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LOWELL, N.C. – The City of Lowell is taking the first step towards helping residents of a retirement community who say they are living in constant fear of a mudslide.

The Lowell City Council has voted to hire an engineer to determine if a wall of mud can be considered a violation of the town nuisance ordinance.

If it is deemed a nuisance, the city could go onto the property of the Magnolia Place retirement community and put up a retaining wall and take over steps to fix it.

The wall of mud was left behind by a developer who walked off the job before finishing construction of phase two of the retirement community.

"I think, 'please, Lord, just don't let a tree fall on somebody and kill them,'" said Betty Bumgardner, one of the original residents of Magnolia Place.

Other residents call it a step in the right direction.

"We worry about the mud coming down. We worry about the trees and mudslides," said Ralph Duncan, as he stood in his front yard.

After some earlier stories by NBC Charlotte's Rad Berky, the North Carolina Department of Transportation did go out and cut down some towering trees, the roots of which had been exposed by erosion from heavy spring rains.

The concern was the trees could topple over onto the homes closest to the wall of mud.

Other residents in those units have resorted to bricks and sandbags to try to keep the red clay that washes away from coming into their homes.

"I just pray it doesn't collapse and hurt somebody really bad or kill them," said resident Marceline Gosine.

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