Belmont neighbors concerned about frequent flooding

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BELMONT, N.C. — Rainy days aren’t always convenient but the people who live in one area of Belmont dread the rain. Neighbors on Lee Street say their backyards flood even when it rains just a little, made much worse with storms like the one in February. 

They say it’s all because a city storm drainpipe is open, and the water is able to flow freely through their yards.

The city manager told WCNC Charlotte they’re working on a solution.

Every time it rains, the Jennings are left with standing water in their yard. They’re expecting this to fill up again this week. 

It’s a problem they’ve been dealing with for 12 years and they want the City of Belmont to do something about it.

“There is an open storm pipe on Park Drive that opens up and it runs all the city stormwater from this whole block,” Alicia Jennings said. “It starts at the top and runs all the way through our backyard.”

There’s still some standing water left from Tuesday’s rain, but they experienced the worst-case scenario in February. Muddy water rushed through Alicia and Chad Jennings’ backyard during the major storm, strong enough to push down a fence that was cemented into the ground.

They filed a claim with the city’s insurance to cover the damages and just got denied.

“Because it was an ‘Act of God.’ But God didn’t put the open storm drain at the top of the road, the City of Belmont did,” Jennings said. 

Frequent flooding in Belmont neighborhood

She says it may be the most memorable storm, but they’ve been bringing this to the city’s attention for years.

Belmont City Manager Adrian Miller says the city is aware of the drainage issue and they’re figuring out what they can legally do to help resolve it. He sent WCNC Charlotte the following statement:

“The City of Belmont is aware of the drainage issues on Lee Street and Park Drive in the Davis Park neighborhood. Our staff is actively investigating this matter and evaluating causes and potential solutions. We are gathering as much information as we can, including what actions the city is legally permitted to do in accordance with state law, to assist with resolving the drainage issues. The residents of this area have been made aware of everything the city is doing at this time and we will continue to work with them to determine the best course of action.”

He told WCNC Charlotte he feels for the neighbors, but moving the drain could cause further trouble.

The Jennings are prepared to ride this storm out but they’re hunkering down, too nervous to let their three grandchildren play in the backyard because the ground around a massive tree has washed away and they worry it won’t stay standing for much longer.

“We don’t get to enjoy our yard that we pay property tax on,” Jennings said.

They’ve asked the city to fix the fence and take down the tree, but they say they can’t go onto private property to do so. The City Council will talk about this at their meeting on April 6.


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