Stuck Between A Rock And A Hard Place: L-C Valley Homeowners Cla - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Stuck Between A Rock And A Hard Place: L-C Valley Homeowners Claim Rock Blaster Is Damaging Their Homes

LEWISTON, Idaho - Barry Schultz is stuck between a rock and a hard place.  

Twelve years ago he built his dream home hoping his property just outside Lewiston could host him for many years to come. He doesn't know if that's the case anymore.

 

"We've been told by an attorney to stop making payments on it," Schultz said.

 

He says all the problems are because of the nearby rock pits and the blasters who he says have caused severe damage to his house. He says his roof moved, sheetrock buckled, inside, pictures have fallen off the walls and the fish tank has lost water.

 

Here's the situation he is dealing with. Outside the Lewiston city limits there are three rock pits, they blast them to get rock for local projects. Schultz claims that because the rock blasters are blasting so hard, they are damaging his property, but there are no laws to protect his home or other homeowners.

 

Brian Dunlap's place is about a mile from Schultz and he says he's seen some of the same problems.

 

"They're shooting large shots that are really ruining property, draining wells, damaging wells and there is zero accountability," Dunlap said.

 

Kenny and Burt Teats own the Teats pit. They've been blasting for nearly 50 years, long before Barry Schultz moved in.

 

"I feel sorry for Barry if he's got problems, but I just don't think we've created them," Teats said. "If he can show that we have I wouldn't be doing it."

 

Teats said the homes closest to the blast site saw no damage at all. We also reached out to Teats blaster, Barnes, Inc., on several occasions, but Barry Barnes never did get back to us. We will say all the work they've done is completely legal.

 

It comes down to state law. There's nothing in the state of Idaho that protects homeowners from blasting damages. Nez Perce County has nothing on the books either. The county tabled an ordinance in 2000, and it hasn't been addressed since. Had it passed it would ensure blasters did not endanger life or property.

 

"An ordinance will put in place safeguards that will protect property owners and they don't want to do it," Schultz said.

 

In the city of Lewiston, on page nine of their fire code, we found a section that limits how hard a business can blast, but that doesn't matter as these homeowners and the pits are not in the Lewiston city limits.

 

"The county's always used the excuse, it's a civil suit, you need to go after the blasters or the rock pit," Schultz said.

 

Problem is, if they do go after the blasters, by law, the blasters didn't do anything  wrong. So instead Schultz took a different approach and sent letters to everyone from the President to local leaders. The President's office said it's a state issue, the state said it's the county's problem and the county, as mentioned earlier, already tabled an ordinance on the issue.

 

Schultz and Dunlap now tell KHQ Local News that they will file suit against Barnes, Inc., the company responsible for blasting in the L.C. Valley.
  
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