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East County Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019 4 months ago

Drainage issues confound homeowners in Lakewood Ranch

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CDD 5 considers options to help some Country Club residents.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

When it rains at Romeo Turcotte’s house in Lakewood Ranch Country Club, it does more than just pour.

The water rushes along the ground toward his house and takes out mulch and even lava rock as it travels down from a berm behind his home to the street out front. He’s already installed drains, added shrubs and gutters and worked with neighbors on both sides to solve the drainage issues.

But there’s still just too much water.

“When there’s a downpour, you can drive down the street the next day, and there’s so much mulch on the sidewalk,” he said. “It washes across the grass to the street or sidewalk.”

He, like many other homeowners in the Riviera and Presidio sections of Country Club, are inconvenienced by displaced mulch, but they are more worried about the longterm effects of the water that pools behind and in between their homes. Turcotte said trees and plants — such as two of his bamboo plants — have begun dying from the excessive moisture, and he’s worried the foundation of his home could become compromised.

“We’re trying to control water,” Turcotte said. “It’s a problem for everyone.”

Last month, Lakewood Ranch Community Development District 5 supervisors reviewed a $142,673 proposal from Landshore Enterprises detailing a possible solution. It would include the installation of drainage basins in low-lying areas on district property. Water from the berm along Lorraine Road would collect there then filter into a pipe running north-south, parallel to Lorraine.

The district would install 43 connection points, from which individual homeowners could connect their own underground pipe system, thus diverting the water collecting behind their homes to the front street.

District Operations Manager Paul Chetlain called the situation “tricky” because, in many areas, the berm and low-lying areas extend onto residential property, not property owned by the district. That complication will make it difficult to find a solution.

“We don’t really have it figured out with high confidence yet,” Chetlain said. 

The district’s engineer, Richard Ellis, said he had concerns about the plans and whether they would actually work. He hopes to have his conclusions ready for the CDD board at its Aug. 13 workshop and Aug. 15 meeting.

Supervisor Dave Emison said the issue has been a problem since the community was built and has been brought up over the years. However, the board now has turned its attention to the topic after dealing with more “urgent” issues, including road repairs.

Emison said the berm is district-owned, so any improvements made by the district would be paid for by all residents of CDD 5, not just by those impacted property owners.

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