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Sunday, February 18, 2018
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Subject: Maintaining Storm Drainage
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BillG18
(Florida)

Posts:3


01/30/2018 12:06 PM  
We purchased the home in August of 2014.
The development was created in 1985
The original development plans by "IDI" (Indigo Development Inc, the original developers) an approved by the "St. Johns River Water Management District" "SJWMD" show storm drainage swales between and at the rear of each lot.
The rear swales have specific development map, lower an lower elevations at specific development map, designated locations that terminate at and into a drainage pond.
Between my lot and the lot behind me, (we're at the starting end of the swale with 4 other lots with 6 lots total) to the drainage pond, its the homeowners responsibility to maintain their portion of the swale to keep an unobstructed flow to the pond.
Thru the years homeowners have not maintained the swale and a previous homeowner (not the one residing there now) on the lot next to mine had planted a hedge at the edge of the drainage swale and has grown an has intruded into the swale and has become the primary culprit in interfering with the flow of water to the drainage pond.
This is where it becomes convoluted, the swales were supposed to have been titled to and maintained by the city but they weren't, so they became private property and our (homeowners) responsibility.
There is only one homeowner that agrees that we need to to survey and reset elevations as per the development plans.
I've formally asked for help from "SJWMD", declined, the county, declined, the city, declined and the HOA, declined.
The "AMENDED DECLARATION OF COVENANTS, CONDITIONS, EASEMENTS AND RESTRICTIONS" read.
6.9 DRAINAGE. IDI reserves a seven and one-half (7-1/2) foot easement for storm drainage purposes along the side and rear lot lines of each platted lot. Lot drainage shall confirm to and not interfere with the engineered subdivision drainage. It shall be the homeowners responsibility to replace any fences, structures, or vegetation other than grass which might be damaged by the city of Daytona Beach in its maintain of the storm drainage system.
Thanks in advance for suggestions.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2084


01/30/2018 12:48 PM  
If this is homeowner responsibility, you may have to find a way to persuade your neighbors to join forces to fix this problem once and for all - it sounds like an expensive fix (which is why no one wants to cooperate).
However, if no one addresses it, everyone risks storm damage.

As far as the government goes, have you tried talking to your local representatives to see if they can help? If not, it would seem you'll either have to persuade your neighbors to join forces and pocketbooks to fix this once and for all or pay for the surveying yourself. I don't know if you working only on your own property will help matters, but that may the best you can hope for.

If you can't persuade them, it would seem suing all of them would be your only option and for that you will need legal advice. Sorry I can't come up with anything else, but this really does sound complicated and it's not a good idea to get legal advice off the internet anyway.

Oh, and the posting rules of this side state you can't use real names of communities - I know you only listed the developers and the water management district, but someone might be able to put two and two together and figure out which community you live in.
BillG18
(Florida)

Posts:3


01/30/2018 1:00 PM  
Sorry for posting names. I can't seem to find where I can edit my post to remove the names.
Speaking for myself personally, it wouldn't bother me if someone did put 2&2 together.
I'm not seeking legal advice, just a direction to go with this.
I don't really want to engage in a lawsuit with 4 other property owners if the entity I should hold responsible for the non action would happen to be the HOA, just saying?
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:7191


01/30/2018 2:58 PM  
Bill

As you said:

This is where it becomes convoluted, the swales were supposed to have been titled to and maintained by the city but they weren't, so they became private property and our (homeowners) responsibility.

How did this happen? Is it reversible?
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:180


01/30/2018 3:04 PM  
I don't see where the homeowners are responsible for anything more than not allowing their lot drainage to interfere with subdivision drainage and replacing structures, fences, and vegetation if the city damages them. The second part seems to be moot since you said the city never took it over and does not maintain it.

Planting hedges that interfere with the drainage might be a violation but I would argue that hedges are not part of "lot drainage." There is that says owners have to maintain the swales so that they effectively drain.

The easement still exists so I would think either the developer or the HOA could come in and fix it but don't think you can force the individual owners to do so.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:180


01/30/2018 3:06 PM  
Posted By BenA2 on 01/30/2018 3:04 PM
I don't see where the homeowners are responsible for anything more than not allowing their lot drainage to interfere with subdivision drainage and replacing structures, fences, and vegetation if the city damages them. The second part seems to be moot since you said the city never took it over and does not maintain it.

Planting hedges that interfere with the drainage might be a violation but I would argue that hedges are not part of "lot drainage." There is that says owners have to maintain the swales so that they effectively drain.

The easement still exists so I would think either the developer or the HOA could come in and fix it but don't think you can force the individual owners to do so.



**Opps Meant to write, "There is NOTHING that says owners have to maintain the swales so that they effectively drain."
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:1822


01/30/2018 3:42 PM  
Why did SJRWMD decline to help? Are there any other easements noted on the plat? What does your Surface Water Management System permit say? These permits often have a list of restrictions attached that spell out who's responsible for what. I also don't see how the city's failure to maintain the swales ends up with the homeowners being responsible for them. The SJRWMD usually imposes "perpetual responsibility" on parties.

In my HOA, the stormwater drainage system is the perpetual maintenance obligation of the HOA. It's written right on the plat. If the responsibilities are different where you are, I think the SJRWMD documents, approved plans and permits should spell all that out somewhere.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15245


01/31/2018 3:40 AM  
Stormwater management varies by State and by County (within the State).

In VA, our Association maintains some storm water management measures and the County maintains others.

In TN, I'm solely responsible for the swale on my property.

The problem is education. Many people don't know what swales are or why they are there.
They simply see a depression within their property and may dump excess dirt there or intentionally fill it in to put up a shed.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:1822


01/31/2018 4:02 AM  
Posted By TimB4 on 01/31/2018 3:40 AM
The problem is education. Many people don't know what swales are or why they are there.

I can vouch that there's at least one HOA in Florida that fits that bill.
BillG18
(Florida)

Posts:3


01/31/2018 7:07 AM  
All of the agencies have been very cooperative but sensitive in their investigation of my complaints and all agencies that have visited the site and witnessed the problems created by the vegetation and lack of maintenance agree that it needs to be dealt with but all have conceited to the fact that its private property and they have no jurisdiction.
The area is black soil not sand and is prone to ground water saturation in heavy rains if there are no means for water run off.
With ground water saturation you can loose the ability of hot water transmission due to heat loss from the water saturated ground thru your water lines if you are on a slab and the water lines are under the home as well as flooding.
I've tried to find out what happened with the 7-1/2 foot swale not being legally transferred to the city as and easement and I can't find any information other that whats in the bylaws. I can speculate as some of the site visiting people from the different agencies have, but that's not going to help.
We are in a FEMA low risk area and not required to carry flood insurance but because of the problem, we have flood insurance.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:1822


01/31/2018 11:49 PM  
Posted By BillG18 on 01/31/2018 7:07 AM
All of the agencies have been very cooperative but sensitive in their investigation of my complaints and all agencies that have visited the site and witnessed the problems created by the vegetation and lack of maintenance agree that it needs to be dealt with but all have conceited to the fact that its private property and they have no jurisdiction.

If there was a stormwater system operation plan approved by the water management district, didn't it cover the private property in the development/subdivision back then? Something doesn't sound right.
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:3767


02/03/2018 12:02 AM  
You might try going to the City or your County Records and ask to look at the developments SIA (Site Improvement Agreement) or at least that is what we call them in my area. It would be the conract between the developer and the local government for constructing the subdivision. Maybe that document will note the swales and how they were to be handled. It is a thought and a place to look ...
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Maintaining Storm Drainage



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