DC Home's Yard Collapse Believed to Be Caused by ‘Nightmare' Construction Next Door

Neighbors rallied around Bettifae Fassler, saying, "she shouldn’t have to get an attorney in order to protect her property"

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Work is being done to stabilize a controversial construction site in a D.C. neighborhood where excavation for a new house is believed to have caused a dramatic partial collapse of a neighbor’s yard. 

After heavy rain three weeks ago, part of Bettifae Fassler’s yard in the 7500 block of 17th Street NW collapsed, taking her fence with it.

“It’s been a nightmare,” she said.

Fassler said the associated noise, vibration and other issues with the construction have been difficult for her.

“I’m worried that the hill is going to collapse, and I’m worried about getting water in my basement, and I’m worried about cracks in my foundation,” she said.

Fassler’s husband, who had been in an assisted living home, died of the coronavirus in May. She had mentioned the construction problems during one of their last in-person visits before pandemic restrictions.

“He was so alarmed, I didn’t talk about it ever again,” she said. “It was hard for me not to talk about it, but I didn’t talk about it because I knew it had upset him.” 

Neighbors rallied around Fassler, who has lived in her home since the 1980s.

“Ms. Bettifae has been here,” neighbor Ed Galiber said. “She’s just lost her husband to COVID, she doesn’t have anybody to protect her, and you’re counting on the agencies to look out, and she shouldn’t have to get an attorney in order to protect her property.”

The D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs issued a stop work order after a March 1 inspection. It includes a citation and $4,000 fine for “allowing or creating unsafe conditions.”  

The developer has been required to submit a site stability plan before the stop work order can be lifted.

News4 reached out to the developer of the property but has not received a reply.

Correction (March 27, 2021): This story has been updated with the correct spelling of Bettifae Fassler's name.

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