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SIDE STREETS: A rising tide of drainage complaints

January 28, 2009
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Sometimes, the lone voice in a neighborhood is speaking for more people than you might think.

For months, Bob Curtis complained long and loud to the Timberview Property Owners Association, or POA, about neighborhood flooding, especially on Loverly Way where he lives.

Since buying his house east of Monument in 2005, Curtis said he has lost thousands of dollars on landscaping washed away in heavy rains. He has spent even more to build berms and retaining walls and drainage ditches to protect his home, Curtis said.

So he began campaigning for the POA to get El Paso County to step in and force the developer, Lon Frohling of Lifestyle Builders in Colorado Springs, to fix Timberview's drainage.

Curtis felt ignored by his POA - dismissed as a crank - so he contacted Side Streets. A call to County Engineer André Brackin produced a promise to meet with Curtis and tour the hilly, wooded neighborhood of $500,000 custom homes.

After the Side Streets report, there was another flood - of e-mails and phone calls from folks in Timberview, and a nearby subdivision as well, saying they, too, are victims of poor drainage in the neighborhood.

Seems Curtis is not a solitary crank.

"A lot of people are getting hurt by this," Curtis said. "That's why it's so important the county come out here and see what's going on."

And he is turning his one-on-one meeting with Brackin on Feb. 4 into a community affair, inviting anyone in the neighborhood to his Loverly Way home to share their concerns.

Is Brackin walking into an ambush?

"This is not intended to bash anybody," Curtis said. "It's only intended to bring about communication and teamwork and solutions."

Among those inspired to speak up was Ron Feign, who lives in adjacent Woodmoor.

Feign said a drainage ditch installed by Timberview wrongly crosses his property line and, worse, causes a raging river when rain falls.

"I've been fighting with the county for over a year in regard to flooding down at my end," Feign said. "All the water from Timberview ends up in my backyard. It washes out our yards because there's nowhere for it to go. They promised to fix it before the spring rains come again. But we haven't heard anything."

Feign has months of e-mail exchanges between his neighborhood advocate, Camilla Mottl of the Woodmoor Improvement Association, and the county discussing the flooding.

"This is a legitimate complaint," Mottl said. "I've been down there and seen the flooding. There's definitely a problem."

Similar stories are echoing through Timberview, and Brackin has agreed to listen to them all.

But he doesn't want them to get their hopes too high.

"I can't guarantee that all these drainage issues will be fixed," Brackin said, explaining that he is waiting for a report from Frohling's drainage engineer, who was to suggest solutions.

But even more problems are surfacing as the meeting date approaches.

The drainage engineer, Jeffrey Jurew of Premier Engineering said Tuesday he is no longer inclined to help Brackin, saying he was insulted by suggestions his original drainage plan was flawed.

"It's not my fault the developer ignored my plan," Jurew said. "I've stopped work until I get an apology."

Frohling, the developer, did not return calls seeking comment.


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