I have been a resident of Matthews for the last 20 years living in the same house. I have not made any changes to my property other than to keep it up and looking good. A few years ago a greenway was built alongside a creek that runs adjacent to my backyard. Over the last year, my property has begun flooding. Lately, it does not seem to matter if it rains or not. The flooding kills my grass and flowers, and makes a giant muddy mess. Who is responsible for the damage to my property? Grass seed is not cheap and I cannot stand the mess of the never ending mud.
– Grumpy Gardener
Dear Grumpy Gardener,
The creeks alongside the greenways typically, if not always, lie in a floodplain. This means they are prone to flooding, especially with the large amount of rain we have had in the last year. The amount of rain received in the last year has saturated the ground to the point the water has no place to go, according to my sources. However, the flooding could also be caused by a number of external factors such as a broken sewer line or water line somewhere nearby, erosion, construction of a new neighborhood somewhere along the creek, or even a beaver building his new home in form of the ever-damaging dam. None of which are your fault, but all of which cause you agony and money.
In order to determine where to go with your complaint of flooding and whether there can be any assistance or relief to correct the problem from a third party, the first thing you must do is identify precisely who owns the property adjacent to your backyard. If you determine the property is owned by Mecklenburg County, which is what I suspect, then you must first contact their Risk Management Department.
This department has a direct line to call to request an evaluation of your complaint. Mecklenburg County wants to be good neighbors to property owners and will assign someone to investigate and evaluate your concerns. If the cause is a beaver downstream, they can fix that by arranging to move the beaver’s new home (and maybe Mr. Beaver). If it is a broken water line, they will direct you to the right department at Charlotte Water, and so forth. If it is simply the result of the excessive rainfall that will be your issue to contend with since creeks lie in floodplains.
At a minimum, at least understanding who to speak with will help you begin to determine what is causing the flooding, and who is responsible for any damage it caused. This may help you save money by telling you whether it is worth buying grass seed this spring. I wish you the best of luck in your investigation.
Mecklenburg County Risk Management: 704-336-3301.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is general in nature and not to be taken as legal advice, nor to establish an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Laura H. Budd or Weaver | Budd, Attorneys at Law. Submit your questions for The Fine Print to: firstname.lastname@example.org.