Tuesday, October 16, 2012

They're Not McMansions, They're Starter Castles

I recently received notice that work would begin in my neighborhood to dig up the road and put in huge holding bins or catch basins, whatever you call those giant tanks that hold rain water. This is supposed to alleviate the street flooding. We'll see. Twenty years ago, we paid for curbs to be installed on our street. This was supposed to alleviate the street flooding. It didn't. Why? They forgot to put in more grates for the excess water to go through. Duh. 

So, here's the letter I wrote to the engineer type who is now in charge of this project. His reply follows my letter.


We exchanged voicemails recently regarding the upcoming project on [MY STREET] which is supposed to alleviate flooding problems.

One request -- put extra grates where the terrain is lowest, since it doesn't matter how big the tanks are below ground, if the water can't get into them. It's hard to put a tsunami through the eye of a needle. Or stuff a 500-pound gorilla through a five-pound bag.

I have already learned this lesson the hard way. 

Before the village added curbs on [MY STREET], we had a lot of flooding. Then curbs were added at a cost of $1000+ for each resident on my block. "This should help the flooding," said a resident, who was on the planning commission. It didn't. He was smart. He moved. 

So the street flooding on [MY STREET] has continued unabated for another twenty years. 

Recently, since the village has permitted McMansions with excessive footprints without adequate drainage infrastructure, the floods have been getting worse. With the worst street flood in my 32 years here being last year in July, when the water from the two hour microburst reached the window wells next to the front of my house. In fact, water actually went into a front yard window well, when a car created a huge wave trying to navigate the flooded street. Needless to say, I may be more sensitive to this flooding, since I'm at the lowest point in the road.

This time, please remember to provide plenty of escape routes for the ever increasing amounts of flood water which accumulate on the street after heavy rains. 

So my house doesn't become the holding tank. 

I have already had massive flooding twice via the window wells in back, losing two furnaces and hot water heaters, since the village allowed a 46% footprint, not counting the huge driveways and cement patios, for two McMansions behind me. They were also allowed to raise the grade, which was already at two feet, to four feet, while reducing the length of the backyards by 50%, effectively doubling, perhaps even quadrupling, the angle of the pitch, with only two 18-inch catch basins per yard for the runoff. Not to mention the sump pumps.

So, with all due respect, try not to screw up this one, please. 


Mrs. Linklater

Hi, Mrs. Linklater, 

Your suggestion to add extra grates (inlet capacity) is a correct assessment and already part of the current conceptual plan and will remain a key design element as the project moves forward.

I will also pass along your concerns regarding the “McMansions,” which are also referred to as “starter castles” to the site plan reviewers.

Thank you again for your comments and we hope this helps, 


1 comment:

Jon said...

We can only hope that your intelligent letter opened the small drain grates of their brains.

Many of the cities (cow towns) here in West Texas have no drainage systems at all because it seldom rains. When it does rain, the flooding is horrendous.