Thursday, July 17, 2003

Couple sue Mason, builder over flooding

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MASON - It wasn't like the sump pump just couldn't handle the water, Peggy Sexton said.

The Union Township woman said that storm-water runoff from a neighboring subdivision has swamped her basement on Cox Smith Road with 6 feet of water, with pressure so forceful it blew out a door.

"We go through flooding to where the water comes out of the creek banks and goes over our bridge ... to the point where you would be afraid to drive across it," Sexton said of the only access to her house.

Tired of being refused help to stop the deluge of storm-water runoff from the Trailside Acres subdivision in Mason, Sexton and her husband, Larry, sued the city and developer Paul Heiman this week for a half-million dollars.

The couple's lawyer, Jim Whitaker, said the Sextons have asked the city for help since 1995. Sexton said city leaders were sympathetic but said they couldn't spend the money to fix a problem that affected two property owners who lived outside the city.

The lawsuit filed in Warren County Common Pleas Court alleges Heiman didn't provide adequate retention basins, storm sewers and drainage pipe.

The Sextons also allegethe city was negligent when it allowed the subdivision to be built without adequate drainage and then permitted Heiman to skirt engineering and building specifications.

The complaint names the city of Mason, its engineering department and Heiman. It asks for $250,000 for damage to the Sexton's land and another $250,000 for damage to personal property.

City Manager Scot Lahrmer declined to comment.

Heiman said he met all of Mason's requirements when he developed the property, and that any improvements needed now would be the homeowners association's responsibility because he turned the development over to it five to seven years ago.


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