Flooding, erosion common problems faced by HOA planned communities

As more and more homes are built, storm water problems multiply

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities


For decades, cities have offloaded construction of community roads, water management systems, to private residential developers. In most cases over the past 2 -3 decades, ongoing maintenance of storm drainage systems has been dumped onto private homeowners, under the leadership of volunteer HOA boards and community managers with no technical knowledge.

Every month I read dozens of reports of frustrated residents of Association-Governed Communities, coping with flooding and erosion, often leading to property damage.

Their Associations lack the resources to resolve these serious issues. Quite often, local governments are reluctant to take responsibility for the problems, even though it was up to local planning commissioners and construction inspectors to issue permits and certificates of occupancy to developers and home builders.

The prevailing attitude is that, as homeowners of a private community, you signed up for maintaining your own storm water system, and for paying for whatever it takes to repair or rebuild a poorly designed and constructed system.

Years ago, when I contacted my own local government agencies regarding issues with the water management system in a large scale HOA, it was as if I was interacting with a lazy, surly department store clerk. Most readers can probably relate to this scenario, when you ask for assistance, and the clerk replies, “that’s not my department!”

This attitude explains why retail department stores are falling out of favor and closing stores left and right, while online shopping is surging.

It also explains why a growing number of homeowners and residents of association-governed communities are fed up with their HOAs, and, as taxpayers, are demanding assistance from their elected officials.



Richfield trustees hear concerns from homeowners association (OH)

4/13/2017 – West Side Leader

By Brian Lisik

The Richfield Township Board of Trustees agreed April 6 to consider taking action on behalf of The Woods Homeowners Association (HOA) to address erosion issues in the development, allegedly caused by developers Glencairn Corp. and Petros Family Limited Partnerships.

In an April 6 letter to trustees, the HOA for the 101 homes requested the township refrain from issuing zoning certificates or permits for any Glencairn or Petros projects until the erosion problems are fixed and proper storm water controls are put in place; work with the Summit County planning and building departments, as well as Richfield Village officials to do the same; and send a letter to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office requesting it immediately take actions outlined in a Feb. 22 letter to the developers’ attorneys.

The attorney general’s letter stated in part that “developers of The Woods failed to obtain coverage under the Construction Storm Water NPDES [National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System] permit, failed to construct proper storm water controls … and unlawfully placed fill material in waters of the state during construction without a valid certification.”

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Homeowners in The Woods HOA are calling for Richfield Township to refrain from issuing future building permits to their developer. They want their failing storm water control system fixed first, and have taken their battle all the way to the Attorney General. 


Onion Creek residents search flood risk solutions as Austin continues feasibility study (TX)

By Olivia Lueckemeyer| Posted April 12, 2017 at 9:12 am | Updated April 13, 2017 at 1:42 pm

As the city conducts a feasibility study determining how to best mitigate flood risk in the Onion Creek area of South Austin, grassroots efforts continue to curb the loss of life and property.

Ken Jacob, vice president of the Onion Creek Homeowners Association and president of the South Austin Neighborhood Association, said the results of an ongoing study by the engineering firm Halff Associates may reveal solutions to reduce future floods through the use of upstream detention ponds, or low-lying land designed to temporarily hold floodwater before slowly draining once waters recede.

“This could reduce or eliminate the big surge of floodwater that comes through and wipes everything out,” Jacob said.

Because flooding is a regional issue involving multiple counties, Jacob said the solution must also be cooperative effort. A bill authored by state Rep. Paul Workman, R-Austin, aims to create a flood control district, which would allow for rules and regulations to be instituted throughout affected jurisdictions.

“The purpose is to be able to coordinate efforts and to have a way to seek and receive federal, state and private dollars,” Jacob said.

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Another proposal to offload HOA maintenance responsibility to the public realm – this time a flood control district. (TX)

Decades of construction of private, planned communities has left the city of Austin with a limited tax base for badly needed municipal sewer system upgrades. At the same time, Onion Creek HOA water management systems have been inadequate to prevent flood damage from storm drainage. Owners have been paying taxes and HOA assessments, yet neither the City nor HOA have effective storm drainage system in place.


HOA calls for action on perennial water, light problems (TN)

By DAN EPRIGHT, eprightd@earthlink.net
April 25, 2017

Residents of a La Vergne subdivision say the recent rains only prove that the neighborhood’s drainage system doesn’t work, exhibited by rivers of water through backyards, between homes, across roads and in crawlspaces of the newly-built homes.

Muddy waters flow deep down the middle of the streets in the Pinnacle Point subdivision before joining up with water that apparently surges up from the storm drains.

Like he has during other recent rainstorms, Pinnacle Point HOA President Pete Cobbs made the rounds in the neighborhood, making notes, taking pictures and video of the problems. The heavy rains of early morning Saturday, April 22 – once again – filled his neighbors’ yards and roads, this time worse than ever.

“Every time it rains, we get flooded out,” said Cobbs. “Today, I was up about six in the morning and I was contacted by my next-door neighbor, and we were flooded again, worse than yesterday, which was already pretty bad.

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Pinnacle Point HOA President is putting pressure on the city of La Vergne to take an active role in forcing its developer to reconstruct its storm drainage system before building more homes uphill. 

1 thought on “Flooding, erosion common problems faced by HOA planned communities

  1. Norman McCullough April 30, 2017 — 5:38 pm

    It’s because the Developers want to save money WHEN they open a new large HOA Community. For example say a developer owns hundreds of acres that they KNOW will eventually become homesites that need sewer and water and storm drains etc. If they calculated the runoff for a completed project it might require an 8 ft diameter storm drain in the first subdivision to be for sale and the price of the first homes would be affected. So a smaller storm storm drain is installed. It will eventually have to be dug up and replaced with a larger drain but that’s the way It’s done.

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