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Collier staff admits using private property for Brookside drainage project
Naples News ^ | December 24, 2010 | Sabina Bhasin

Posted on 12/26/2010 11:45:20 PM PST by nickcarraway

Collier County staff has conceded the line was crossed onto private property for an East Naples drainage project that would have directed excess rainfall into the Brookside canal.

So for now the county has pulled the plug on that project and instead made plans to spend $200,000 to alter a retention pond so more water can be stored there and to divert some drainage water elsewhere.

Collier County growth management staff recently informed Brookside residents at a meeting that the Brookside Canal off of Harbor Lane in the neighborhood near the Gateway Triangle is private property, as the residents have asserted.

The project to pump water into Brookside Canal, two years in the making, already has been paid for by the county. However, despite the planning and successful construction, the pump bringing storm water runoff from the Triangle to the Brookside canal cannot be used now.

“(The county) realized they made a major mistake. It is a private canal and they barged ahead doing what they thought they had the right to do,” Joanna Flashman, a Brookside resident, said about the project. “If the county had money right now, they would try to condemn the properties and take the easements by eminent domain.”

The Triangle area is bordered by U.S. 41 East, Airport-Pulling Road and Davis Boulevard. The plan was to route the excess storm water from within the Triangle area across Davis Boulevard to the Brookside canal. At issue is whether the residents retained control to the land under the canal when it was dug decades ago.

County officials believe there is an easement and still are searching for a way to allow them to resurrect the plan.

“It is estimated that the cost to acquire the three easements for the pipe and outfall is approximately $115,000,” Growth Management staff wrote in a memo to U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers.

Mack’s office was contacted about the issue by Brookside resident Mike Joynt.

“Legal (staff) advises that in spite of recent efforts to establish resident ownership of the canal bottom, the ability to convey water over these easements may still exist,” the staff wrote.

But until that is determined, the county staff has recommended that the storm water runoff be pumped into the southern Palm Street drainage outfall, requiring longer and later hours of operation at that location.

Not only would the Triangle water be pumped to the south side of U.S. 41, the county also hopes to extend the retention capacity of the pond intended to collect storm water runoff along Bayshore Drive, across from the English Pub.

The estimated price for the pond expansion is $200,000.

This area is known to flood during severe storms.

County officials weren’t immediately available for comment.

“I think it’s a grand solution and a successful outcome of the whole project, but I don’t know why they didn’t look into the options before it had to go through lawyers and everything else,” Joynt said regarding the communications with Mack’s office. “The county should have looked into it first. I don’t want to be critical, but it wasn’t the proper way.”

The county staff also is looking into extending the already placed pipe from the Brookside canal to a canal at Rock Creek, about 1,700 feet away. The estimated cost for that project change would be about $500,000.

Though the canal pumping issue is closed, at least for now, the county’s troubles with the project may not be over. Pipe already was placed on property belonging to Kimberly Dunn, owner of C.R. Dunn Land LLC, based in Lake Worth.

Though an easement may have existed, it was never included in her deed, explained Larry Ingram, lawyer for the residents. So now, to try to have the pipe removed, which is the county’s obligation since construction occurred on private property, it could lead to a lawsuit.

Despite these issues, however, Ingram said the county cannot necessarily be blamed because this isn’t anything new.

“I wouldn’t say I’m shocked,” he said. “This is a kind of mistake not only county individuals make, even privately owned companies make them. They think there’s an easement when there really isn’t. This isn’t the County Attorney’s fault, either. The engineers went ahead with the project without assessing the legal implications.”

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Extended News; Government; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: floriduh; government; privateproperty

1 posted on 12/26/2010 11:45:25 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

Haste makes waste...

2 posted on 12/26/2010 11:49:27 PM PST by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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To: Smokin' Joe

Kind of an interesting read this morning. I live in PA but I lived in Naples for many years when it was a nice sleepy town and just starting to become a bigger area. I had a big insurance agency on the north trail for about 30 years.

3 posted on 12/27/2010 8:26:18 AM PST by depenzz (Its what you learn after you know it all that counts.)
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