APOPKA, Fla. – Residents at Clear Lakes Estates said flooding has been an ongoing issue in their neighborhood and they are pressing Apopka City Council to do something about it.
Venus Griffith lives in the community and attended the council meeting Wednesday night.
“We demand answers,” Griffith said.
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She demanded council members find a way to stop Clear Water Lake from overflowing onto her property, as well as her neighbors’ properties.
“We work hard for that home, and we try to keep it up,” Griffith said. “To see my backyard in standing water like that, I can’t even sit outside to enjoy the lake anymore.”
Apopka City Engineer Richard Earp gave a presentation about the flooding at the lake, which is at the center of Griffith’s community.
City officials said they are working with St. John’s River Water Management District in hopes to find the root cause of the rising land locked lake.
Earp said land locked lakes usually don’t overflow after heavy rainfall, but residents feel soon enough if the lake continues to overflow their properties will be consumed by water.
“We’d have to have equivalent of five hurricanes back-to-back with no recession to hit that level,” City Councilman Doug Bankson said.
Griffith felt Bankson undermined the seriousness of the situation.
“No one is qualified to tell us that we have to wait for five hurricanes in order to have my house under water,” Griffith said.
Apopka city officials do not have an answer as to how to solve the problem.
“If anyone has some idea that’s feasible that we can explore we’d be happy to, but right now it’s a land locked lake. It’s raining a lot, we’re not aware of anything we can do other than wait for that situation to get better,” Earp said.
Earp said the issue does not warrant an emergency permit though – since the homes are six feet above the current lake stage.
Councilman Nick Nesta encourages a proactive approach rather than a reactive one.
“We’re waiting for an emergency permit to damage somebody’s property and then we’ll get a permit. I’d rather not get to that point,” Nesta said.
He said in the short term the issue needs a bandage.
“The answer I don’t like is we have to just wait for nature to do its thing,” Nesta said. “We need to do something.”
City officials are hoping to recruit volunteers from the University of Florida to study the lake.
In the short term, they said they will provide sandbags to residents who want them.
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