s home is technically on their property. The lot line adjustment made by Sable hadn’t been recorded with the County Register of Deeds.

Watch the video for more.