For over two years, a dispute between two neighbors over a waterfall has remained an ongoing concern for Wildwood city officials.
“It should never have been an issue, except for the fact of one misinformed neighbor making outlandish claims,” Tom Roberts said. Roberts is the homeowner who built the waterfall in question nearly three years ago when he and his wife built their dream home.
As previously reported by West Newsmagazine, the water feature became the source of controversy when neighbors David and Diane Hudson claimed the waterfall was making them sick. Roberts discounted the claims several times before both the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission and the Wildwood City Council. Roberts was granted a conditional use permit by the commission with several conditions attached, including a requirement to make the water available to test by the city.
Even though the city pledged to settle the matter with a test of the water by a third party, the test has yet to be conducted and the dispute continues.
“My wife returned on Aug. 13 from being out of town for three weeks and was exposed, while on our property, to the waterfall in operation. And she again experienced sore throat and lung discomfort,” Dave Hudson said at the Planning and Zoning Commission’s Sept. 16 meeting.
Hudson told the commission that his wife had to seek the medical care of a pulmonologist after the recent exposure. He also claimed he could see a dark film of possible mold growing on the rocks near the waterfall and shared photos with the commission.
Roberts said the latest claims by Hudson are false, further detailing that the dates when Hudson reported to the commission the waterfall had been running coincide with a time that Roberts and his wife were out of the country and couldn’t have turned the pumps on and off.
Furthermore, Roberts also expressed doubts about the health-related claims made by Hudson.
“I find it strange that Hudsons have all these health problems, yet nobody else or employees on our property, who are there eight hours a day, have gotten ill and are much closer to the waterfall than the Hudsons,” Roberts said.
Park and Planning Director Joe Vujnich said last month that the water testing was scheduled to be completed shortly after Labor Day.
Roberts has said again he’s willing to have the city’s contracted vendor come test the water, but as of press time, the contractor has yet to provide him with a date.