ORANGE PARK, Fla. — The Pine Island community in Clay County has a significant problem, and it is noticeable at first sight — street-level flooding.
"We need relief," said Love Christmas.
Love Christmas and Johnny Christmas moved into their Pine Island home in 2012. She said the conditions have never been like this.
"This should not be this way," she said.
Now her property floods easily. Even on a day when there is no rain, to walk across her lawn is to walk in one to two inches of water.
"It is soggy and it is all from the rain we had," Love Christmas said.
She said there is no Home Owners Association and she is speaking up for her neighborhood. It appears that a major contributing factor to the flooding is the Clay County drainage system.
It traverses the several back yards.
Love Christmas measured the depth of the standing water and it is as deep as her frustrations.
"It is about 38 inches deep," she said.
And that is the section of the drainage system that runs through her property, she said it is like that with her other neighbors. It is not isolated.
"Normally the ditch would have about three inches of water," she said.
The community complained to the Clay County public works department in 2018 and the blockage was cleaned. Two years later, the problem is back and it is during the two wettest months of the year, August and September. They're complaining again.
"They've cleaned it in the past but we've put in two orders already to water works and no response," Love Christmas said. "I need the county to clean out the drain."
This the response from the county:
"The Director of Public Works is aware of this problem and has spoken to the homeowners in this area several times over the years. When the home at 4696 Pine Ave. was built in 1993, an 18 inch drain pipe was installed. This area is designated as flood zone A, indicating it is in a wetlands, which is designed to hold water until it can percolate down into the soil.
Clay County Public works is responsible for drainage issues on County right of ways to ensure water from the roadways is drained properly. The County Engineer indicated that the water that is affecting his property is not coming from any County road way. The Public Works Department has cleaned the ditch on Pine Ave in August and did manual grate cleaning on Austrian Ct in April to improve drainage in the area. Both are County maintained roads. The County will go out there again very soon and check the drainage conditions on both of those roads to see if there is anything more they can do on the county right of ways.
Mr. Christmas mentions an easement, however, according to County GIS data, there is no public right of way or County easement behind their property. This is private property, the County is not able to not pay for drainage issues on private property, this would be the homeowner’s or HOA’s expense."