Thursday, July 17, 2003

Fairfield group to meet on flood woes

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

FAIRFIELD - A group of residents unhappy with council's response to their flooding concerns will meet today to look at options.

The community room at Lane Public Library has been reserved from 5-9 p.m. for residents to discuss what action they will take, said Mark Todd, a Banker Drive resident whose home has been flooded four times in 17 years.

This week, council members told residents it will hire a consultant to make recommendations about what could be done. Any recommendations and a proposed timeline will be presented at council's July 28 meeting, said Councilman Ron D'Epifanio.

But some residents say they aren't satisfied. Those who spoke out last month after the June 14-15 flood last week received an eight-page response to their concerns they say is inadequate.

"We're getting the runaround with council. What they told us the other night was what they told us a month ago and it was nothing. This time something will be done. It won't be swept under the rug," Todd said.

That's not so, D'Epifanio said.

"We'll keep them informed step-by-step. We have some ideas but we're waiting to see what the report says. We're starting from scratch," D'Epifanio said. "When it comes to safety and well being, we'll find funds."

Brenda Godby said she would push for whatever it takes to put council's focus on the flood issue, including a referendum to stop construction of a justice center.

"What I hope will happen is they hold off on building the justice center until they take care of us," said Godby, whose Palmetto Drive house still has no walls or carpets a month after the last flood. "They keep building and building. We've got to do something."

Resident Arnold Engel, who has run for various local and state offices, obtained a certified copy of the soil-boring ordinance, apparently the first step in the referendum process.

Fairfield Law Director John Clemmons said a successful referendum would stop the justice center from being built at the old Kroger store, but it wouldn't mean it couldn't be built elsewhere.

Todd said a referendum is not the only option the group will consider. He said the first step is agreeing on what needs to be done, and telling council what could happen if nothing is done.

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