HOA, Condo, Co-op Stormwater and Flood Headaches (Nov. 2017)

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities



by Emily Featherston
September 22, 2017


Vestavia Lake, which sits on private property owned by the Vestavia Lake Homeowners Association (VLHA), has lost between three and six feet of depth in the last 20 years, according to homeowners Tommy McCain and Alan Arrington.

That loss of depth, according to numerous studies by independent engineering and environmental firms, is the result of sediment runoff from construction sites in the lake’s watershed, the most recent involving the renovations at the Vestavia Country Club.

“It all ends up here,” Arrington said. “Everything, any kind of dirt, any kind of stuff, all these gutters with the drains, they come right in here.”

Sediment nearly filled one corner of the lake, resulting in a $25,000 project, paid for by the homeowners, to dig out and remove the buildup. After the work at Vestavia Country Club began to cause the buildup to worsen again, VHLA worked with the Cahaba Riverkeeper and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to work out an agreement for the club to help clean out the lake.

The VLHA also wants to partner with the city for the immediate need of repairing and removing pressure on the dam that holds the lake in.

Multiple agencies have looked at the lake, Arrington said, and all have said that if something isn’t done, there is a chance the dam could fail.


Privately owned lakes and dams are rarely maintained to modern safety standards. There are two main reasons – property owners lack knowledge of best management practices in the absence of public administrative oversight, and, often, by the time the need is apparent, private communities often lack sufficient financial resources to do necessary repairs. 

What’s causing Bees Ferry flooding? One man thinks he knows, and offers possible solution (SC)

by Bill BurrMonday, October 16th 2017

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — It’s the number one question for hundreds of people living in neighborhoods near Bees Ferry Road: what’s causing floodwaters after strong storms?

ABC News 4 met a man on a mission to find answers. And he’s looking in to areas where few people tend to go.
Its a long walk in the woods for Julian Porter as he points to a possible problem spot for flooding.

Read more (Video):


Related reports:

Residents of Church Creek basin in West Ashley tired of repeated flooding (The Post and Courier)

Charleston leaders working on flooding fix in Bees Ferry neighborhoods | PHOTOS & VIDEO (WCIV ABC News 4)

Study underway to stop flooding in Bees Ferry neighborhoods (WCSC CBS Neews 5)


South Carolina’s “low country” is built upon marshy wetlands. Higher flood elevations are required for more recent construction, which means that older communities turn into downhill neighborhood catch basins. Then the finger-pointing and blame-shifting begins, dragging on for years with no resolution in sight. 


Proposed West Columbia subdivision in 100-year floodplain (MO)

Thursday, September 21, 2017 10:07:00 PM CDT in News By: Aaron K. Ladd, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA – A group is looking to bring a new residential neighborhood to Columbia’s westside. Subject to zoning and annex approval, the site is located north side of Gillespie Bridge Road and West Louisville Drive.

Crockett Engineering Consultants presented locator maps to the Planning and Zoning Committee Thursday night for the 54-acre residential plot of land to be named “Perche Ridge.”

However citizens who live in the area said the proposed development encroaches on a 100-year floodplain.

“I cannot in my right mind support this,” said committee member Michael MacMann. “There’s a really serious water issue here.”

Tim Crockett said despite citizens’ concerns the area can still sustain the new subdivision.

Read more (Video):



See blog post: Why do local officials permit building of HOA, condo communities on a flood plain?


Flooding in unidentified neighborhood (Pixabay.com free image)
‘Something is changing’: Lake County residents bring concerns to floodproofing expo (IL)

By Sheryl DeVore, News-Sun

October 21, 2017 8:09 PM
Paul Siwinski left the homeowners floodproofing expo and workshop Thursday with some new knowledge — and a decision.

“You can purchase flood insurance from the private market, and it will save you money,” said Siwinski. And, he found out, you don’t have to live in a high-risk area.

The Libertyville resident experienced flooding for the first time in his garage after storms on July 12 dumped more than 6 inches of rain in fewer than 24 hours in some Lake County communities. The result was major flooding even in areas not typically associated with yards turning into lakes and basements filling with water to the ceiling.

That storm incident is what prompted the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission to host the free floodproofing expo and workshop in Libertyville.

Within an hour of opening, at least 70 homeowners from the county had already entered the five-hour expo, said Mike Prusila, planning supervisor for management commission.

“When you get 7 inches of rain in less than 24 hours, there are going to be ubiquitous problems,” he said. “We’re getting a diversity of questions.”

At the event, speakers discussed flood insurance programs and how the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) works. Vendors — including flood insurance agents, landscape architects and drainage and sump-pump manufacturers — spread out in a large room answering homeowners’ questions. The management commission also had a computer set up to show the floodplain maps of Lake County.

Siwinski said after attending the expo, he decided he’s going to purchase flood insurance. “It’s today’s reality,” he said.

