Berlin Resident Still Waiting On Draining Help

BERLIN – With a
town-wide flooding fix probably years away, residents are still experiencing
stormwater flooding in various neighborhoods around Berlin.

The town of Berlin took
over authority for stormwater management within municipal limits earlier this

A draft of the new
stormwater regulations and policies will be presented to the Mayor and Council
for consideration later this month, but the necessary stormwater study that is
precursor to any plans for stormwater improvements will probably not happen
anytime soon.

The policies and
procedures developed by the town’s stormwater consultant will cover polices and
procedures for review, as well as a checklist for applicants on what they need
to do to get stormwater approvals for a project.

Smaller or less intense
projects will be able to get waivers on some parts of the process, town
administrator Tony Carson said.

Small projects, such as
an addition to a house, might receive a waiver, where a multi-building project
would have to go through the entire review and inspection process.

The policies, procedures
and checklist documents have been designed to help anyone doing a building
project, from an addition to a major housing development, understand what’s
expected of them, said Carson.

None of that helps
Berlin resident Mark Rush, who asked the town council for help in July with
flooding issues at his property.

Recent attempts to fix
those flooding issues have not been successful, prompting him to come back to
the Berlin Mayor and Council to ask for more efforts at relief.

The town has looked into
interim measures to reduce the flooding at his house, but most flooding in
Berlin will not be relieved until a comprehensive stormwater management plan is
completed and put into practice, Berlin officials said.

Flooding has been a
problem in Berlin for decades and yet another example was yesterday afternoon’s
downpour that left streets flooded and backyards under water.

Mayor Gee Williams said
the town wanted to avoid actions that would relieve Rush’s problem by moving
the water to another residential property.

“I can see that I’m
getting everyone else’s problem right now,” Rush said.

Staff, council members
and politicians have all been out at Rush’s property to consider the situation.

“I really don’t see any
kind of results,” Rush said, after town workers made some changes to stormwater
handling around his home.

Rush vetoed a town
recommendation to lower the edges of the stormwater run-off swale bordering his
property, saying that he felt the suggested fix would not work, could make his
flooding problem worse and would be a waste of taxpayer money.

While the town says it
does not want to put Band-aids on flooding problems instead of permanent fixes,
the options offered have all been just that, Rush said.

Working improvements
have been made at other properties in the neighborhood, Rush said, on Quillen
Dr. and Ann Court.

“I’d just like to get a
good resolution on this. I’ve waited seven years, almost eight,” said Rush.

Williams asked staff to
take another look at Rush’s situation.

“I’m just assuming
there’s some sort of fix somehow,” Williams said.

Carson has been out to
Rush’s property at least three times with the town’s stormwater consultant, he
said. The flooding problem probably won’t be solved until a study is done of
the entire neighborhood, Carson said.

“I know it doesn’t help
his situation,” he said.       

The town doesn’t want to
install temporary fixes which must be ripped out in several years when more
permanent stormwater fixes are installed.

“We’re at the beginning
of the beginning of how to manage the stormwater issue,” Williams said. “I want
us wherever we can to give relief as long as it makes financial sense, and
again as long as it doesn’t create another problem.”