Friday, June 21, 2024

Here are the flooding issues affecting Leland and how much it will cost to fix them

Several subdivisions in Leland presented Council with flooding issues they've experienced for years. For the most part, the town is maintaining these flooding issues are a private matter, with responsibility held by developers and homeowners associations.

The town of Leland addressed dozens of concerns pertaining to flooding and stormwater management systems in several of its subdivisions during a special meeting Tuesday. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Annette Palen)
The town of Leland addressed dozens of concerns pertaining to flooding and stormwater management systems in several of its subdivisions during a special meeting Tuesday. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Annette Palen)

LELAND — Flooding issues plaguing several developments in Leland are, for the most part, not the town’s fault; that’s according to a town flood report, presented this week.

Six subdivisions and one homeowner in Leland have received feedback from the town on its responsibility and obligation to fix persistent flooding issues. Since flooding impacts both private developments and public infrastructure like roads and sewers, residents asked, “who is responsible?”

RELATED: Engineering firm paid $42,400 to study its own stormwater ponds after repeated Leland flooding

After presenting to their issues to Council last month, representatives from seven areas were offered recommendations, that largely do not include the town’s intervention.

Residents in several neighborhoods cited cracked, flooded, and submerging roads, overflowing retention ponds and sinking properties.

In a special Council meeting Tuesday, Leland’s town Manager David Hollis presenting findings from a report, conducted by Cape Fear Engineering and the town’s staff. Cape Fear Engineering studied Magnolia Greens; Leland’s town staff reviewed the remaining six areas.

Recommendations from the town include taxing homeowners of flood-prone areas with assessments, enlisting engineering services and studies, and strengthening the town’s existing code enforcement practices.

The findings

For each development, the town’s study looked at ways to stop flooding and the associated cost. Because many of these issues affect both public town infrastructure and private residential areas, no agreement has been reached about whether these solutions would be publicly or privately funded.

Magnolia Greens

The impetus for the flood study, Magnolia Greens’ stormwater management system, appears to be out of state compliance, according to Hollis. Though Cape Fear Engineering provided engineering services to the original development of Magnolia Greens, the town paid the firm $42,400 to complete the study.

Magnolia Greens’ homeowners’ association president, George Steelberg, was concerned about this potential conflict of interest.

Though the stormwater system is owned by the Magnolia Greens HOA, Leland’s roads have been damaged by persistent flooding. “It’s very obvious, the road is sinking,” Mayor Brenda Bozeman said.

Town recommendations include:

  • Change the current stormwater design at a cost of $4 to $5 million
  • Modify the public storm drain system at a cost of $50,000
  • Encourage the Magnolia Greens HOA to maintain the pond system and hire a professional management service
  • Arrange a meeting between Magnolia Greens Golf Club, Leland and Magnolia Greens HOA to find a financial solution.

Parkview subdivision, Brunswick Forest

Leland reviewed Parkview subdivision in Brunswick Forest after receiving a resident’s concerns about the neighborhood’s potential risk of flooding due to further development of the area.

Gary Ostby, resident and appointed representative for Parkview, said that while the stormwater system was designed well, it’s not functioning properly.

“We are asking for our ponds to simply work,” Ostby said. “We dont want our ponds to fill up with water thats not intended to go into our ponds, it’s that simple.”

Though residents, including Ostby, have documented flooding events, the town’s review found no property had been damaged.

“I don’t know what storm event it was where the water was backing up into the ponds there,” Hollis said. “Storm events are very peculiar things.”

The town’s recommended actions include:

  • Three separate engineering studies to address drainage pipes, wet detention basins and one survey of adjacent properties. The estimated cost of the four recommendations ranges from $345,000 to $570,000.

104 Carolina Avenue

Bobbie Skipper, a resident on Carolina Avenue, said her property is subject to flooding because of nearby infrastructure design. Hollis said while the nearby drainage system has been improved, the town is asking the North Carolina Department of Transportation to investigate the issue further.

“We remain about the elevation of some of those culverts there,” Hollis said.

Wedgewood at Lanvale

Construction runoff at Wedgewood at Lanvale has plagued the area for over five years, according to Annette Palen, president of the neighborhood’s homeowners association.

Leland recommended strengthening its code enforcement practices to address the sediment issue, but Palen said it was too late.

“We only have two lots left,” she said. “Our backyards are caving in on our pond banks.”

Still, Hollis said the town had no confirmation of property damage as a result of flooding.

“We’re not aware of any damage that occurred to anyone’s home because of the flooding of the roadways,” he said.

While the development’s retention ponds are privately owned, the staff report found standing water in the storm drain system in the town’s road network

Recommended actions include:

  • Require contractors to control their sediment,
  • Inspect and clean storm drainage system within town right of way, costing approximately $20,000 to 200,000
  • A performance study of the basin, costing approximately $50,000 to 150,000.
  • Recommend that the town notify state agencies of potential sediment violations-
  • Improve code enforcement town already has in place.
  • Increase nuisance fines

Hollis said the town would ask for cooperation and funding through other entities if a study were to be undertaken. Residents in the subdivision could also pay for improvements via an assessment. As for persistent sediment damage, Hollis said there’s not much the town can do to fix a problem the builder caused.

“It’s strictly a private matter, a civil matter,” he said.

Hearthstone

In Hearthstone, residents raised concerns over continued development and construction runoff. The town found that phase two of the development’s stormwater system was out of compliance in its report.

Recommended actions include:

  • Require contractors to control sediment
  • Rule that the stormwater permit phase two is out of compliance (an action the Department of Environmental Quality has the sole authority to issue)
  • Allow developer 60 days to bring their stormwater system into compliance
  • Stop the issuance of building permits for new homes
  • Engage a firm to perform engineering flood study, costing $50,000 to $100,000
  • Encourage Hearthstone’s HOA to remove sediment

Greenwood Heights

Leland’s staff report found development runoff in Greenwood Heights appears to be resolved. The town will continue to monitor the area and ensure erosion control measures are maintained, Hollis said.

Lanvale Trace

Across from Wedgewood at Lanvale, residents of Lanvale Trace have also reported flooding issues to the town. Hollis said flooding in that area stems back decades.

“There’s a history of flooding on Orchard Loop,” he said.

The report found the retention pond is not functioning properly, storm drain inlets are being clogged with debris, the stormdrain system does not facilitate quick drainage and ditches must be cleaned regularly.

Recommended actions include:

  • Implement drainage basin design improvements, costing approximately $400,000 to $500,000.
  • Engage firm to perform engineering study, costing approximately $50,000 to $100,000.
  • Include this engineering study in the town’s capital fund
  • Establish an assessment in the subdivision to cover the cost of the study and improvements.

While dozens of recommendations were offered, Council did not take any action to implement flooding solutions it was presented with Tuesday. A vote to implement any stormwater strategy would be forthcoming.

Update: This article has been updated to accurately reflect Leland’s stormwater findings in Brunswick Forest. 


Send tips and comments to Johanna Ferebee at johanna@localvoicemedia.com

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