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A linear shift in the earth on Scribner will be monitored, engineers plan to excavate the road on Monday

By Alecia Kaus

After a weeklong investigation, cracks in the roadway and on the property at 445 Scribner Road in Pembroke are not the result of a sinkhole, according to the Genesee County Director of Emergency Management Tim Yaeger.

Geologists have classified the event as a catastrophic movement of earth.

“Will it keep occurring? We are not sure,” Yaeger said.

Yaeger said the last time they noticed any shift or movement in the ground on Scribner Road was this past Monday and Tuesday. Monitoring equipment will be installed in a well to check water levels in the affected area and a seismograph will be placed to see if the ground is still moving.

On Monday, an excavation crew will arrive and dig up the 70-foot section of the road that is cracked to see if there are any other visual signs of movement. Earlier this week, there were core samples taken from about 30 feet deep with the assistance of Nature’s Way Contracting. Geologists and engineers from Clark Patterson Lee have also been assisting the Town of Pembroke, along with Genesee County and NYS DEC.

The NYS DEC has not completed their report as of yet Yaeger said. They are looking into a nearby quarry that is only one mile from Scribner road and the Nati home, which was condemned on Sunday.

“They were blasting on the other end of the quarry on Mondays and Fridays,” Yaeger said.

A phone meeting on Thursday morning with geologists, the DEC, the quarry operator, the town supervisor, zoning officer, code officer, and the highway supervisor has not uncovered any clues as to what exactly happened last Sunday morning at 6 a.m. when cracks started to appear in the driveway and roadway in front of 445 Scribner.

“We’re not seeing anything definitive of what’s causing the shift of earth,” Yaeger said.

Town Supervisor Tom Schneider said that people are on edge.

On Thursday evening a group of Scribner Road residents attended the regular Pembroke Town Board meeting where Schneider provided an update on the situation.

“We are very concerned about the neighborhood. The town is trying to get a handle on it and some data," he said. "They have developed a plan and there is going to be a lot of work out there on Monday to try and get a look at everything and get a better determination.”

Schneider said the quarry has an incentive zoning agreement with the Town of Pembroke to expand the quarry in the town of Pembroke, however, that will not move forward at this time.

“I will recommend that we put that on hold until we know exactly what happened with certainty," he said. "We are hiring a third-party Geotech firm to review any data collected. “

Scribner Road residents were advised to contact the Town Supervisor or call 911 if they hear strange noises or notice something in their basement. Strange popping noises preceded this past Sunday’s event for four to five days prior.

Gene Nati, whose home was condemned on Sunday, was at the meeting and thanked the Town of Pembroke. His home as of Thursday night was still standing.

“I want to let the board know, the supervisor Tom Schneider, has been phenomenal. For a small town, I absolutely cannot say enough about the effort and time he has put in. Scott Turner, Town Highway Supervisor -- incredible," Nati said. "On Sunday they’re sitting at my house, they’re doing what they gotta do, he has cried with my wife and myself. They have been there through this whole thing.”

Scribner Road will remain closed until next week while experts look at the road more thoroughly.

CLARIFICATION (2:30 p.m., Aug. 12): Town Supervisor Tom Schneider informs us that the house has not been condemned.  It has been tagged "Do Not Occupy" only.  He said:

Our Town engineer did an inspection yesterday, with my Code Enforcement Officer Jim Wolbert, and believes the house should not be condemned at this point.  He will provide a report to the town which will also be provided to Mr. Nati that contains recommendations for stabilizing the structure.  We all feel terrible for the situation that has fallen upon Mr. Nati and his family and is working at the Town level to get any answers we can.  I want to thank Mr. Nati and his neighbors for allowing the Town’s consultants to do what they need to do while investigating this situation.  I’d also like to thank NW Contracting from Alden, NY for getting started on sampling operations as fast as they can.  Brad Beyers with County Line Stone has also been very forthcoming with data requested by the Town’s Engineer and Geologist.   More extensive testing and investigation will begin on Monday; hopefully, we’ll know a lot more about this incident next week. 



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