Homeowners across Middle Tennessee worry fast development is contributing to flooding

Across Metro, News4 heard several complaints from homeowners during the March floods about water never coming onto their properties.
Updated: Apr. 29, 2021 at 12:35 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - What usually stays in its creek bed, left behind distribution when it washed into Monette Young’s Brentwood home on March 27.

“The garage was flooded. I mean, my freezers were upside down. Things were floating, in about 30 minutes,” Young said. I was holding a top against the door to try to keep the water out, and it pushed me back and it just flowed into the house.”

Despite the estimated more than $100,000 worth of damage, this house, isn’t in a flood plain.

For the six years they’ve lived here, they never thought they needed it.

“We’ve never had any issue. We’ve watched the water rise, but it always runs smoothly out and across to the other side of the street,” Young said.

The only thing the Young’s say that’s changed in the six years they’ve lived here is the clearing of the land for future homes next door.

“They cleared all of the trees. There were no additional modifications made for stormwater. And I’m POSITIVE that’s what cause my house to flood,” Monette’s husband Alan Young said.

It’s a familiar story for Greg Estes in South Nashville.

“There’s no accountability at all,” Greg Estes said. There’s so much water, that the water just flows over from this ditch over into the street.”

Right off Antioch Pike and Reeves Road, Estes says the development nearby has led to flooding problems in his neighborhood.

“It wouldn’t be like this in Green Hills?? Or Sylvan Park or West Meade!! So, we want it done properly. WE don’t want a band-aid!! After two years, we want it fixed,” Estes said.

But News4 Investigates did find the same kind of flooding in Green Hills, with neighbors saying too much development was allowed before water retention regulations were in place.

News4 Investigates asked Metro Water Service if they’ve seen a lot of calls from people saying that they’re concerned new developments across Nashville are impacting their home when it rains.

“We have, we have seen calls. And again, it’s so often that people don’t like change in their neighborhood,” Allman said.

Metro Water believes the flooding problems are less about developers and more about mother nature.

“Even in the summertime, if we receive seven inches of rain, we’re gonna have flooding. The streams can’t handle it. Our creeks can’t handle it, and our built stormwater infrastructure is often inundated with that type of rain event,” Allman said.

Allman added that Metro Water Services has inspectors that are constantly making sure developers are following Metro Water’s regulations. Developers who buy lots have to follow strict guidelines and cannot impact surrounding properties.

“I’m not saying that there aren’t cases where we’ve gone out and had to stop a developer from doing something because they weren’t following their plan, and then they were making an impact, and you know, we do monitor that,” Allman said.

Les Capajama is one of the developers whose developments are being blamed for causing flooding.

“Well this is all red, chirpy dirt. You know, water over there was gray gravel,” Capajama said.

He’s the owner and general contractor for the project and what will soon become Payne Road Estates. Capajama says the water running into the street’s not coming from the development he is working on.

Instead Capajama points to a tree toppling over for clogging the gutter and flooding the road.

“The guy that bought this property, he’s already put it under contract with me. He’s a really good builder, he does everything by the book,” Capajama said.

But the families say there must be a common theme, as they are all in different neighborhoods with the same problems.

“Nashville is growing, and it’s beautiful, and it’s a wonderful thing. But to think about what’s going to happen to other people, to other homes, is everyone else secure? Those are the things to think about and you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Young said.

Metro Water says they recently refined the ditch along Reeves Road and Goodwin in South Nashville.

Andrea Fanta with the Nashville Mayor’s Office released a statement on this matter.

“Mayor Cooper’s team works closely with Metro Water Services on this issue. All new development in Davidson County must meet stormwater regulations, and new construction is not allowed to increase upstream or downstream flooding.

The city recognizes the importance of this issue and has dedicated an entire division at Metro Water Services to proactively addressing it. In addition, Mayor Cooper in his latest capital spending plan allocated nearly $20 million to mitigate neighborhood stormwater flooding."

The Developers of the Brentwood location on Granny White Pike issued the following statement:

“We at Urban Development Group are not a fly by night, or just moved to town type General Contracting Development Company in place just due to a red-hot Real Estate Market, We and our families are residences that enjoy living/laughing/loving and creating wonderful housing units for the people who take Nashville as their home, either of the moving in from out of the area, or Nashvillians moving/upgrading or downsizing within the area they live. On to the property development of interest/question , 5610 Granny White pike we had extensive and rigorous Stormwater management application designed/installed onto this development, all being designed and inspected during and after installations. To note as well we had as a mandatory requirement of Metro Stormwater Management office and the permit dept an attached civil engineer to create/design the Stormwater Management installation application, which include several Rain Gardens, Modified French drains, Preamble pavers and culverts throughout the project. All of the above talking points of the Stormwater Management approved applications were not only inspected and approved as aforementioned referenced above, but the Metro Stormwater Management Staff of Inspectors also performed periodic and scheduled inspections to maintain installations reflect what was engineer designed specific for this Development project, and that we met all those requirements which resulted in approvals. On to the storm that referenced this discussion in the first place, I’m not sure if all are aware of the magnitude on the storm that came thru but, I believe some further investigations on the strength and flooding damage caused due to it would behoove all. It was of biblical enormity and out of the scope of normal Stormwater Management specs. in other words, an act of God.

-Urban Development Group, LLC Jeff | Jeremy

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