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Neighbor refuses to leave as depression opens under Pasco home

By Megan Reeves
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NEW PORT RICHEY — Emergency crews are monitoring an 8-foot by 8-foot depression that opened up Thursday beneath a home in west Pasco County.

Kevin Guthrie, Pasco County’s assistant county administrator for public safety, said about "85 percent" of the depression is under the home at 7846 Barclay Road. That home and the one next door were both marked "unsafe for entry." The resident of the endangered house left, Guthrie said, but the neighbor plans to remain in their home.

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It will be up to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to officially declare the depression a sinkhole. Pasco officials said they are still looking at all options.

"At this point in time, it has all the typical shapes, signs and symptoms of a sinkhole, but there’s evidence brought to us by the homeowner that may point to a leaky pipe," Guthrie said.

Officials were concerned about the neighbor staying behind because their home is within 6 feet of the depression’s edge. But officials cannot force the resident to leave.

Unlike the massive sinkhole that opened up in Land O’Lakes in 2017, this geological incident is completely on private property. So the county won’t be helping fill it, Guthrie said. It will be up to the property owner and their insurer to fill the hole and repair the home, he said.

"Because it is on private property ... it is 100 percent on the homeowner," Guthrie said. "The county is just here ensuring public safety at this point, and making the necessary recommendations for evacuation."

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