August 27, 2014

Elyria
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North Ridgeville residents upset with flooding

Carol Roy, of Paula Court in North Ridgeville, pours water out of a bin that was under a bed. The basement rooms filled with deep water after flood waters and sewage came in during the storms. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

Carol Roy, of Paula Court in North Ridgeville, pours water out of a bin that was under a bed. The basement rooms filled with deep water after flood waters and sewage came in during the storms. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Dozens of angry, frustrated homeowners fired salvo after salvo at city officials during Monday night’s City Council meeting, telling them they are tired of years of floodwaters, damage, uninsured losses and no answers following last week’s devastating floods.

Council members and city administrators heard from close to 30 people during an extended 90-minute public comment session at the start of the meeting.

More than 75 people offered thunderous applause and cheers as they listened in the packed council chambers to a succession of speakers demand answers as well as a moratorium on new home building. Several speakers threatened no support for future local tax issues until solutions are found.

Others, like Barb Sutton of Gina Drive, held up a laminated copy of a May 26, 1989, Chronicle-Telegram front-page story about flooding woes in North Ridgeville.

“Nothing has changed, nothing has gotten better,” Sutton said before the meeting as she and others discussed the situation.

During the meeting, Sutton got a loud burst of applause when she said, “I don’t care about Center Ridge Road.”

Sutton referred to the much-discussed $51.7 million widening of Center Ridge Road, for which voters rejected an $8 million bond issue two week ago.

Another man told officials, “It will be darn hard to get a tax levy passed until we get this addressed.”

“Every levy that comes up will get a ‘no’ from me,” said a third resident.

A number of homeowners — some hoarse and ill after battling the lingering effects of flood-soaked homes for a week — said they had to scramble to seek temporary housing for sick children.

One was Mindy Powers, whose Gina Drive home has flooded three times since 2008.

“I have a chronically ill 5-year-old,” Powers said, her voice shaking. “The city owes me a home. This has ruined my life. You need to do something and do something now.”

Council President Kevin Corcoran repeated pleas to keep aisles clear during the standing-room-only session.

Paul Mylonas, a Dana Place homeowner, asked whether council members and others would be willing to trade their homes for the heavily damaged homes of residents.

“You need to put everything else on hold and make this a priority,” Mylonas said. “If not, it’s going to speak volumes about your inability to govern this city.”

One Gina Drive woman spoke of living in a home that “has absolutely no value left.”

“I have no choice but to stay,” she said. “No one would touch our homes now.”

Another, whose voice could barely be heard due in part to a tracheotomy, pleaded with local legislators for aid.

“What’s it gonna take for you guys to help us?” she said.

Bob Pemberton of Debbie Drive is among hundreds who have been through multiple floods over the years. He asked how many council members “got out and walked and talked to residents?”

Corcoran and Dennis Boose, D-2nd Ward, raised their hands in response.

Jeff Rogerson, a Broad Boulevard homeowner, said flooding over the years has cost him and his insurance company $80,000, “which is more than the house is worth.”

Following a brief intermission during which most people left, Mayor David Gillock said, “Everyone has a right to be upset and to be heard,” adding “we get the message.”

The city recorded six inches of rainfall in an hour last Monday, Gillock said, and Mills Creek, which caused serious flooding to a number of Mills Creek Lane condos, rose to a height of 17 feet at one point, Gillock said.

Some condo residents had to be evacuated by boats manned by firefighters and rescue personnel.

City hall registered about 300 calls from residents last week who reported varying degrees of flood damage, Gillock said.

The city is working with the Lorain County Emergency Management Agency to determine whether the city will qualify for state and federal financial assistance with a disaster declaration.

Safety-Service Director Jeffry Armburster termed last week’s flooding the most devastating the city has seen since 1979.

  • Fred Garvin

    Good luck with the Center Ridge project, In my opinion, it will make the flooding situation worse. N.R. needs to address this long standing problem before future projects are dreamed of. What business would want to put down stakes in this city.

    • Sue Lawson

      I was thinking the same thing about the CR project.

  • Sis Delish

    “More than 75 people offered thunderous applause and cheers as they listened in the packed council chambers to a succession of speakers demand answers as well as a moratorium on new home building. Several speakers threatened no support for future local tax issues until solutions are found.”

    Wow, a legitimate reason to withhold support for future local tax issues!

    Just hope these residents don’t blow it by tacking on another issue to not support local tax levies, such as happened in Elyria with its LGBT groups at E.H.S. That would be tragic and sad.

  • SpaceTech

    Be careful what you wish for!
    I suppose all 75 homeowners at last nights meetings will rant and rave when their water/sewer bills triple in cost to address this problem that happens every so often.
    Homeowners can take steps to mitigate flooding problems like check valves and sump pumps but don’t want to pay for the work.
    I don’t care who you are, if your property has EVER flooded in the past and you didn’t attach an flood insurance rider to your homeowners policy–its YOUR fault not the city’s.

    • NR2004

      so your suggestion is to do nothing? maybe you didn’t watch the news, but no sump pump or check valve is going to stop water from coming into your house when your house is sitting in a pond or your sump can’t release because the storm drains are full. please suggest what the next steps would be when ones insurance company drops them after 1 or 2 claims?

