Since 2007, much of the town’s flooding conversations have centered around the Noroton Heights business district.
But on Monday, it was Intervale Road residents who pled with the Board of Selectmen to take action on an engineering project that would help them.
Charles Judge told the board he’s lived in town since 1983 and never experienced flooding until the big storm in April 2007.
“It was the storm of the century, but we’ve gotten one every year since then,” he said.
Judge said because the street’s drainage system in front of his house is unable to handle the water overflow, he needs to have 40- to 50-pound sandbags on his property at all times.
“Whenever it rains, I have to go across my driveway and block the water. If I don’t, I flood out all the yards,” he said.
Another Intervale area neighbor, Cindy Brown of Devon Road, talked about flooding being so bad on her property it lifted her family’s minivan up and turned it sideways.
Brown said during the recent storm she could see the flood waters rising, and in a panic, called the town to find out she was on a waiting list for response. Brown said she called the fire department, and it responded immediately, helping to mitigate the rising water.
Neighbors said they were “sitting on a time bomb,” and it wasn’t fair to the neighbors to have to come home early from vacation or suffer anxiety every time it starts to rain.
In 2008, a Flood Mitigation Committee presented its findings and estimated costs to the board to resolve flooding issues in the wake of the towns 2007 flooding problems.
Included in those solutions was a flood mitigation project in the Intervale Road area, which would cost just under $1 million.
That project has been on hold pending funding by the town.
Neighbors pleaded with the board to expedite the project soon and said it should be a priority.
First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said much of the increased flooding problems are due to an aging town infrastructure. Selectman Dave Campbell said the problem with the drainage in the Intervale area is well-known.
An earlier project in Baker Woods was scrapped when the current Republican majority of Stevenson, Campbell, who initially served as first selectman, and Selectman Jerry Nielsen took office in 2009.
The Baker Woods project, at a price tag of $6 million, including taking down hundreds of trees to flood it to help mitigate Noroton Heights flooding. The controversial project was one of the hot topics during the election of 2009, and at the time, Campbell said his opposition to the project, which many opposed, was one of his reasons for running for the top office.
Last summer, Selectman Callie Sullivan, a Democrat who opted not to run for office again in 2011, revisited the Baker Woods project, but the GOP remained against it. The board approved several flooding recommendations in the summer of 2010 recommended by the Flood Mitigation Strategy Committee. One of those recommendations was the creation of a new board, the Flood & Erosion Control Board.
That board remains in limbo as the Representative Town Meeting continues internal review and discussion of whether or not the town needs another board.
The selectmen opted to put the Intervale Road project on an upcoming meeting agenda to discuss its future.