Shared from the 6/19/2020 The Columbus Dispatch eEdition

Linden’s floods stir new-housing concerns

Heavy rains in March and May led to flooded basements and backyards in neighborhoods throughout Columbus and Franklin County, including the Linden area, where residents of the Kenmore Park neighborhood saw sewage come up through basement drains.

Rayna Morgan, a Kenmore Park resident and local real estate agent, said the basement of a rental property she owns had three inches of water in the basement after the May rains.

Morgan, who also is a North Linden area commissioner, said she fears a 45-unit apartment project slated to be built nearby on Cleveland Avenue and hooked into century-old sewer lines will contribute to more basement flooding.

John Lathram, who leads the North Linden Area Commission, said that project, along with a 100-unit project for seniors planned for Cleveland and Myrtle avenues, might be too much.

“We feel that until this flooding is addressed, that Cleveland Avenue cannot handle any more residents,” Lathram said.

The area commission hosted a virtual meeting with city officials on Thursday to discuss flooding issues and Blueprint Columbus projects in Linden, including rain gardens and pervious pavement that storm water can drain through.

Bruce Luecke is the president and CEO of the nonprofit developer Home-port, which is building both residential projects along Cleveland Avenue, plus five single-family homes near Cleveland and Eddystone avenues. He said that Homeport would not move forward with the projects if sewer capacity is inadequate.

John Newsome, the city’s sewers and drains administrator, said the city analyzes sewer system capacity before developments can tie into the system. The development near Cleveland and Eddystone avenues should pose no issues, he said. The city just received the Cleveland and Myrtle avenues proposal.

Leslie Westerfelt, the city’s Blueprint Columbus spokeswoman in the Department of Public Utilities, said the city plans to install 978 sump pumps in the North Linden neighborhood as part of Blueprint’s plan for the area. As of June 1, the city had installed 184 sump pumps in North Linden.

The North Linden rain gardens are scheduled to be installed between September and January.

The city has put in rain gardens in Clintonville. Some residents of that neighborhood believe that the rain gardens have contributed to basement and backyard flooding there. The city said that is not the case.

Newsome said the city has received more calls about drainage issues around the city in 2020 than the previous four years combined.

Linden residents just want the city to address the flooding.

Nick Eckard moved into his Bremen Street house in Kenmore Park in August 2019. “The previous owner said they had no problems with water in the basement,” Eckard said.

In March, he heard his sump pump running and saw water pouring up out of the storm drain into the pump.

Eckard called a plumber, who arrived while three other plumbing trucks already were on the street. “The storm sewer was full,” Eckard said. In May, when the area received 4 to 5 inches of rain over two days, his basement flooded again. “It’s 2020. We have had hard rains before. It’s not normal,” Eckard said. Nick Bankston of the city’s Department of Neighborhoods said engineering studies show there shouldn’t be sewer-capacity issues. “We’ve had some historic rainfalls the past couple of weeks,” he said. “They overwhelmed the storm sewers.” Lathram just wants to make sure the city resolves the flooding issues. “I realize that this is not going to be a problem solved overnight,” Lathram said. @MarkFerenchik

See this article in the e-Edition Here