December 20, 2014

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North Ridgeville condo owners consider suing city over flooding

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Nita Morrison and several fellow condominium owners in the city’s Northview Circle development have dogged City Council over recurring episodes of flooding dating to 2005.

Morrison is circulating hundreds of fliers around town to try to drum up support for a class-action suit against the city.

“I have had enough,” Morrison said Tuesday. “I’ve flooded five times and have not seen any improvement. A lot of other people are furious and feel the same way. We want to recoup some of our losses over the years.”

Morrison and others in the development plan to talk with a Detroit-area attorney who specializes in flooding and other damage arising from municipal sewer systems.

“We haven’t yet spoken with him, but we plan to soon,” Morrison said.

In the meantime, the group hopes to get at least 100 people to join the suit and share its costs.

“I have no idea what they will be, but the more who sign up, the less the cost will be per person,” Morrison said.

To date, close to 500 fliers have been handed out door-to-door in flood-prone neighborhoods, including the Gina-Pitts Boulevard area, the Mills Creek development, Highland Drive north of Jaycox Road, and the Muirwood Village condos off Mills Road on the North Ridgeville-Avon border.

Morrison also hopes to publicize the suit, and get signatures, from a booth she’s looking to rent at this year’s Corn Festival Aug. 8 to 10.

Northview Circle condo owners were among many residents suffering flood damage during torrential rains in May. The condos have sustained flooding damage dating to 2005.

Northview Circle resident Cathy Coleman and Mayor David Gillock had a heated exchange during an August 2013 meeting in which Gillock said it was unrealistic to expect substantial progress to reduce flooding in 60 days as Coleman demanded.

Gillock told the condo owners at the time the city lacks the millions of dollars needed for a significant overhaul of its sewer system.

Gillock said he is aware of the pending lawsuit.

“Anyone is welcome to sue anybody they want,” he said. “We’ve done a lot to try to improve the system.”

Sanitary sewer rates were recently raised, as well as a monthly base charge that is going from $1.82 to $9 to generate money “to continue to maintain and improve the system,” Gillock said.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.