Save Our City Austin | “Surrounded by Stealth Dorms”—Letter from Rio Grande Street
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“Surrounded by Stealth Dorms”—Letter from Rio Grande Street

“Surrounded by Stealth Dorms”—Letter from Rio Grande Street

My name is Susan Rodenko and I am surrounded by stealth dorms on Rio Grande Street. I will try to take emotion out and give the facts, but it’s very difficult to do that. It was and is a very bad situation.

Following were my daily experiences sandwiched between two “stealth dorms” under construction by [name removed].

-Numerous violations and complaints to 311.

-Construction workers blocked my driveway daily.

-Developer removed No Parking signs on his property and threw them away (the City had to get new ones and reinstall them). I had to call because it was causing dangerous traffic situations.

-Developer hired workers who made lewd sexual comments and or body motions to me while I was working in my yard.

-Developer hired workers that leaned out of upstairs window to watch my 9-year-old daughter getting dressed.

-Developer hired workers who would yell at me when I asked them to move their vehicles when I had to get out of my driveway and they were blocking it.

-Developer’s foreman, when told about my concerns with the workers, said, “I can’t control them.”

-Developer hired workers who took their breaks on my porch and lawn, even after I told them not to.

-Developer allowed workers to put the entrance gate to the construction site bordering my property, so workers had to walk across my lawn to deliver supplies to the worksite. I was never compensated for the damage.

-Developer parked a dumpster on the street in front of my house.

-Developer had his portable toilet on his side of the property line outside the fence. It was used as a public toliet and smelled awful for the duration of construction.  He would have it emptied once every two weeks even though the sanitation worker who dumped it recommended he do it at least once a week.

-When I brought some of these issues to Developer, he personally got quite agitated and called me crazy.

-Developer was told by the City to put his foundation 10 feet away from my tree, and he put it 8 feet away. He also cut into the root ball. This was a problem as well for my house in that he left a void of 5 feet from the top on the original soil to where he dug his foundation and didn’t put up a temporary retaining wall. This was right at the property line, which is 5 feet from my foundation.

-The property line removal of dirt caused great problems with my foundation.  The whole west side had to be brought up to level by 4″.  This was devastating to my house on many levels.  It caused severe cracks inside and out, separation of porches and skirting,  buckling and warping of structural components of the house, buckling and warping of siding and fascia, buckling and separation of hardwood floors inside the house, cracking of tile in the house, cracking of trim in the house, etc. I am still finding more damage as we are presently trying to fix our house.  I don’t feel the foundation has stabilized since Developer filled the space with large limestone rocks. The earth around my foundation will keep filling his void until it is all filled.  So I have to look forward to more damage in the future.

His rental tenants:

-Have only two on-site parking spaces for their at least six-car needs.

-Consistently park illegally.

-Consistently have loud parties that go on until early morning, usually two a week. These parties often spill into my yard, despite the fact that I have now posted a No Trespassing sign.

– On one occasion, a renter jumped my fence to avoid assault and left blood on my air conditioning condenser and fence and bloody money in my yard.

– They leave open liquor containers and trash, and these items spill into my property as well.


I hope this gives you a good idea of the problems I had and am still having with having this developer. It’s really too much to have to deal with. I wish the City of Austin had the power to keep anyone else having to have these things happen to them, particularly by this [name removed] developer. I wish the City had stronger rules in place so I wouldn’t have had this emotional and financial disaster to deal with. I much rather use my resources for things other than infringing and reckless developers.

Susan Rodenko


1 Comment
  • carolyn

    May 8, 2013 at 8:30 pm Reply

    can you get a lawyer involved to address these issues? it might be worth it.

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