Couple's dream home turns into nightmare, thanks to shifting creek

THE WOODLANDS, TX (KTRK) -- Deborah and Steve Guinn bought their home in The Woodlands village of Grogan's Point in May. They loved its seclusion next to a greenbelt and how butted up to the narrow Panther Creek.

"It's a very beautiful backyard," said Steve Guinn. "It's very peaceful, very tranquil. We've got a creek running right behind our backyard."

They'd been in the house two weeks when the historic Memorial Day storm slammed southeast Texas. Then the rains came and that's when that creek became a problem. It filled up, shifted course, and eroded the land between the water and their property.

"It hasn't stopped," said Guinn, standing at the edge of his collapsing back yard. "It's continued to progress. The more rain we get, the worse it gets."

His wife, Deborah, won't go outside except to check the growing erosion. "I'm sick to my stomach," she admitted. "I mean, we bought this beautiful home and we've not had one day we've actually been able to enjoy it."

They say when they bought the 10-year-old home the creek was narrower, shallower, and left little debris along its banks. That has most definitely changed.

"I live with this constant anxiety of what am I gonna do," said Deborah Guinn. "Nobody will fix it because they can't and I'm at the mercy of this creek."

The Guinns have tried hiring an engineering firm to fix it. But nobody will guarantee the expensive work will fix the problem. They've turned to the county and to The Woodlands Development Corporation who likely owns the land.

B.D. Griffin with the county attorney's office says they sympathize with the Guinns, but they may not be able to help.

"From the county's standpoint, there may be little or nothing the county can do," explained Guinn. "Since we don't believe we own the property and there are limitations on the expenditure of public funds to aid private properties."

So the Guinns watch the creek and the weather forecast, fearful of both.

"We feel pretty helpless at this point," said Steve Guinn.

The couple has hired an attorney to help them find a solution.

The owner of the land, The Woodlands Development Corporation, had not returned our call for comment at the time of the posting of this article.
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