Poudre Heights homeowners upset with town’s response to lingering floodwater
June 11, 2014
Homeowners in the Poudre Heights subdivision have been pumping the water from their basements as they’ve watched the floodwaters rise over nearby 7th Street, where it remains now, weeks later.
Janeen Jydstrup is a homeowner on Riverplace Drive, where floodwaters have forced the closure of the street’s intersection with 7th Street for the past two weeks. She said the closure has upset many of the homeowners in the area.
“This has flooded three times in seven years,” she said. “That’s not OK. (The town) dropped the ball. They let these homeowners down.”
Another Poudre Heights homeowner, Justin Harter, said he was preparing to sell his home when the floodwater came in, forcing him to delay the sale. He said the water hasn’t flooded his basement or caused other damage to his home, but he said some of his neighbors haven’t been as lucky.
“People are pissed off,” Harter said. “We want a solution.”
The water inundated two nearby Xcel power stations, leaving homeowners without power for about 12 hours from the evening on May 31 until early June 1.
Jydstrup said she happened to buy a $500 generator the morning before the power went out, which allowed her to keep her pumps running and kept her basement from flooding. She said she let her neighbors borrow her generator that evening to keep their sump pumps running and their basements from flooding.
“We’re all prepared for high water,” she said. “We know we live in an area where there’s water. Because I didn’t have confidence in Xcel or the town of Windsor to take care of this, I bought a generator, and thank goodness I did that, because at 4 p.m. that afternoon I bought it, the power was out for 12 hours.”
Windsor Town Manager Kelly Arnold said the two Xcel facilities have been problematic for years. He said town staff worked from 11 p.m. Saturday until 4:30 a.m. Sunday to build a berm around the facilities to keep the water out.
Xcel elevated the two electrical facilities impacted by flooding last Thursday, resulting in a planned outage for three to six hours during the day. Arnold said Xcel indicated the work should address the problem for at least the next few weeks, but said he didn’t know if there were further plans to improve the two facilities in the future.
However, Jydstrup said Xcel has dropped the ball too many times for her to have faith that the power problems are resolved.
“We can’t leave,” Jydstrup said. “Somebody has to be here all the time, because if the power goes out, we have to have that generator up and running within ten minutes or that water comes out of the well.”
Arnold said town staff continues to look at the issue of water backing up at the intersection. He said during September’s flood, the water came in quick and then left the area, but this time the water has stayed much longer.
“We’re trying to solve that puzzle as to why things are backing up here compared to the past,” Arnold said.
At one point, the town looked into building a culvert under 7th Street to address drainage issues, however Arnold said town staff was unable to find a way to get the project done after talking with land owners in the area. He said Martin Lind with Water Valley Land Company had concerns about how the culvert would change the floodplain map and the drainage of water to his property to the east.
He said the town is now looking again at the project to see if it is feasible and if all the options have been fully explored.
“We shelved (the project) for a bit, but we’re pulling it back off the shelf,” Arnold said.
However, after three flood incidents, Jydstrup said she has lost much of her faith in the town to protect homeowners in her neighborhood.
“We can prepare and we felt like we prepared as much as we could,” she said. “The Poudre is going to flood, Mother Nature’s still in charge, but this was avoidable. What we were not prepared for was the town of Windsor to not do their job and put in a culvert. And where is the city? We have not seen one city official in this neck of the woods this whole time.”
The Poudre Heights Homeowners Association sent a letter to residents to encourage them to voice their concerns to the town at the upcoming Windsor Town Board meeting on Monday.
“It better be on the top of (the town board’s) agenda, because we are scrambling to save our investments,” Jydstrup said. “It’s not pitchforks and torches yet, but it will be if something isn’t done this year.”