During the City Council meeting on the evening of Monday, November 14, seats were filled with frustrated River Birch residents. The final plat approval for River Birch Subdivision was on the agenda for discussion. Mark Whiteley, City Engineer, spoke about the current retention pond on River Birch Circle and the issue regarding whether or not it was built to the original specifications. Some residents suspect that it is smaller than what it was originally planned. The issue is that when it rains and water throughout the neighborhood drains into the retention pond; it overflows, causing flooding on River Birch Circle and surrounding streets.
One-by-one, residents addressed the council and Whiteley; voicing their frustrations at having to deal with flooding issues and not seeing any progress. One resident said she had requested copies of the drainage plans for Phase 1 and Phase 2 from the city and they did not have them. Instead, she received them from the engineer. She explained that it was her understanding that Phase 2 was supposed to have a retention pond.
Another resident talked about having to block traffic on his street during flooding to ensure that his and his parents’ homes did not get flooded. Some residents expressed dismay at purchasing an expensive home and then having to deal with flooding problems whenever it rains.
Whiteley said “It was never anyone’s intention to flood anyone.” He continued to say that homebuilders need to do what they can to mitigate the drainage problem. They should be mindful of where the water goes when they are building. He suggested that they make a diversion to take water to the ditch. Whitely also suggested that residents attend the next Hardin County meeting and ask them for help.
As residents focused on the lack of an additional retention pond, Whiteley said water can be detained in pipes; not only retention ponds. Residents became more vocal and frustrated with the responses they were receiving from him and when Whiteley told them that they were working on it; one fed-up resident shouted out to Whiteley, “What can you do but run your mouth?”
James Abshire, of Abshire Building Group, was in attendance and said that he would put up a barrier fence to temporarily alleviate some of the issues residents are seeing during rain. Steve Clark, City Manager, suggested that the developer put in a diversion ditch to help pull away some of the water. Abshire said he would work on it the following day.
City Council approved the final plat with the contingency that the retention area will be checked to make sure it was built to the original specifications; the final plat cannot be filed until that is completed and verified.