Sheep Camp residents to make flooding case

Flooding near Sheep Camp Road in the East Valley cut channels there.

Flooding near Sheep Camp Road in the East Valley cut channels there.

Residents along Sheep Camp Road in the East Valley are asking Douglas County commissioners to alter what they are calling a clerical error that’s preventing them from fixing their property.

Commissioners meet 10 a.m. Thursday at the Douglas County Courthouse in Minden.

At issue is the use of the terms “private drainage” and “easement” which residents say are preventing them from fixing their property.

“The plan currently is not working and putting the neighborhood residents, homes and infrastructure at peril and future risk for flooding and fire,” resident said in their request for help from commissioners.

A drainage that appears on the map as a blue-line intermittent stream the county said altered course during the March 10 flooding caused damage to property owned by Kim and Ian Magary, who have been vocal at public comment.

According to a report prepared by the county, it appears construction upstream as part of Pinion Ridge subdivision changed the drainage pattern.

Because the county issued building permits for the homes, and that’s where the change in the drainage occurred, residents say the county is at fault for the damage.

There is a 100-foot drainage easement on either side of the high-water mark of the drainage course. One of the conditions for approval of Pinion Ridge in 2001 was that there wasn’t supposed to be any construction in the easement.

There are codes, covenants and restrictions recorded to restrict use for the drainage, but the county doesn’t enforce them.

Run-off from about 460 acres flows off property controlled by the Bureau of Land Management. In an average year, the drainage doesn’t see much water, but the March floods were anything but average.

Grading for a home upstream from the McGarys appears to have encroached into the restricted area, according to the county report.

“The restricted use area in Pinion Ridge prohibits obstructing and altering natural flow as well as such as certain activities, such as grading,” according to the staff report. “The county does not have an easement to perform grading activities being requested by the Sheep Camp residents; nor is there a mechanism in place that would allow Douglas County to require the residents of Pinion Ridge to perform such activities within the restricted use area.”

Residents cited the Johnson Lane lawsuit over flash flooding that occurred in the summers of 2014 and 2015. That case was settled for $1.3 million, $470,000 of which went to attorneys and experts. The other $830,000 is being used to build basins upstream. None of the money from the settlement went to any of the 31 plaintiffs who claimed damage in the storms, according to a Sept. 5, 2019, Record-Courier story.


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