Scott residents voice concerns about flooding

Published Aug 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm (Updated Aug 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm)

Scott residents who experienced extensive flood damage during storms this past July attended the Scott Township Commissioners’ Aug. 13 workshop meeting hoping to hear answers to their questions on flooding issues.

After opening the meeting, board president Tom Castello introduced Jeff Howard of the Howard Agency, the municipality’s insurance provider. Howard described how the flood claims process worked and commented that for most cases, the heavy rains were the cause of the flooding in the township. Since the township is not liable for weather events, many claims were denied.

Howard recommended that homeowners consider purchasing insurance coverage for sewage overflow or backup and flood insurance through FEMA.

After Howard’s presentation, Berkwood Drive resident Dennis Morecroft said, “I am frustrated.”

Morecroft’s retaining wall, which he had built to direct storm water off of his property, collapsed during the July 10 storms. He told the board he had a swale on the side of his property that directs water onto his yard and asked who owned it and was responsible for it.

Morecroft said he need detailed information about who owned what and what he was allowed to do to help correct the flooding problem on his property.

Castello recommended that Morecroft speak with Howard and file a claim, saying that the insurance carrier would ask the type of questions Morecroft had.

Megan Owens of Ryan Drive experienced over $30,000 worth of flood damage and can’t stay in her home because of contamination. She told the board she had contacted FEMA about purchasing flood insurance, but was denied since her home wasn’t in a flood zone.

They told me I would need a letter of map amendment or a letter of map revision said Owens.

Owens, who has owned her home for eight years, and whose claim for damages was denied, said she has discovered that her home has been flooded five or six times during the last 30 years because the storm sewer can’t handle the run-off. While she realized that the township couldn’t control the weather, Owens said that since the municipality was aware of the problems with the sewer, she thought her claim fell under the exceptions to governmental immunity.

Beth Tomasic of Berkwood Drive also experienced $30,000 in damages. She said that in prior years, catch basins in the area had been vacuumed, but she hasn’t seen that done this summer.

At least six other residents spoke, all with similar situations related to flooding.

“It’s a huge issue,” commented Castello. “For every five people who are here, there are 10 not at the meeting.”

Castello said that township officials needed to look at the big picture, asking, “How much money do you want to spend to solve these problems?”

Commissioner Bill Wells said the biggest investment most people make is their home, adding that he thought the flooding problems should be addressed before the township added new parks.

Commissioner Stacey Altman suggested, “Why don’t we come up with a plan to tell Larry (Lennon) a way to start?”

Contacted after the meeting, township engineer Larry Lennon said, “At this point the only thing I will be preparing is a “prioritized” listing of surface runoff related flooding problems that have been documented over time. I would expect that the Board would take some time to mull over the listing and possibly request that we perform some degree of engineering analysis. At this point we are a long way from conceptualizing solutions etc.”

Too many buses?

In other business, residents of Orchard Spring Road wanted to know if there was a way to reduce the number of Port Authority buses traveling their street.

Lori Lang told the board that 60 Port Authority buses, many empty, travel Orchard Spring every day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. She said there are times when the bus drivers will beep their horns for residents to come out and move their cars.

While acknowledging that it sounded like there were an excessive number of buses traveling Orchard Spring, Commissioner Wells said that the Port Authority needed to keep the 38C route operating for Greentree Road riders going to and from Pittsburgh. He commented that public transportation is a valuable asset, especially for the infirm or elderly.

Orchard Spring resident Barbara Hopkins rides the bus each day and agreed with Wells that public transportation is a valuable asset, but said the number of buses on their street each day was “ridiculous”.

Commissioner Craig Stephens, an Orchard Spring resident, said he spoke with state Rep. Dan Miller, D-Mt. Lebanon, about the problem and Miller told Stephens he would talk to Port Authority officials about it.

comments powered by Disqus