Residents of the Thousand Oaks subdivision in Trinity complained Tuesday to Pasco County commissioners about flooding Tropical Storm Debby brought to their neighborhood and urged them to find ways to keep their homes dry.
“Why was this allowed to happen?” said Cortney King, a teacher who lives in Thousand Oaks. He arrived at the meeting with a cadre of other residents.
Commissioners listened and indicated they wanted to see if there is a speedy solution.
“There’s just got to be someway that we can cut to the chase and get the dog gone job done,” said commission chairwoman Ann Hildebrand.
Thousand Oaks has flooded in the past, but Tropical Storm Debby dumped a historic amount of rainfall on West Pasco. Residents complained to county commissioners that of flooding that came up to their properties and into the homes of neighbors.
Dredging the wetlands could provide some relief, said public works director Mike Garrett. The wetlands are at a higher elevation than the subdivision’s ponds, Garrett said. When the ponds overflow, the water can‘t drain into the wetlands.
The county has poured $2 million in the area over eight years that included a report that floated proposed fixes to flooding problems.
The county requested to dredge the wetlands in 2011, but the Southwest Florida Management District denied the maintenance exemption that the county sought to complete the work, Garrett said. The next level is the Army Corps of Engineers, which is hard to get approval from, he added.
County officials are going to meet with the Southwest Water Management District Monday for some talks, but they haven’t submitted a formal application for dredging yet. Garrett saw hope in the fact that Swiftmud has new management.
King said water did not come into the house, but that some houses saw as much as 4 inches of water inside. His wife Kimberly said it came up to the King’s garage and that there were impacted residents who were too emotional to talk.
The Trinity Oaks subdivision is near Thousand Oaks and also has had flooding problems. Ron Levi, president of Trinity Oaks property owners association, lent his opinion, too.
“We need to put the pressure on someone to get something done,” he said.
Commissioner Jack Mariano wanted to explore moving forward as soon as possible and dealing with regulators later, but the county attorney advised against it.
Pasco County Administrator John Gallagher said the county staff was going to look into the options and see what can be done. He advised the impacted residents to form groups to represent their causes in future discussions.