Residential subdivisions in Lafayette County face drainage issues

Published 12:34 pm Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Multiple residential subdivisions in Lafayette County are suffering from drainage issues and homeowners are seeking solutions to the problem.

Residents of Woodland Hills Estates are seeking a fix for their drainage issues that are causing water to leak into their homes.

The subdivision’s elected representative Matt Neilson and engineer Mick Ursic approached the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors at a public hearing on Monday for input. According to Neilson, the property’s undersized culverts are not enough to deal with the amount of rainfall the county is experiencing.

“With the last several years of rains we’ve had, especially right about now, it seems that we get that monumental rainfall in a short period of time,” he said. “Our drainage system is overloaded and people, in particular on River Birch Lane, end up with water in their home.”

The subdivision has installed a bigger culvert on the north end of River Birch Lane and utilizes retention ponds, but the work isn’t enough to address the entire issue.

“We already have some measures in place but what we’re really looking for is a comprehensive, engineering solution,” said Ursic.

Concluding the public hearing on Woodland Hills, Board president Mike Roberts said the sooner the drainage problems can be addressed, the better.

“I know we’re dealing with a lot at Shelbi’s Place, Taylor Greene and Twelve Oaks and we are putting a kind of wish list and dollar figures on a lot of these subdivisions, but [Woodland Hills] does qualify for some ARPA funds,” said Roberts. “I don’t know how exactly to proceed yet but it qualifies under the stormwater management.”

At the same board meeting, Lafayette County Development Services Department requested to have two Lafayette County parcels in Shelbi’s Place subdivision appraised for potential purchase to improve drainage and prevent flooding on County streets.

“This is not going to be the end-all or end-all solution to fix that problem but we believe it would help,” said Joel Hollowell, Director of Development Services.

A large drainage way under Highway 7 has been a concern of the department for a couple of years. According to Hollowell, the drain gets overgrown with plants and regularly clogged with leaves and roots, prohibiting adequate water flow from Shelbi’s Place. And when the drain does get unclogged, it floods the streets and the houses. 

Development Services proposed purchasing the first lot or parcel where the drainage way is located to have access and allow them to keep the drainage way open.

The second lot could provide more storage area for the water, help it flow quicker and keep the drainage open under Highway 7.

Roberts said he doesn’t like that corrections will have to be done on a project that should have been completed correctly from the beginning, but acknowledges that all construction took place before the county had regulations on building and subdivision regulations.

“These are county roads and, going in, it’s the most cost-effective approach at this point,” Roberts said.

The Board of Supervisors gave unanimous approval to the Development Services department’s request.