Clemmons confronting stormwater problems

Published 12:16 pm Tuesday, September 15, 2020

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Resident details destruction at his home from Aug. 6 storm

By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

Surging stormwater concerns in Clemmons topped the list for a pair of meetings held on Monday by the Clemmons Village Council.

First was a special meeting called at 4 p.m. to discuss stormwater and the increasing problem with flooding in parts of the town, particularly the six-inch soaker on Aug, 6, and the impact of rampant growth and development — with the idea being to figure out what’s the best and most efficient way to proceed.

“There have been a lot of concerns from residents on what’s the future going to hold and what can the village do to alleviate the situation,” said Village Manager Scott Buffkin. “And there’s been a lot of conversation by council members on whether we should assess what we’re spending our money on. That was the biggest part of it.”

That was followed by the regular council meeting at 6 p.m., which was highlighted by a resident detailing in the public comments portion of the meeting on how his house at 7510 Lasater Road suffered significant damage from the torrential downpour on Aug. 6.

Kenny French showed images of the “before and after” of his house, which is located just off Peace Haven Road in a low-lying area on Lasater Road with a small creek running behind it.

In a recent television interview on WXII-TV, French stated the estimated damage to be $150,000 and that insurance won’t cover the repairs and replacements. He added that the drain pipe allowing the creek to flow along his backyard isn’t large enough, and he had previously voiced his concerns to the village.

“The pictures speak a thousand words,” told council members while showing a PowerPoint presentation. “This is not the first time that we have seen significant flooding. It’s actually the fourth time there has been water in my basement, although this time it was the most destructive.”

French said that runoff north of his address comes from Peace Haven Road toward the Jerry Long Family YMCA and all the development in that area.

“So the last two years a lot of additional housing is being built off Peace Haven, and every time we see a significant rain amount I’m seeing more and more runoff coming from that direction,” he said.

French said that there was about eight feet of water in his basement and completely destroyed the furnished living area, which included a kitchen along with the furnace and gas water heater as debris and mud covered everything. He said that the creek bed in the back is seven feet below land level but at the peak of the storm, there was 15 to 17 feet of water in the backyard.

The family was forced to leave the residence, “and let the water do its thing,” French said. “At the time, water was about 12 inches from entering the second floor of the home.”

Other damage included a new deck that had just been put up, heat pumps on the left side of the house being under water, and the gas line having to be pulled out. Also lost was a lot of equipment, including lawn mowers and trimmers, and all the materials in his wife’s teaching room, which had materials accumulated over the years, were ruined.

“Put yourself in my shoes with what I’ve been living with in the last month,” French told the council. “Again, this wasn’t the first time, and it’s getting worse with the additional building going on up on Peace Haven.”

Also in during the public comments portion of Monday night’s meeting, the council heard again from Allen Daniel regarding flooding in Clemmons West.

He spoke in the Aug. 13 meeting following the Aug. 6 flooding event and said his “concern is for all of Clemmons, but I think Clemmons West sort of shows what’s going on all over town, and that is the more we build, the more water we get in Clemmons West.”

Daniel said he addressed the Stormwater Advisory Board in a virtual setting at its meeting last Thursday night, “but it occurred to me that those folks really don’t have any authority to do much of anything other than pass things along to you, so these comments should really come to council.”

Councilman Mike Rogers later asked council to add an agenda item for the next meeting to discuss their role and their future role with the council and the council’s role as far as approving and being involved in stormwater projects.

The earlier stormwater discussion meeting was led by Wes Kimbrell, stormwater engineer, and the agenda before council included a long list of items, including the current CIP List (non-ranked) and funding analysis, private property cost share programs, residential permit review inspections, consideration of stormwater inundation zones, ordinance overhaul and future development Stormwater Management Plan.

Mayor John Wait said that a lot of progress has been made in the last year regarding stormwater issues, but that “these things are ongoing.”

In other highlights from Monday night’s meeting, the council:

• Approved stormwater project culvert replacement bid proposals for Greenbrook and Mendelssohn.

• Approved an ordinance and budget amendment for CIP Scope of Work for Tanglebrook and Doublegate

• Heard from Larry Wise, who has served as an elections official for more than 20 years during the public comments portion of the meeting and put together a draft of safety guidelines at the polling places that will be considered at the Sept. 28 meeting.

• Heard that the Fall Medicine drop will be a drive-by event and will be held Nov. 7 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Public Works Facility.