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LMT Officials Stand Firm on Resident's Request for Flooding Buyout

The residents who came in front of the LMT BOC pleading for matching funding to attain a federal FEMA buyout of their properties in Ancient Oaks on Spring Creek Rd were denied the request.

The residents who came in front of the Lower Macungie Township board of commissioners pleading for matching funding to attain a federal FEMA buyout of their properties in Ancient Oaks on Spring Creek Rd were denied the request. 

Read more here

One of the residents returned tonight to ask for a explanation. She broke down at the podium.

The Commissioners rationale was they did not want to set a precedent for other residents to come to the township for flood funding. 

My issues with this decision was two fold. A precedent was already set by a previous board. Secondly, this attitude is basic burying our heads in the sand that development in LMT has affected the flood plains.

I met and visited with one of the families making the request a few weeks ago. They purchased their home in 1996. PRIOR to the building boom. Now I have lived next to this river for almost my entire life of 33 years. And yes, it always flooded. The difference now is the frequency and rate it rises. Don't tell me that development hasn't affected the flow rate. 

It's important to note that not only did the greater building boom happen after but a specific example the Wal-Mart was approved in 1999 and built shortly after. I firmly believe that the Wal-Mart swale (that floods out Spring Creek Rd. after most major rain events) is a major contributor to our flooding issues. The backflow is a significant cause of flooding upstream of Mill Creek and Spring Creek Rd. As most township residents can attest and have seen first hand, the waterflow across Spring Creek from Wal Mart and other points into Upper Macungie Township north of Hamilton Boulevard resembles a raging river during floods.

It is unfair to blame these residents for "purchasing flood prone property" when the sprawling development that our leaders have allowed for 2 decades have largely contributed to this problem AFTER the residents purchased this home. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Robert Sentner November 04, 2012 at 02:22 PM
All of the complaining and bickering, is not going to fix the right here and now problem, of having a community that gets constantly flooded. Its the lack of leadership at a municipal level that has got us into this problem and the ONLY way to fix it is to elect forward thinking, rational people to govern our communities. What do we have now in LMT a group of commissioners that have taken there eye off the ball, the people of LMT are what makes the community. And they need to be protected from the cubic $$$'s of get rich commissioners, developers, and corporate box stores. LMT residents need to be vetting people to replace them NOW.... start working on that. Then you will have the power to change your destiny.
Susan Bieber November 05, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Scott: Why do you feel it is not reasonable not to contribute to the buyout?
Scott Alderfer November 05, 2012 at 02:52 PM
@ Susan - If I was a commissioner (and, no, I am not running), I think I might have voted differently than these guys voted. All I'm saying is that I think the rationale, of not wanting to set a precedent) that the BOC presented for not helping the homeowner with her FEMA/PEMA buyout was logical. Having said that, however, I think a court might feel that previous board have already set a precedent that the current BOC cannot walk away from. But until an affected homeowner tries to sue the township over that precedent and over the gross negligence of the Board of Supervisors of 40 years ago for allowing building on the floodplain, I think the current BOC is within its rights to try to say they are avoiding a precedent in helping homeowners with buyouts.
Michael D Siegel November 06, 2012 at 10:16 PM
I would cordially invite all who want to know the history of stormwater problems in Lower Macungie, to email. I will be gald to talk to talk to you and others as I did with the LMT EAC last month. On a separate note, I did have the gumption to put my money and time where my mouth was and fought and dam near beat Walmart in an environmental lawsuit concerning the river you now see on Spring Creek Rd. I was the expert witness for the creek but it took the testimony of more than three engineers to beat me down. The final outcome only proved me right all along. Even the Environmental Judge came out to site- never does this by the way- and said he did not see a problem with the flooding. Blinders on for sure. Michele K-- Ron does a fine job of getting to the point-- the point being that stormwater and flooding are a major problem and expense for this township. You have no idea but I can tell you its well over a half million dollars a year. To bash him is one thing, doing your trolling exercises only makes you look stupid. Step up to the plate and volunteer your services to the township rather than complaining. I have -- where are you?
Susan Bieber November 15, 2012 at 07:33 PM
I've become what I call a Bingacholic and as I was binging I came across Storm water act 167. Quite right about the blinders! Do they think it's a coincidence that (since the construction started somewhere around 2000) our houses have been flooded 3 times? Is it also a coincidence that the creek has lost about 2 feet of it's depth? Is that not doing harm to the environment and the people as stated in the act?

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