Leon County wanted to put in ditches and culverts in Killearn Lakes back in 1989. County leaders said it would help with flooding. Residents said, "no thanks."
Libby Mitchell says water is wearing away her house; all she can do is watch.
"I'd thank the Lord if they'd put in curbs and gutters in here. I don't have so much as a drainage ditch," says Libby.
Fences help hold backwater between her house and the one next door. She admits her neighbor's house sees even more flooding. Mitchell's house was the first one on this street in 1988, but the next year Killearn homeowners said no to a county plan for ditches and culverts, keeping their sheet flow drainage system.
A homeowners' newsletter said, "Although the sheet flow concept does not enjoy a textbook documentation, it has been working since always."
Residents rejected the county plan because, "Ditches and culverts are ugly, require maintenance, create a potential hazard for children on bicycles."
For county commissioner Bob Rackleff, that history is troubling.
"The neighborhood has already rejected what needed improvement 14 years ago, and I have serious questions if there's going to be acceptance of this to the point they'll help pay for it," says Rackleff.
"In 1989, the number of houses out here was dramatically lower. No one could foresee this being such a big problem," says Brad Trotman of the Killearn Lakes Homeowners Association.
Meanwhile, homeowners like Libby Mitchell can't change the past, but they're begging for help in the future. County commission chair Tony Grippa says what happened in the past isn't important, quote, "the problem is today and we need to work to solve it."
County leaders are working on storm water plans for Killearn Lakes and bringing a sewage system to units one and two. Meanwhile, some residents like Libby Mitchell are hopeful the county will buy their houses, but countywide there's quite a list of flood-prone properties.
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