After Monday's heavy rain storm, a small section of the parking lot in Montauk gave-way, swallowing the tire of a sport utility vehicle on Tuesday afternoon.
David Buda, of Springs, was visiting Montauk when he turned to pull his Jeep Grand Cherokee into a parking space off the municipal alleyway to the rear of 8 South Etna Avenue, where is located.
As he drove onto the bare dirt portion of the parking space, the dirt gave-way to a 4 to 5 foot crater, he said. The hole, he said, was located between two underground septic structures, marked by “manhole covers.” were called to the scene.
Buda said one of the property owners arrived shortly after the incident occurred and told him the area had just been repaired recently, after a depression or small sinkhole in the pavement had been discovered.
Buda, a regular at Town Hall, informed Tom Talmage, the town engineer, and followed-up with a letter and photographs documenting what had occurred.
"Since this is a dangerous condition on private property, I believe the Building Inspector’s Department should take the lead on investigating the cause of the problem and ensuring it is promptly and effectively remedied. This commercial landlord needs to find the actual cause of the repeated sinkholes before someone get seriously injured," Buda wrote.
The owners already hired a contractor to backfill the hole, according to Talmage, who visited the property on Wednesday afternoon. "It's hard to speculate what was wrong with it," he said, though he said he thinks it could have had something to do with the heavy rains and the saturated area settling around the cesspool.
Senior Building Inspector Tom Preiato said filling the hole up doesn't mean he problem is solved. "I'm going to send the owners a letter that they have to get to the bottom of it, no pun intended." Since the problem has to do with the leaching pool in the septic system, he said, the county health department will also be involved.
Buda's Jeep was towed out of the space, but there was no damage to the vehicle. He said he fully expects to recoup the $300 it cost him.