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Twp. Engineer to Study Fairview Ave. Repairs

Leon Hall will be capped at $1,500 for analysis done on flood-prone area.

The Washington Township Committee has assigned the town engineer, Leon Hall, to examine the flooding problem on Fairview Avenue after residents said their home had been overtaken by water nine times in the past decade.

Cecile Marie and John Howard, residents who own a home at the corner of Fairview Avenue and Naughright Road, . 

The residents claim that over the past decade they’ve spent about $1.5 million on home and property repairs.

Marie and Howard, along with their attorney and engineer, had to be done to correct the flooding problem on the road.

The low spot of the roadway would need to be raised four feet, engineer David Fontina said.

But because the road belongs to the township, it is up the municipality to make the fix, according to the residents.

The governing body decided Monday night it would be prudent for Hall to meet with Fontina, and come up with a best solution to possibly fix the roadway, divert the overflow water from Stony Brook, and keep the integrity of the homes in the area.

Time, however, is of the essence, in more ways than one.

In a matter of four weeks in 2011, Washington Township was struck by , a 8, and another on Sept. 28.

With storm season just a few months away, the project needs to be complete as soon as possible, Marie says.

The project could cost upwards of $50,000, according to Mayor Ken Short.

The committee decided, however, if Hall was to analyze the situation and make recommendations, there would need to be a cap on his work time. That cap came in the form of a $1,500 limit on Hall’s pay for any engineering studies he conducts.

. That cap gives Hall just over 11 and-a-half hours of available work time for the project.

“There’s information out there that I think we still need to know about,” committeeman David Kennedy said. “I’d like to hear a more specified solution, and maybe even move some of the rocks (causing the problem) in Stony Brook.”

“Hopefully the engineers will be able to come to an agreement, and fairly quickly,” committeeman Tracy Tobin said. “It’s a two-part problem, with the brook and the roadway. Hopefully the engineers can come to a common ground.”

After spending her own money on an engineer, however, Marie was frustrated that the township’s final say would be coming from a different professional.

“If you’re putting a cap on (Hall’s) time, I want a cap on (Fontina’s) time,” Marie said. “What’s the point of having (Fontina) if (Hall) is going to make the final call?”

“I don’t think Leon making the decision is the case here,” committeeman Jim LiaBraaten said. “He’s going to be advising us, since he’s the professional, not making the decision.”

Hall is being assigned to the project immediately, Short said, and the committee hopes to have guidance to work with prior to next month’s work session meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, May 16 at the .

Allison April 18, 2012 at 08:31 PM
I don't think it's that difficult to understand why it floods - Stop granting variances for people to build on a steep slope. Streams flood during the height of a storm not hours/days afterward as rivers do.
cecile marie April 18, 2012 at 09:08 PM
My frustration was with the statement that made it sound like Leon makes the decision and even if four other engineers disagree, they will go with Leon's. The fact Leon Hall's original recommendation to stop the flooding was to install a 10" high curb rather than fill in the low spot. The amount of water coming off the road is much higher than that. We hired no less than four separate engineers to be sure of what we were requesting, and I trust their opinion and studies more than Leon at this point. The topographical study (paid for by us) clearly shows the low spot and the fact it is 3 feet lower than Naughright Road and the bridge across the Dry Brook, leaving no where for road drainage to go but our house. How would you like a pouring spout dumping excess road water onto your property? The drainage is completely inadequate and damaging to us. I repeat - we are not and never agreed to be a drainage ditch for the township. I was also offended at the suggestion a partial "fix" be tried first. What? If our home gets flooded yet again - then do the complete fix? Who is going to pay for the next rebuild of our home? As to responsibility I would ask other residents if they are responsible for the paving, maintenance, drainage, and safety of the road in front of their home? We are not asking the township to pay for the rebuild of our home or all the flood mitigation required to our home and property, just the road.
Joseph Keyes April 18, 2012 at 10:48 PM
I don’t think much can be accomplished in 11.5 hours by Mr. Hall other than reviewing the more comprehensive study conducted by Mr. Fontina. Mr. Hall probably had an agreed-upon rate with the township, but these are our neighbors looking for a solution to a serious problem. Why can’t this 130.00 per hour rate be adjusted in this case? Any thoughts?

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