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Bloomfield woman claims contractor damaged her property after not using survey

BLOOMFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — Vina Swango, of Bloomfield, an Indiana town about 80 miles southwest of Indianapolis, says that her property was damaged after contractors did not properly survey her land.

The property line of Swango’s land was destroyed during the construction of new homes being built behind Swango’s property, which came as a surprise to Swango and her family.

Swango, who has lived in the house for 30 years, says that the property line is well-marked, defined by bushes she and her late husband planted when they bought the house. While the bushes served as a border for her land, they also served as a living memory of her husband.

Swango was emotional when she saw the wall of bushes was gone. “I look out … and they’re all gone. I couldn’t believe it. I was shaky, pretty upset, crying because that was something we did together.”

Swango’s daughter showed I-Team 8 where the line of shrubs had been, saying they had been planted in the mid-1990s. But now, the property line that once held beautiful bushes is now sandy and freshly excavated.

Samantha Yoho, Swango’s granddaughter, says they weren’t even aware of the houses were being built behind Swango’s property, finding out through a Facebook post that the properties would be up for rent.

Richard Wall, who is in charge of the construction behind Swango’s property, spoke with News 8’s Richard Essex and explained the issue.

Wall says that he had taken down the shrubs without having the property surveyed, claiming the property line was marked by old steel pipes that Swango put in years ago.

When I-Team 8 asked how Wall knew the posts were accurate, Wall said, “It was the assumed property line.”

I-Team 8 acquired copies of Swango’s plot from the Greene County recorder’s office. Though the property line is well-marked on paper, it is difficult to tell where the exact property line is.

Shelly Slinker-Walters, a realtor with the Shelly Walters Realty Group, said, “When people have a dispute over property lines, they would need a survey showing where exact property boundaries are.”

Slinker-Walters says that a boundary survey would be the most reliable because it pinpoints the exact corners of the land.

The Green County surveyor told I-Team 8 that the county is in the process of updating its ordinances, but nothing is currently in place in the county’s property regulations to prevent what has happened to Swango.

Swango says she feels like a victim, and hopes to get a survey of her land done soon, though it is currently out of her budget. Swango is now concerned that the trees along her backyard might not be protected, either.