Lemon Grove homeowner in legal battle with city over ruptured storm drain on his property

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LEMON GROVE, Calif. – A Lemon Grove homeowner is taking his fight with the city to the courtroom after a massive drain ruptured under his property and the city refused to fix it.

“I’ve served this country and now I’m just asking my elected representatives to serve their community and do the right thing,” Shawn Farson said.

Farson has been active duty in the Navy for 18 years and a Lemon Grove homeowner for a decade. He says he won’t accept the city’s decision.

“It has to get fixed,” he said. “This problem is only going to get worse with each storm that passes.”

Every time it rains in San Diego County, Farson’s problem gets bigger. The large sinkhole and broken storm drain on his property started as a small hole with just a piece of pipe showing in spring of 2020.

He called the city of Lemon Grove and when inspectors came out, Farson says he was shown a map from 1960 and told it was a private drain. Soon after, he sought legal action.

“Water has been draining from these accepted city streets for the last 60 years and they plan on continuing to dump their water here on my land,” Farson explained. “Our lawsuit is basically about getting them to stop dumping their water on my land and fix their infrastructure.”

Rain like we saw this week only continues to saturate his land, causing erosion on the slope in his backyard and unsteady ground. When FOX 5 reached out to the city of Lemon Grove about this storm drain, the city manager said they wouldn’t comment on pending litigation.

A year-and-a-half legal battle at one point seemed victorious.

“We paid our lawyers to get everything set up, all the paperwork for the settlement judgment and a day before the settlement judgment, the city pulled out,” Farson said.

It’s not just Farson who is now even further invested in this fight, his next door neighbors are also affected by the ongoing issues caused by the break.

“Because it divides our land and half, we have split the financial cost of all of the legal fees. We are at $50,000 now and we are already projecting out to be another $50,000 to see this to a trial,” said Farson, adding “it’s stretching us beyond our means and it keeps me up at night.”

A court date is tentatively scheduled for this coming February.

Farson has created a GoFundMe to help save their property.

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