Draper mayor: 3rd home is at risk of sliding off ‘man-made’ lots

Apr 25, 2023, 10:06 AM | Updated: 10:09 am

Homes that were lost as part of a land collapse on April 22, 2023. (Chopper 5, KSL TV)...

Homes that were lost as part of a land collapse on April 22, 2023. (Chopper 5, KSL TV)

(Chopper 5, KSL TV)

DRAPER, Utah — A third home is believed to be at risk of sliding off a filled-in ravine days after two homes were destroyed by a landslide in the area, Draper Mayor Troy Walker said Monday

“There’s one more that we think is going to probably slide at some point. It’s in a really precarious situation,” the mayor said, appearing on KSL NewsRadio’s “Dave and Dujanovic,” noting that the home at risk of sliding is one of two additional homes on Springtime Road that were evacuated after Saturday’s landslide.

The other home that was evacuated is not considered to be in “that much danger” at the moment, he added. No other homes are listed as having the same risks as the four highlighted by the city. Ann’s Trail and Clark’s Trail remain closed in the area because of the risk of homes or debris falling on people recreating there.

Owner of one of two Draper homes that slid never expected it would really happen

The incident over the weekend comes after the region — and state — received a record snowpack collection that is starting to melt. It’s resulting in all sorts of flooding and landslide concerns, even prompting Utah Gov. Spencer Cox to declare a state of emergency last week.

The two homes, located at 2463 and 2477 E. Springtime Road in Draper, started to collapse Friday night before tumbling into a ravine early Saturday morning. Draper officials had already condemned both homes several months before the landslide, meaning that nobody was inside either structure when they fell.

KSL-TV reported in December that the city had informed the homebuilder, Edge Homes, that there were “definite signs of (retention) wall and slope failure” months before the homes were condemned, ultimately leading to a decision to evacuate the homeowners.

However, experts say what happened is more of a “man-made” problem than a natural disaster. Both homes that collapsed were built on top of engineered soil that filled in a part of the ravine in the area, so the land is reacting differently than regular soil in the city, Walker explained.

“This is not a landslide in a traditional sense, where native soil is giving way (because it’s) oversaturated. This is man-made, these are man-made lots, and they’re supposed to be engineered to hold the homes that are on them,” he said. “The homes that are in danger are the homes that are on that ravine.”

Utah geologist gives exclusive insight into Draper collapses

KSL meteorologist Kevin Eubank points out that a natural ravine is formed by historic water runoff, so it’s up to drainage or diversions to avoid the type of land erosion that’s happening at the moment.

As Draper keeps tabs on the two other homes that have been evacuated, Walker also asserted Monday that the city did all of its due diligence under state law before approving the homes and that “all of the onus” over what happened falls on Edge Homes.

The company issued a statement Monday, contending that “more analysis and data are necessary” to determine what went wrong, while also saying that this winter “amplified” the situation and prevented the company from stabilizing the two homes before they collapsed. Edge Homes purchased one of the two homes back in January; company officials said they’re seeking to work with the other homeowners affected at the moment.

“We are committed to finding the underlying cause of the problems to ensure they do not happen again,” company officials said. “We had hoped to perform a controlled demolition of the two homes in the near future, but that is no longer possible.

“The remediation, hillside stabilization, and beautification will now be our focus,” they added. “We will see this situation through to the end in order to protect our homeowners, their families and the community.”

Contributing: Dave Noriega

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Draper mayor: 3rd home is at risk of sliding off ‘man-made’ lots