By David Madden

MOUNT HOLLY, NJ (CBS) — The ongoing drama over what to do with two Burlington County houses with rapidly eroding backyards has been settled.

The county has bought them. The reason? Public safety.

The county has spent just under half a million dollars to acquire two homes on Front Street in Florence Township. Their backyards have been eroding for several months. No one is quite sure why, but the county wants to make sure the problem doesn’t spread to the street.

“It’s an important county road both for the folks that live in that area and for others that are the traveling public,” Burlington County spokesman Eric Arpert told KYW Newsradio. “So our first priority is to preserve the road. That’s why we’ve gotten involved here.”

The settlements will allow for development of a long term remediation plan.

“Likely we will demolish the two houses on the properties and then they’ll get involved with an engineer project that will stabilize the embankment.”

One home was unoccupied. Owners of the other are moving out and relocating to Pennsylvania.