Flooding, sewer debated with north Valley project
October 5, 2018
A project consisting of 25 homes next door to the Johnson Lane Volunteer Fire Department raised issues of flooding and sewer connections last week.
Parkhaven Estates is located on the downstream end of Buckbrush Wash, which flooded residents of Saratoga Street during 2014 and 2015.
Resident Jo Williams said the flooding hasn't improved over the years she's lived in the Johnson Lane area.
"We're tired of it," she said. "It costs these families every time it rains."
A project on the 25-acre site has been on the books for 14 years. A disagreement over the development agreement in 2006 resulted in litigation with the county.
The project, which was listed on the FEMA flood maps as flood plain, originally envisioned a batch sewer plant.
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When the FEMA maps were revised, parts of the neighborhood were removed from the flood plain, though that didn't mean that it wasn't still subject to flooding.
"Those alluvial fans are going to continue to flood," project engineer Rob Anderson said. "There's typically a lot of property damage, because there is a lot of sediment. An upstream solution is the best solution."
In an effort to reduce the runoff from the property, two 40-foot detention ponds will be built on the west side.
County Engineer Erik Nilssen said they would be able to contain 150 percent of a 25-year flood and would not increase the amount of water hitting Saratoga Street residents.
Resident Michelle Martin said the county was harming her and her neighbors by allowing the development upstream from her and running a sewer line on her street to serve it.
"We don't want the sewer line down our street," she said. "Repairing our septic tanks is a cheaper option."
The state Department of Environmental Protection regulates septic tanks and has generally forbidden any new tanks due to nitrates in the groundwater of Johnson Lane.
Under county code, if a homeowner's septic tank fails and they are within 330 feet of a sewer line, they must connect.
"There is no reason that sewer line can't go down Stephanie Way," Martin said. "This is part of a county plan to force us off our septic systems."
Nilssen estimated the connection fee would be about $6,000, but that the county could spread that over a period of time.
The project as approved on Oct. 4 contains 10 lots that are less than an acre in size.
Also approved were the second readings on two multi-family residential zoning amendments in Minden. One project is proposed by Mike Pegram west of Lucerne Street while the other is on 6 acres on Monte Vista Avenue. Both received master plan amendments last year and owners were seeking to match zoning.
Lantana resident Katie Spencer said the Winhaven Homeowners Association opposed the Monte Vista project because residents expect additional traffic through the neighborhood.
Residents said the project would endanger Jake's Wetlands.
Chairman Steve Thaler said the wetlands are not federally recognized.
"It was created for the Martin Slough by the town of Minden," he said. "There is a presumption that it is a federally recognized wetland, and it's not. It was built for stormwater."