Oakland Residents Sue New Housing

Believe It Is Effecting Creek


June 27 - Some East Oakland residents have filed suit against the city and a major housing developer charging the project is adversely affecting their homes. The city says it's really the homeowners' problem. So the matter is going to court.

Residents who live along chimes creek say the development has already changed their lives.

Mark Brest van Kempen, homeowner: "I've lost about eight feet of land in the back yard of my property. I've seen sewage spilling into the creek, overflowing. I've seen sewer lines break repeatedly, because they're eroded out from the sides."

Chiye Azuma, homeowner: "When we say, 'well look there's flooding, there's erosion, trees are crashing down.' and they say, 'well you know the creek is private property so the city can't be responsible for that." They say the creek starts above the development, which has created new problems with storm runoff. There was a whole lot of water coming down more than we've ever seen in all the years that we've been here.

Mark Brest van Kempen, homeowner: "If they want to take their storm water, and put it someplace else and not put it in the creek, then I'm happy to take responsibility for the creek myself. But I can't take responsibility for them dumping their storm water into the creek."

Neither the city, nor the developer Desilva gates construction would comment on the lawsuit charging violations of federal clean water laws. But City Administrator Deborah Edgerly said her city staff had looked into the matter as recently as three months ago.

Deborah Edgerly, Oakland City Administrator: "My understanding is that what's going on at Leona Quarry has really nothing to do with the homes and the creeks issue below Leona Quarry. That's the last information I received from my staff that the two are not linked."

Neighbors believe sewer work that started along the creek a few weeks ago may have something to do with their threat of a lawsuit. It's no longer a threat. Neighbors also say they are not against the development,. They were just promised it would not effect the creek. They don't want to be held responsible for any problems caused by construction.

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