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Home Teetering On Cliff May Be Demolished

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA)

(credit: KTVT/KTXA)

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
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HILL COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) - The luxury home that has been teetering on the edge of a cliff over Lake Whitney could be destroyed well before it falls into the water. City leaders met on Thursday morning to discuss options for demolishing the home — rather than letting it fall — in order to minimize the amount of debris that would go into the lake.

The chalk-like rock underneath the home started eroding away last year, eating into the property along Overlook Court. Authorities first learned about the situation in February. The home’s owners are from Florida and moved out weeks before the ground started to collapse. They only used the home part-time.

The Hill County Sheriff’s Office said that this is the only home in jeopardy at this time. However, the Army Corps of Engineers is keeping a close eye on other nearby properties along the north shore of the lake.

Hill County does not require building permits in unincorporated areas, except for septic systems. The community where the home sits (for now, at least) is in an unincorporated area. “It could go at any time,” said Chief Deputy Mark Wilson. “We just don’t know.”

Rather than waiting out the process as originally planned, county officials met on Thursday to talk about demolishing the structure. Burning the home was one of the ideas mentioned at that meeting. A demolition company also said that they could wrap a large steel net around the building and pull it back away from the edge of the cliff, essentially demolishing the home in the process.

But Hill County Judge Justin Lewis does not have authorization to order a demolition. That decision would need to be made by either the Army Corps of Engineers, since they own the lake, or the home’s owners.

The hope is that, by destroying the home before it falls down, less materials would be dumped into Lake Whitney. Of course, the structure could always fall into the lake on its own before crews even arrive at the scene.

Rain on Thursday could accelerate the process. “Deputies told me there are cracks around the house up to two to three feet wide,” Wilson added on Wednesday. “If we get rain, I’m sure it is going to soak in pretty quick.”

The shoreline is 70 feet below the home, and neither walkable nor in a busy boating area. Officials do not believe this to be a public safety issue, but the area has been roped off as an added precaution.

The owners of the 4,000 square foot home are being held responsible for cleaning up whatever mess the home’s destruction creates.

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