90-year-old Norfolk man says city is to blame for cracking foundation; starts petition

Posted at 12:58 PM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 17:51:31-04

NORFOLK, Va. - One by one, passersby stop to sign a petition outside of James Beasley's Ocean View home on Dune Street.

"I want to thank you, sir," Beasley says to a neighbor.

The 90-year-old Norfolk man says the home he's lived in for 52 years is crumbling away.

"I've just been in a battle with the city," Beasley said.

He showed News 3 a driveway that looks like a highway of cracks.

"The garage floor is cracked, house is caved in, foundation's gone bad," he explained.

Beasley told News 3 that two years ago, the city came out to excavate and build a pond to the right of his property for water quality improvement as well as a wildlife habitat.

"This is our property line, and what they did infringes on the easement. That is supposed to be 10 feet," Beasley's son explained.

A year later, they continue to notice deepening cracks in the driveway and a crumbling foundation, so they called the City of Norfolk again.

"We got them to put dirt out, but they just put out topsoil and no bulkhead or retaining wall, so it continues to sink," Beasley said.

Each day, he sees more damage.

"The property is eroding and is eroding fast now, and it's causing my health to really deteriorate," Beasley said.

A City of Norfolk spokesperson told News 3 Thursday they are investigating Beasley's claims and did send us before-and-after pictures of the work. One photo they provided was taken in July 2015, where they did notate visible cracks already in the driveway prior to excavation.

"It's just a mess," Beasley said.

Because of the increasing damage, Beasley has hired a contractor to come in and raise part of his foundation on Monday. He says it will cost him $15,000.

So far, his petition for reparations for property damage after easement infringement has netted more than 1,000 signatures.

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"I want my driveway fixed and my house put back," Beasley said.

Beasley told us the City of Norfolk did visit the home three weeks ago to take more photos.