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House Sinking in Upper Arlington

Updated: Tuesday, April 9 2013, 06:58 PM EDT
UPPER ARLINGTON - A majestic house in Upper Arlington, with a prestigious address south of Lane Avenue, has an unusual problem: it's sinking.

The house, on Chatfield Road, was built back in 1938 on what was recently was discovered to be an ancient peat bog.

"When I first thought it was kind of scary," said the house's owner, Mike Matrka of Matrka Builders. "I've built houses for 30 something years now and I've never encountered this."

He says the foundation is sinking.  A tour of the house reveals cracked walls and ceilings, sagging floors, and a basement fireplace that has sunk several inches.

Owner Michael Matrka, of Matrka Builders, says repairing the foundation would be too costly and impractical.

"Around the house it varies, but anywhere from 12 to 16 feet before you hit soil strong enough for bearing."

 He wants to tear it down and start over, rebuilding a new house, complete with a new, state of the art foundation.
He says the new house would match the neighborhood, with much of the old house salvaged or reused.

But it's not as easy as it sounds.

Martka's biggest challenge is Upper Arlington's historic-preservation laws.

Before anything can be done, city leaders first require an extensive review to see if there's any historic value to keeping it.

There are other tight, time consuming restrictions as well before an owner can get a demolition permit.

"The political aspect, the formality of getting everyone to approve it is the hard part," says Matrka. "The building part is the fun part."

The builder is hosting an open house this Saturday, 1-3pm, for the public to see the issues with the house.

Matrka says his company has also set up a website with all the information he's gathered about the house and foundation.

You can find it at


Reporter: Terri Sullivan
Web Producer: Kellie HannaHouse Sinking in Upper Arlington

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