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Homestead subdivision flooding worries residents

More homes eyed on East Homestead

by BOB GAETJENS | REPORTER Published: March 8, 2017 1:00 AM

AURORA -- City Council is considering two ordinances which would enable more houses to be built along East Homestead Drive, but several homeowners are against the plan because they feel it would exacerbate flooding.

The two ordinances will be on second reading at Council's March 13 meeting.

East Homestead experienced what Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin described as a 200- to 500-year flood in July 2015.

"We have really tried to help them with suggestions and everything else," she said. "We've already spent some city funds on engineering studies for that development."

Womer Benjamin explained maintenance of the pond located near Eggleston Road is the homeowner association's responsibility since it's privately owned.

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Service Director John Trew said stormwater control infrastructure is designed to withstand 100-year floods, but not floods as severe as the July 2015 one.

Law Director Dean DePiero said the developer revised the plan for new homes from 14 condominiums to eight single-family homes, which he said would reduce impervious surfaces and the potential for flooding.

"I think the city has done everything it's obligated to do, and even gone beyond that by having an engineer go in and try to assist," he said, referring to a study by Stantech.

Frank Vitale of Westview Drive said he holds the city responsible for flooding and wants to sit down to figure out how to improve stormwater control.

"We want Council to set up a subcommittee to sit down with us and discuss this," he said. "That pond was 4 feet over its outlet pipes in the last three rains, and they weren't even storms."

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Council member John Kudley said it would be a bad idea to discuss the matter with the neighbors since Vitale mentioned some residents have engaged legal counsel.

Womer Benjamin said the city funded two studies by Stantec, one of which concluded that the stormwater management system in the development was set up according to submitted plans and city standards.

"The scope of the storm event that occurred July 14, 2015 exceeded both the city's design standards," stated the study. "However, the retention areas exhibited evidence of plant growth, as well as silt and sediment deposits that should be removed to restore the basins to their original volume and configuration."

The second Stantec study explored several options for improving the pond by Eggleston Road, recommending "conversion of the wet pond into a dry basin, along with modifications to the outlet structure."

According to the study, the modification would cost about $121,630.

While each study indicates the pond is properly built to city standards, Westview Drive resident Ron Gadzinksi said that doesn't mean it's adequate.

"Just because it worked prior to the community being built up doesn't mean it's OK," he said. "We need to break the paradigm that it's [built according to] code, so all is well."

DePiero said the neighborhood does not have a history of repeatedly flooding. "There had not been flooding prior to that 2015 event," he said.

Council member Kathy Grandillo said the planning commission took extra time on the decision before unanimously favoring the revised plan for eight homes.

"The planning commission even postponed making a decision to give members time to look at the Stantech and OHM reports," she said. "We went through every piece of paper we could get our hands on. It was a very difficult decision because you do feel for the people, but we have certain codes we have to adhere to."

Where city officials see the reports concluding the pond was built to city standards, Vitale believes some areas need to be improved, noting one of the reports "revealed the shortcomings of the pond -- the pipes are too small. There were a lot of issues that opened our eyes."

Email: bgaetjens@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4188

Twitter: @bobgaetjens_rpc

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