By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
A few months ago I wrote an article featuring several homeowners’ associations with problems related to lakes they must maintain. One of those HOAs was Mystic Pointe.
Mystic Pointe HOA is located in Green, Ohio. According to its website, the community has 236 homes on private lots, and the HOA was formed in 2013, for the purposes of maintaining 4 common areas that include the lake and the pond that are at the center of a neighborhood dispute.
The problem began roughly three years ago, according to homeowners living on what’s known as the South Pond, which borders wetlands. For years, homeowners enjoyed their backyards, but then, mysteriously, water began flooding their lots, creating swamp land. So homeowners complained to Mystic Pointe HOA and the City of Green.
Flooding continues in Green neighborhood
By George W. Davis
Special to the Beacon Journal (May 7, 2016)
GREEN: After three years of continual flooding that followed 11 years of normal conditions, Andrea Gooden wants to enjoy her backyard again.
But she says she can’t because an estimated three feet of water stands year-round on the back end of her family’s home in the Mystic Pointe subdivision.
Neighbors Richard and Christy Redd, Amy Prater and others voiced similar concerns about unwanted stagnant water, which is being blamed for killing trees and vegetation, raising health concerns and driving snakes and critters onto some of their properties.
Gooden, a licensed practical nurse, lives on Kreighbaum Road, which borders an unnamed lake with fringe wetlands off Lakeview Drive and a second wetland area behind the Kreighbaum homes in northeast Green.
“This was all dry. There was never any water running through it until three years ago,” Gooden said while looking from her raised deck at the water-logged ground below that encompassed about 60 percent of her back yard. “I just feel like something has happened. Somebody did something [to the lake]. … I had a nice garden and large fenced-in yard back there and flowers.”
The City Engineer investigated, only to discover a drainage pipe had been clogged. City officials ordered that the clog be removed. But here’s what happened next:
Residents who live near muddy lake want its water levels restored
By George W. Davis
Special to the Beacon Journal (July 15, 2015)
About three years ago, the pond off Kreighbaum Road began flooding the backyards of homes where water hadn’t been seen in years, according to residents along Kreighbaum Road.
After pond residents complained to the city, a pipe was found to be clogged and the HOA was advised to have the clog removed and the lake water reduced.
“The present lowering of the lake by the city and HOA board has drained the lake of 90 percent of its water and turned the lake into a mud flat,” Lakeview Drive resident Arden Scholles said. “We are asking that the lake be restored to its past 21-year level with an 8.75-acre shoreline.”
Based on the two comments in the above article, the HOA is now split into opposing factions: Lake homeowners vs. South Pond homeowners.
Several months have passed, but the problem persists.
In the next (and latest) article, it becomes apparent that someone had intentionally altered the drainage pipe in the Lake to prevent water flow as intended by the original design of the storm water drainage system. But when the pipe was “fixed” by punching a new drainage hole, it just so happens that the hole was placed in the wrong location, draining most of the water out of the lake.
So the City of Green is in still the middle of the controversy. Apparently, the City’s hasty “solution” to stop flooding by the South Pond backfired by draining a lake bordered by 33 homes. Now even more people are complaining.
The City of Green must continue to be involved, like it or not, because homeowners and their HOA don’t have the financial resources or expertise to determine a solution to the problem.
Debate ongoing about water levels at Mystic Pointe subdivision lake
City of Green officials find themselves caught in middle of neighborhood homeowners’ dispute.
By Eric Post on Suburbanite correspondent (Sept. 30, 2016)
GREEN What began as complaints from residents in the Mystic Pointe neighborhood about water encroaching on their backyards, now has a different group of residents in the same neighborhood up in arms that their lake now is no more in what has become a months-long battling pitting the members of the same homeowners’ association against each other, with city of Green officials caught in the middle.
Now, Mystic Pointe HOA is just one example of lake, pond, wetland, and storm water drainage issues that plague private Association Governed Housing communities around the country. And that shouldn’t be surprising. After all, for decades many local governments have deferred their public responsibility for proper storm drainage to privately-developed, association-governed communities.
Municipalities and Counties often rely on professional engineers hired by home builders to design and oversee construction of stormwater systems. Developers are interested in keeping construction costs low, getting houses built quickly, and maximizing their profits. Local governments are generally eager to get more properties on the tax rolls. Since local officials assume that tax dollars won’t be used to maintain stormwater infrastructure in private communities, they may not be overly concerned about the quality and integrity of storm drainage systems.
In short, storm water systems are built in an environment of too much bureaucracy and too little accountability.
But when something goes wrong in the design and construction process, or when ongoing maintenance is neglected, problems with flooding or disappearing lakes occur.
Then everyone who might be responsible points the finger of blame at someone else. Homeowners are truly caught in the middle, left to deal with years of frustration and plummeting property values.