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Residents meet with flooding attorneys

Staff Reports

This summer’s flashflood may consist of plaintiffs joining a lawsuit against Douglas County over water rushing through northern Carson Valley in 2014 and 2015.

Attorney Ardea G. Canepa-Rotoli confirmed her firm, Maddox, Segerblom & Canepa, held a meeting of residents at the Carson Valley Inn last week, and expects to amend the lawsuit to include new plaintiffs.

“We had a very good turnout at the meeting that we had out at CVI,” she said. “In fact, even the Douglas County assistant district attorney popped in at the end of the meeting – homeowners spotted and identified him right away.”

The owners of nearly two-dozen properties located in northern Carson Valley have sued Douglas County in connection with two years of summer flash flooding.

According to the lawsuit filed on June 1 in Douglas County District Court, the county should have known that the approval of an upstream subdivision altered the natural drainage of their property.

That subdivision, the 132-unit Skyline Ranch, was first approved in 1994. Most of the homes were built in the first years after the millennium.

In July of 2014 and 2015, water, debris and mud infiltrated the homeowners’ yards and homes, leaving the properties in disarray. The homeowners fear that that events like those that occurred in July 2014 and 2015 will be repeated.

“Since July 2015, we have worked in our yard nearly every day, clearing the mud and debris, preparing for the next flood,” resident Judy Marsh said. “A county official said that water runs downhill and you are on your own, there was nothing he could do about the floodwaters. We felt with the lack of action on the County’s part, seeking legal help was our only course of action.”

Fifteen of the homes involved in the lawsuit are on Stewart Avenue, Esaw Street, Raeline Lane and Downs Drive. The other eight are located across Johnson Lane.

The lawsuit claims that after the July 2014 flooding, the county cut ditches and culverts deeper without proper engineering

The law firm says because the claims exceed $50,000, the lawsuit is exempt from arbitration.

Douglas County Emergency Management estimated the damage to public property from the July 8, 2015, flooding was more than $2 million. It affected more than 200 properties and covered 300 acres.