Palm Coast homeowners fear flooding as new homes are built higher

Other homeowners say their properties have flooded after new homes built

PALM COAST, Fla. – Where will the water go?

It’s what people who live next to a construction site in a Palm Coast neighborhood want to know.

Neighbors say the single-family home is being built several feet higher than their property, raising the risk of flooding.

Crews are not breaking any rules, because News 6 found out there is no cap for the base height of a home in Palm Coast.

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After we reached out to the city, we learned that could change.

It started with a pile of dirt, but the concerns kept piling up for Mara Wuerth.

Her initial reaction when she saw the house: “I better call the city,” Wuerth said.

“Flooding and property values,” are her biggest concerns, she said.

Paul Fink lives on the other side of the construction.

“I have a six-foot fence. That house, the top of the roof. Looks like four feet higher. That’s absolute insanity. And we’re not in a flood zone. There’s no need for the house to be so high,” Fink told News 6.

Worth and Fink say they contacted the Palm Coast city officials multiple times with calls, emails, and even trips to city hall.

“We’ve all talked to the head of stormwater and engineering. She admitted it’s too high. Her head inspector said it’s too high. Then I said, ‘well, you guys agree it’s too high, then why did you let them?’ You know, because there’s no regulation as to how high you can go,” Wuerth said.

The city confirms to News 6 its technical manual states finished floor elevations must be a minimum of 12 inches above the crown of the road, but there is no maximum requirement.

That’s something the city says it is reconsidering.

Palm Coast Vice Mayor Ed Danko says he’s talked with the city manager and staff, and they are investigating.

“It violates common sense to me,” Danko said. Where’s that water going to go? It’s going to go somewhere. This structure is three feet higher than the neighboring yards so that water drains downhill,” Danko said.

The city sent News 6 the building and drainage plans for the construction project. We confirmed, there are plans to build two berms and swales in the back and side yards for drainage.

Danko isn’t satisfied.

“I want to know how this became legal and what I can do to stop it from being legal in the future,” Danko said.

Until then, Wuerth and others who have similar concerns about drainage are pushing the city council for results.

Several showed up for a council meeting this week.

“I have something in common with everyone here, I live in Palm Coast and my home and yard are flooding due to overdevelopment,” one homeowner said to the council.

“There’s so much building in the city and we appreciate that. We’re not against that. We need more regulation and enforcement,” another person said.

City officials say putting a maximum height for a house’s elevation is being discussed and they say their technical manual for building is under review, according to Brittany Kershaw, Director of Communications for the city.

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About the Authors:

Emmy Award-winning reporter Louis Bolden joined the News 6 team in September of 2001 and hasn't gotten a moment's rest since. Louis has been a General Assignment Reporter for News 6 and Weekend Morning Anchor. He joined the Special Projects/Investigative Unit in 2014.