Taking Action

Chesterfield residents say they’re fed up with flooding and debris from county runoff

Chesterfield County

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Homeowners around Holly Hill Lake say the water used to be about 6-feet deep. Now it’s only inches deep. Sand and sediment is building up and it’s leading to flooding in the community.

Homeowners like Paul Moffatt claim county runoff is to blame. “There’s a small island that’s formed over as it comes rushing in,” says Moffatt.

The build-up of sand and sediment leaves the water with nowhere to go.  If there’s heavy rain, the area is completely underwater rising sometimes two feet over the banks of the lake.”

Probably the last 12,18 months it burst its banks at least 6 times, said Moffatt.

The flood has caused damage to Holly Hill Road.  Moffatt told us, “It washes the foundation of the road away. Neighbors say VDOT crews have been out several times to make repairs. In addition, all that runoff brings debris and trash with it. “We got all the bottles, Gatorade, footballs, you name it, it all ends up down here in the lake,” explained Moffatt.

He and others living around the lake say the source of the problem is runoff coming from the development of Thomas Dale High School and other growth upstream.  We’re told runoff from the school’s water basin flows downstream and into the lake. “If this keeps going, it is not going to be a lake,” says neighbor Vaughn Sones.

Sones tell us for years the County would regularly dredge the lake to prevent flooding. He said, “The supervisor told me because of the school construction that was a county problem.”

Moffatt says more recently the county seemed reluctant to help. “It’s been a constant battle,” said Moffatt.  Then this year, suddenly the County said it’s not their problem. In
in a statement 8News we were told:

“Chesterfield County received record rainfall in 2020, which caused localized flooding throughout several areas of the county. While Chesterfield County has been notified of flooding in Holly Hill Lake, the lake is not owned by the county and its maintenance is the responsibility of the Holly Hill Lake HOA and associated property owners.”

 Neighbors says this about face doesn’t make sense. Sones said, “I don’t understand. If it was their problem for at least 15 years maybe 20 why all of it sudden is it not their problem anymore?  The only change I noticed is a new regime.”

Meanwhile the drainage pipe in the lake is now clogged with sand and causing flooding near Moffatt’s driveway several feet away.  “We haven’t had any rain in what probably a week,” asks Moffatt as he points to the standing water around his shed.  Moffatt says, “I don’t see why we should have to pay to remove runoff from public areas. I don’t think that’s fair.”

To add insult to injury, the neighbors tell us their property assessments just went up because they live on waterfront property.  However, Sones stressed if this situation continues there won’t be a lake. “I think I am paying taxes to the wrong board,” he said.

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