City Achieves Highest Level Of Incompetency In Handling Storm Water Runoff

Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Those of us who live downstream from Hamilton Place Mall have had a flooding problem since the mall was built 25 years ago.  We had meeting after meeting with city officials at which they made numerous promises to fix the problem.  After 25 years the problem still ain't fixed. 

City officials knew early on that the mall had built insufficient storage capacity and was releasing too much water for the creek to handle downstream which was causing severe flooding problems.  The city should have worked with the mall to fix the problem and they should also have taken every measure to insure that the problem would not become worse.  

In May 2000, the city engineer had one of the employees do a survey in the mall area and found that 66 businesses that were supposed to build on site ponds didn't build them and that 37 who were supposed to build off site ponds didn't build them and that others only built the ponds a fraction of the size that they were supposed to be.  Almost all of these businesses were built after the mall was built. Another large business was built about a year ago and they didn't build a holding pond.  Another business built a pond, but then covered it up.  I called this to the attention of the storm water people.  They checked and said they had no record of it ever haven been build.   

This then raises some questions for the storm water management people.  I understand that businesses who build holding ponds don't pay as high a storm runoff fee as those that build them. So, how do you bill the business the correct amount if you don't even know who has and who has not built the ponds? How much trouble would it be to assign someone the responsibility of seeing that a business that applies for a building permit follows the city law and builds the called for retention?  It would also be a good idea to check the ponds once a year to ensure that they have not been filled in and are working order.   

The city needs to have an independent firm do a survey of the entire city to see which businesses have build the required retention so that they can be sure that the crooks who didn't are not receiving an unearned discount. 

I remember when the flooding first started how upset and worried my elderly neighbors were.  He was legally blind and both of them were in poor health.  They had to spend the last four or five years of their lives worrying whether the water would get into their house.  This all because city employees were not doing their job and the elected officials weren't holding them responsible.

I have been unable to use my garage or driveways in heavy rain since the flooding began.  I get 18" of water in my garage.  I have suffered around $60,000 in damage since the flooding began and have had no help from the city.  Additionally, I have had only partial use of my property since the flooding started. 

The city needs to do a through investigation of the storm water section to see why they have failed so miserably to do their job and make the necessary corrections.  The magnitude of their incompetence became glaringly obvious to us victims soon after the flooding started.  Hopefully it is by obvious to the elected officials by now and they will act to fix this problem.   

The city needs to consider raising the affected buildings since almost the whole basin which this creek drains has been paved over.  The evidence of the city's incompetent handling of the storm water runoff in this area is here for any objective person to see in concrete and asphalt. 

Homer L. Goins

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