AUSTIN (KXAN) — A home moving company is trying to figure out how to dislodge a house that is stuck in between a couple of trees and an utility pole. They plan to begin work on moving the house on Tuesday after a temporary right of way permit was issued.
Friday morning, the home was being moved out of the Travis Heights neighborhood by AAA-Austin Home Movers when the home got stuck near East Live Oak and Brackenridge Street, just off South Congress Avenue. A city of Austin spokeswoman confirms the owner of the moving company applied for the permit on July 22 and was granted it on July 25. The city says while they issue the permits, they don’t actually monitor the move.
Monday afternoon, workers were on scene sawing pieces of the home in order to make room for the move, but an inspector with the city of Austin made them stop, telling the movers they needed a bond before continuing anything. The city says there was no permit secured to cut the tree limbs that were cut and no permit to cut pieces of the house while it was on the road. They also failed to get a permit to block traffic once the home was stuck on the road. Because the home is currently blocking the middle of Live Oak Street, the company has to apply for a permit that allows them to block the actual street for a period of time.
So how did the house get stuck?
According to the Texas Association of Structural Movers, they believe the movers might have failed to measure the house and the street they planned on moving it through. They say it’s up to the company to ensure any issues are dealt with weeks before a planned move.
“‘Chuck and a truck’ we call them, and they’ll come out and try to just jack up anything that they do and haul it for price,” Joe McCullough, Executive Director of the Texas Association of Structural Movers say.
“Most movers will find a path that they’re going to take, calculate how high and wide your building is, and then take measuring sticks to where they’re going,” McCullough said. “[Then they] figure out, that’s not gonna work, I’m going to need a permit and I don’t think that happened in this case.”
Records with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles indicate AAA-Austin Home Movers did receive a permit for the transport of an oversized/overweight item. The permit was for the movement of the item between from Congress directly to State Highway 71 and then onward to Interstate 35. Since the load was going to Lockhart, the rest of the route included Farm to Market 2001, State Highway 21, State Highway 80 and Farm to Market 20.
He warns anyone that is thinking about moving a home, to check company references, online reviews and other work they’ve done. You can find a complete list here.
The home was originally going to be demolished, but was then donated to a new owner. Neither the new owner or the previous owner would talk to KXAN.
We also called the owner of the moving company, Nick Morphis, he said he was working to get the house moved quickly. We looked into his company history and found several bad reviews, including legal action taken against the company. Travis County Court records show Nicholas Morphis/AAA-Austin Home Movers was sued at least three times. When we asked him about those issues, he ended our phone call.