LOWELL, N.C. -- Magnolia Place appears to be a quiet, well kept retirement community until you see the giant wall of exposed red clay that is just feet away from the back porches of some of the homes.

That is going to cave in one day and kill somebody down there, said Betty Bumgardner, one of the residents.

The wall of dirt was left when the second phase of the development was abandoned by the builders when they suddenly went out of business in 2010.

Roads in the development were left unfinished and electrical hook-ups are still sticking out of the ground.

After years of pounding rains, the wall has eroded to the point where the roots of tower trees are now exposed.

If it falls, the trees are going to go with it, said another of the residents, Marceline Gosine.

Some neighbors have reinforced the only stretch of sagging retaining wall that was ever put in, while other homes have sandbags lining the back decks to keep out the water that comes pouring down the face of the muddy wall of red clay.

Lowell Mayor Larry Simonds toured the development with NBC Charlotte reporter Rad Berky, and as he pointed up to the wall he said, You can see the trees are going to fall on this development down here. Someone is going to get hurt.

Simonds said the city is trying to get changes made to the existing nuisance code, but that takes time.

The Mayor said the time may be coming when the city moves in and fixes the situation and finds someone later to bill for the work.

These people are innocent victims and they need to be taken care of, Simonds said.

David Turner of the Magnolia Place Homeowners Association said, It s a dangerous situation. We consider it dangerous.

Residents of the development now pay close attention when the rain starts and the wind kicks up, and they hope the wall of mud will hold up one more time.

You judge your country, your city, and your state on how they treat older people. It doesn t look so good for Lowell, said Marceline Gosine, as she turned to walk back to her house.

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