    • Paul Lewis

      As pointed out by others, this problem will only worsen as more construction occurs in North Ridgeville as well as those communities north of Mills road. What needs to be done is to NOT waste any money spending state assistance on Center Ridge road and use it to find a way to get the water into LAKE ERIE where it belongs. Regarding people not addressing their own flooding issues yes, I have added two more sump pumps to the one which came with my home on Dorchester avenue and it makes NO difference since once the storm sewers get full, the pumps won’t overcome the back pressure.
      Want funds? Quit worrying about which of the people who admittedly hate America, are going to run those patches of sand in the middle east and start spending those BILLIONS of dollars improving our dilapidated infrastructure.

      • Roy Benevidez

        Questions, not criticisms: do you have a flood rider or flood insurance? Were you aware, or made aware by the seller, that the area was flood prone due to poor infrastructure?

        I was born in Lorain County and this has been an issue since I was old enough to follow the newspapers in the early 70s. I just wonder if the issue was downplayed to develop, build and sell homes.

      • SpaceTech

        EPA no longer allows storm runoff to enter Lake Erie without first being treated, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is spending Billions to dig underground interceptor tunnels big enough to handle storm runoff and capture the water so it may be treated before discharge into the Lake.
        So your answer of getting the water into the lake is not an answer it is a process and a VERY expensive process, but necessary.

        • Paul Lewis

          I doubt that they will EVER ned up treating storm water runoff before it goest to the lake.perhaps they will spend the money to separate sewage system from ground and storm systems, but to treat ALL the storm water would be a monumental task. In an event,one needs to take a closer look at storm coverage insurance since at one time, it only covered actual structural damage.

    • INavon

      You can’t attach FLOOD insurance to your home policy. You buy water backup. You buy a separate polcy through FEMA for flood. The majority of ciaims are water backup and those people not in a major flood zone never thought they should need flood insurance. Know what you are talking about before you type.

    • banzibug

      WRONG!!!!
      not when you flood continually after the city sewer went in

  • Roy Benevidez

    That’s what happens when residential construction outstrips infrastructure. Flooding between the lake ridges has been a known problem for years and siting homes in farmland known for vernal pools is approved idiocy by the zoning boards in Ridgeville and Avon. Storm sewers paid for by new construction impact fees, rather than an antiquated ditch system, would have mitigated the problem.

    If you have lived there for 26 years and do not have flood insurance why should the rest of us bail you out? Accept risk for your home’s poor siting and get a copy of the updated flood maps to ensure solvency. This problem is only going to get worse as weather patterns intensify.

    • Sis Delish

      Just had to toss in 2 cents about global warming… tsk, tsk.

      • Roy Benevidez

        Work in insurance. Claims going up year-over-year for weather events. Events becoming larger, full of more energy and moisture.

        Deal in facts, not political half-truths.

        • Simon Jester

          What about Inconvenient ones? Or do I have to beat you bloody with an encyclopedia to promote learning through osmosis?

          Weather is cyclical. Anthropogenic “Global Warming” is BS.

          Enjoy your Prius and higher taxes to offset something that isn’t real.

  • Sis Delish

    Buy sponges, lots of ‘em.

  • Chipper

    My parents have lived in their house off of Jaycox for more than 40 yrs. They have been dealing with flooding problems for as long as I can remember. So this has been an issue with multiple administrations, not just the current one, with still no resolve. Now its even worse because of the numerous developments that have been built with the same sewer system. Don’t think for a minute this administration isn’t going to be like the rest and not do anything. Yes, it’s in they’ll “listen” now because of the magnitude of how many people were affected and it’s in the headlines but nothing will get done.

  • Jim

    The tone in this article seems to push this article from objective fact reporting to advocacy. For example, I don’t care how passionate 75 people are- their applause could never objectively be reported as being “thunderous”.

    I feel bad for the residents, but I’m not sure why they or anyone believe it’s the city’s responsibility to subsidize the flood risk of people who chose to move into a home in a known flood zone… especially when that subsidy is at the expense of other residents. These people should take the money they saved when they purchased their homes and set it aside to pay for their own flood damages as they come up. The city didn’t trick anyone into buying a home there.

    Punishing other residents by mindlessly voting “no” on other levies instead of giving them individual consideration shows how shallow their thinking is. Where do they think the city will get the money to make the expensive upgrades to the sewer systems with no new homes being built and no businesses moving in?

  • timmihendrix

    Does anyone know if the water from the sports park south of Lorain rd runs into the creek? How about all of the other recent development near 480/Lorain rd?

  • angelandfire

    I lived in NR in the 60′s and 70′s…graduated HS there. This flooding has always been a part of that side of town. We called it, “The Swamps”…anything on that side of Center Ridge. Property was cheaper…..this is why. It will only get worse. Water always reclaims what is hers an you cannot spend enough money to stop the water. Our governor in Missouri said that back during the floods in the 90′s. The state bought the houses and the land and turned it into parks…..never to be built up again.

    Get out cut your losses. Move on.

  • John Q. Taxpayer

    It’s kind of ironic, the city dug a big retention basin off Jaycox Rd. to help with storm water and the this has been the worst that the flooding has been. Also does anyone think building a new school and football field next to the currant high school is a good idea? If the high school floods with every heavy storm what will a new school do. Can’t believe the school board is much smarter then the city is.
    Maybe it will be built on stilts.

  • Sis Delish

    Move to South Ridgeville.