Posted by Deborah Goonan
Commentary: Development began in Trinity, FL in the 1990s. Since that time the large scale HOA has been subdivided into several neighborhoods, with over 16,000 households as of the 2010 Census. Several developers continue to build new homes. The area has a long history of flooding problems.
Pasco residents blame lack of oversight by county and water district
Originally published by By Steve Andrews, News Channel 8 (On Your Side)
Published: July 30, 2015, 5:41 pm Updated: July 30, 2015, 9:04 pm
PASCO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) – Thousand Oaks does not sit in a flood plain, but people living in that Trinity subdivision in Pasco County need flood insurance. Despite government studies and band-aid projects that have cost taxpayers millions, neither Pasco nor the Southwest Florida Water Management District can keep the area from flooding.
“We didn’t cause the problem, this is a man made problem,” said Thousand Oaks 6 through 9 Home Owners Association president Cortney King. King points out his neighborhood was not a flood zone before the area was developed in 2003. When heavy rain comes there is no where for water coming from as far away as Gunn Highway to go, so neighborhoods flood, again and again. “We trusted the county when we bought our home. Again, it was in a flood zone x. They had reviewed, the engineer’s plan, and determined that was good engineering, and unfortunately it wasn’t,” homeowner Dawn Chiarenza stated.
King acknowledges Pasco and the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) have taken steps to address drainage problems. He wonders how Pasco approved a permit to allow a house down the road from him to be built below street level. He also wants to know if and why SWFWMD allowed the developer to build Thousand Oaks 6 to 12 inches below flood level. “I don’t know what would cause a compromise of this sort,” King added.
“Well the Thousand Oaks property, the way I understand it, is they had their own flood maps when their developer came in,” Pasco County spokesperson Doug Tobin said. Tobin showed 8 On Your Side several projects on which the county has spent millions to help resolve the issue. One involved dredging a wetland to allow for greater water flow. On Persea Court, Tobin pointed out a design flaw is preventing water from draining quickly, so the county is using a pump to help lower water levels.
Tobin admits these are band-aid solutions and much more work needs to be done. Pasco and SWFWMD are involved in a joint study to identify a permanent fix, but that could be up to 5 years out. Tobin feels the time for blame is past, and suggests all parties work toward a solution.
Preview, read more here (Video):