The Washington Township Committee is considering a drastic change to a portion of roadway near the intersection of Fairview Avenue and Naughright Road, where homeowners were decimated by flooding in September 2011.
The residents, Cecile Marie and John Howard, who lost most of the eastern portion of their home when flash floods struck their property, have asked that the “low spot” of Fairview Avenue be raised up to four feet, to help alleviate water flow from Stony Brook into their home.
This request isn’t new, however, according to Marie, who was present at the Washington Township Committee Work Session meeting Wednesday night with her attorney and an engineer.
Having lived in the home since 2000, Marie and Howard say their house has been flooded nine times, but the storm in September did the most damage.
Marie, , said she has requested help from the township on this issue for nearly a decade.
Marie and Howard claim they have spent nearly $1.5 million in home repairs since moving into the home. It’s location, sitting in a low spot of the roadway near a brook, has caused flooding from the waterway–and from the slope of Naughright Road–to empty onto the property.
Marie’s engineer, David Fontina, said the road would have to be re-profiled, in addition to other changes in the area, to alleviate the waterflow.
“We’re asking that the township consider moving the low-point away from the home,” Fontina said. “The homeowners would build a berm on their property as well.”
Another issue in the area is the rock debris that has clogged much of Stony Brook, according to Fontina.
Over the past few decades, boulders “the size of refrigerators,” according to Mayor Ken Short, have been displaced, clogging the waterway rather than creating a pathway for the brook. The displacement has forced the water to run onto Fairview Avenue, Fontina said, and end up in Marie and Howard’s property.
The projected cost to fix the road, however, is estimated to be upwards of $50,000, according to Short.
All for one, one for all?
The major issue, however, for members of the township committee is disseminating where to draw the line for helping a single resident.
“If we go ahead and do this,” said committeeman Jim LiaBraaten, “what will happen for residents in similar situations? If we go through with this, it could set a precedent.”
The roadway already has a four-foot drop onto the property, Short said. Adding an additional four feet in height could warrant a guardrail on the roadway.
“I’d like to hear the full cost of the project, and conditions from both engineers,” committeeman Dave Kennedy said. “We also have to be sure we’re not just pushing the issue–and water flow–downstream further onto Naughright, where flooding already occurs at the intersection with Bartley Road.”
Township engineer Leon Hall, who was not at the meeting, has come up with a few solutions, Fontina said. “(Hall) thinks this could be one of the solutions,” Fontina said. “It won’t make the property flood proof, but will alleviate many of the problems.”
The committee decided to go forward with assigning Hall to work on the project in conjunction with Fontina. Once the two have decided on the best route to take on the project, the committee will again review the situation and decide whether or not it will take next steps in repairing the roadway