Read more:


Copyright © 2017, Lake County News-Sun
Floods and Flooding Libertyville

Flood prevention has become such a hot issue that Lake County Stormwater Management Commission, located Libertyville, IL, recently held a Floodproofing Expo. 


$1M Leesburg Dam Lawsuit Gets First Hearing (VA)

2017-11-09 Kara Clark Rodriguez

Motions were heard by Loudoun Circuit Court Judge Douglas Fleming on Thursday morning in a case to determine who is on the financial hook for $1 million in improvements to a stormwater pond and dam.

The two parties in the case are the Town of Leesburg and one of its largest homeowner’s associations, Exeter. The HOA represents 829 homes on 215 acres between Rt. 15 and Battlefield Parkway.

Thursday morning marked the first day in court for a process that began more than three years ago, when the HOA received a notice from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation that the dam had been ruled a high hazard. An engineer hired by the HOA in early 2015 estimated the price tag to bring the dam into compliance with state regulations at just under $1 million. A report later put together by town staff also noted annual maintenance costs of $21,000, in addition to $60,000 every six years to prepare state-required studies.

The HOA formally petitioned the town to take ownership of the dam in the summer of 2015, but the Town Council declined. Neither party disputes that the dam is located on HOA property, but differences remain as to who is responsible for repairs or enhancements to the dam.

Read more:


Exeter HOA and the Town of Leesburg have an ongoing lawsuit over who should be resonsible for making a million dollar repair to a stormwater dam located on HOA property, with stormwater easements granted to the Town. 


Rising water threatens Country Club Hills
The rising water table prompted HOA leaders to ask for county assistance (CO)

By Lisa Young
Journal-Advocate staff writer

POSTED: 10/25/2017 09:36:32 PM MDT

Rising water table issues in Country Club Hills prompted a discussion between two representatives of the subdivision’s homeowners association (HOA) and county commissioners during Tuesday morning’s work session.

Paul Lambrecht and Steve Hargus, representing the HOA, approached Logan County Commissioners asking the county for help to pump water from affected areas into nearby Springdale Ditch. According to the two men the rising water table is threatening a number of properties in the subdivision located on the west side of Sterling.

Lambrecht said six years ago the subdivision dealt with the rising water table in the area, but the situation seemed to resolve on its own before any permanent solution was implemented. Now, the water table is rising again. The problem re-surfaced in July when water levels began threatening homeowner’s leach fields and septic tanks.

Read more:


Building homes in low-lying areas is bound to create ongoing water problems. One Colorado community is seeking help from the County to dewater ponds adjacent to several homes and septic tanks. 

Local cemetery dealing with rain water runoff after pond damage (SC)

By Lindsey Hodges lhodges@aikenstandard.com Nov 5, 2017

Those visiting Calvary Cemetery have been having trouble getting to their loved ones’ graves, a tough reality stemming from a problem that began more than eight years ago. Finding out who can solve the problem is just as muddy as the road into the cemetery.

A church administrator at St. Mary Help of Christian’s Catholic Church said he gets calls frequently from 80-plus-year-old parishioners in tears because they can’t get out and visit their loved ones graves on their anniversary dates.

Every time it rains, the driveway to the cemetery floods, which leaves a layer of mud and silt on the road. The cemetery is located off University Lane on the west side of Aiken.

Read more:


Here is a case where a non-HOA property owner, a Catholic Church that maintains a cemetery, ends up paying to build a culvert and road improvments because the uphill HOA community has failed to repair their private pond, which failed 8 years ago. When will elected officials acknowledge that storm water management is a matter of public interest?


City seeking FEMA grant to save Patton Lake (AL)

By Jason Morton / Staff Writer
Posted Nov 11, 2017 at 1:00 PM
Updated Nov 11, 2017 at 5:27 PM

With tons of silt infiltrating an east Tuscaloosa neighborhood’s private lake, city officials are moving forward with a plan to help halt the damage.

The Tuscaloosa City Council has agreed to pursue a grant of up to $100,000 for a study of the Patton Lake watershed.

Administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant Program, the grant — if awarded — would enable the city to examine the potential causes and possible corrections for the soil and sediment runoff that has filled in the northeastern end of Patton Lake that was built in the 1950s within the Woodland Hills neighborhood.

“This is a new grant that we just recently found out about,” said Tera Tubbs, executive director of the city’s Department of Infrastructure and Public Services.

Should the study go forward, the city will then be permitted to seek up to $10 million next year through the FEMA flood program to implement measures to prevent the lake from being taken over by what is essentially an inadvertently created wetland.

Read more:


Federal and state regulations required developers to take reasonable measures to prevent erosion during construction. But decades of construction activity surrounding Patton Lake in Tuscaloosa has transformed portions of the lake into a marshy wetland. Now city leaders are hoping to qualify for a FEMA grant to clean up the mess that should have been prevented in the first place. 

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