Hampstead Storm-water Problem Refuses To Run Off

Homeowners Fear They'll Be Held Liable

August 25, 1991|By Cindy Parr | Cindy Parr,Contributing writer

HAMPSTEAD — Despite earlier attempts by a local developer to solve the problem, a Hampstead community is plagued with a storm water management dilemma.

Residents of Small Crossings are concerned about a drainage area that has become an eyesore in the development at Fairmount and Upper Beckleysville roads.

Residents are especially concerned that the homeowners association may be responsible if any nearby houses -- not located in the development -- are damaged.

"We are trying to get some help in regards to the problem we are having with our storm water management drain inSmall Crossings," said Steve Harmon, president of the homeowners group. "We want to find out who is responsible for the damage this drainis causing.

Residents from the community expressed their concernsat Hampstead's town council meeting Monday night.

Hampstead officials said the drain was approved by county inspectors in accordance with Maryland regulations and was designed to handle the storm runoff for the community's 93 single family homes, duplexes and town houses.

But the system has been insufficient in handling the runoff that carries storm water and debris from the town's newest development, the residents said.

"We are concerned about the possibility of future litigation," said David Thompson, vice president of the Small Crossings homeowners association.

"Right now our neighbors on Fairmountand Upper Beckleysville roads (outside the town limits) are being affected by the runoff from this drain. The water runs into an inadequate sump area which overflows into somewhere between four to eight neighboring yards causing flooding and dragging all sorts of garbage onto their property."

But Martin K.P. Hill, owner of the Masonry Contractors Inc., the developer, said this week that none of the residents of Fairmount or Upper Beckleysville roads has complained.

"I don't know where these people get their information," Hill said. "I havecontacted a couple of the people downstream of the site concerning the runoff and I have not yet heard a word.

"If there is or should be a problem, our track record proves that we address them. I am not inaccessible."

The homeowners group said Hill did make improvements to the storm water management pond that the stream empties into, but problems still exist.

"Marty Hill checked into the county requirements and apparently found that there were changes that needed to bemade," said Thompson. "He followed through by renovating the storm water management sump extending its size by a large amount."

Jim Piet, an employee of Masonry Contractors Inc., attended Monday night's meeting and said his company had been back to the drain site several times to remedy the situation.

"We have been out there on three different occasions," Piet said. "The pond was rectified. The runoff, which is one of the issues, is a post-development problem.

"Water has always run through the area -- even before we started the development. It was a natural drainage area that was inspected, certified andapproved."

But concern remains because of the continuing overflowand who would be responsible for any damage caused to neighboring property. The cause of the problem is both the outflow from the storm water management pond when it drains and runoff from parts of the development that don't drain into the pond.

For Bryan Harrison, who moved to Small Crossings over two months ago, his primary concern is maintaining the drainage area and its unpleasant results.

"The stormwater management drain runs adjacent to my property," he said. "I started to notice the problem over the last two weeks. There is massiveweed growth and stagnant water infested with mosquito larvae. I wantto know who is responsible for maintaining this area."

Mayor Clinton Becker and town councilman Arthur Moler told the residents their first step would be to review the approved building plans, which willshow what was approved for construction.

"I can tell you that whoever's property it is on is responsible for the maintenance," Becker said. "If it's your property as a homeowners association, it's your responsibility."

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