Settlement Could Be Close for Homes Slipping Into River

FLORENCE, N.J. (AP) -
Re-enactors dressed in 1757 uniforms on Sunday celebrate the 258th anniversary of the surrender of Fort William Henry in Lake George, N.Y. (Steve Jacobs/The Post-Star via AP)
Re-enactors dressed in 1757 uniforms on Sunday celebrate the 258th anniversary of the surrender of Fort William Henry in Lake George, N.Y. (Steve Jacobs/The Post-Star via AP)

A New Jersey couple who were forced to stop staying overnight at their house because their backyard collapsed say they’re close to a deal to sell the home to the county government.

Chris and Lynne O’Dell were forbidden by township officials from sleeping at their Florence Township home in April after its backyard collapsed, raising fears that the house and a neighboring one could slide off a hill and into the Delaware River.

“We’ve been nomads since it all started,” Lynne O’Dell said.

Burlington County has made an offer to pay market value for the homes, and the couple is packing boxes.

The collapsing hillside has stabilized since the county plugged a leaky storm drain, but the gaping hole in the ground has become a tourist attraction of sorts, Chris O’Dell said, forcing the couple to put up “no trespassing” signs.

The sale isn’t completed, but Chris O’Dell said they’re looking forward leaving the home behind, “instead of the sky is falling kind of thing, or the cliff is falling — however you want to look at it.”