Residents from the Poudre Heights subdivision showed up at the Windsor Town Board meeting Monday to ask why the town didn’t do more to help them after floodwaters closed access to the subdivision from 7th Street for more than two weeks.
Prior to taking comment from the homeowners, town staff recapped the flood’s recent impact, and the history of projects floated to address the drainage issue at the corner of 7th Street and Eastman Park Drive.
In 2011, the town board authorized a study to look at ways the town can mitigate impacts from flooding. The study called for elevating the sides of an outlet box on a nearby irrigation lake to stop the river from backing up into the lake, as well as installing a culvert system for 7th Street to facilitate drainage. Town Manager Kelly Arnold said the Poudre Heights Homeowners Association raised the sides of the outlet box, but the culvert project was never pursued because Water Valley developer Martin Lind was concerned that the culvert would impact Water Valley’s flood conveyance system.
Staff presented a possible new solution to explore — expanding the existing Eaton Ditch to reroute water back to the Poudre River at a point east of where it currently collects at the intersection into Poudre Heights. If the ditch expansion is determined to be a viable solution, the town could attempt to have it complete in time for next spring’s runoff season.
Poudre Heights resident Debbie Essert said she wasn’t convinced that rerouting water through an expanded Eaton Ditch would solve the problem. She asked the board about the public safety implications of closing access to the subdivision and also asked why the town hadn’t done more to communicate with residents during the closure.
Mayor John Vazquez said that while access to 7th Street was closed by a barricade, emergency responders would have driven around it to take the quickest route to the subdivision.
“If at any time, any individual’s property was ever threatened… we will send truckloads of people, sand, resources. We make that available,” Vazquez said. “I look at it like, if I look at somebody swimming in a lake, and they’re not calling for help, I’m not going to assume they’re drowning … If you don’t call, we assume you guys are OK.”
Poudre Heights resident John Boyle said the Eaton Ditch solution feels more like a Band-Aid than a permanent solution. Other residents brought up concerns about increased traffic trying to turn left at Colo. 257 and Crossroad Boulevard during the 7th Street closure, as well as drainage pipes in the neighborhood getting clogged with debris.
Board member Kristie Melendez said Poudre Heights is in her district and offered to attend HOA meetings to keep the lines of communication open between the residents and the board.
Arnold said town staff would study the Eaton Ditch solution to see if it would be feasible and try to move the effort along as quickly as possible.