Pasco neighborhood divided over cost of flood-prevention plan

Article Courtesy of Bay News 9

By Leah Masuda   

Published February 27, 2015

PORT RICHEY -- There’s a plan in place to help a Pasco County neighborhood stay dry when flood waters rise, but the plan's price tag is dividing the subdivision. 
When some residents in Timber Oaks hear the sound of rain it can be a scary time. 

“Many times, for three or four weeks it debilitates households, and it is a problem because emergency vehicles can’t get through,” said Vicki Chellberg. 

Chellberg lives in her parents’ old home that was built in Timber Oaks in 1985. She knows that it sits at the bottom of a basin, so storm water from other areas drains into the community. 

“Parts of the development where streets are underwater, that’s a big problem,” said Chellberg. “We routinely have a big lake that shows up behind our house.” 

However, for those who have been living there for only a few years, they say they’ve never seen those problems. 

Resident Vicki Chellberg shared this photo, which she says illustrates the kind of flooding that comes to her neighborhood whenever it rains. 

“I’ve been here two and a half years and I’ve never seen the water come out of the reservoir,” said resident Chuck Belloise.

The plan to fix what some say is an issue is to create retention ponds on the deserted Timber Oaks Golf Course, which closed up shop in 2007. 

To do this, the county would have to purchase the course at $2.4 million and create an assessment to pay for the purchase as well as creating the drainage. The assessment could go up to $112 a year per household. 

There are roughly 2,000 homes in the subdivision and with the proposed assessment it could raise nearly $4.5 million over 20 years. 

Retired residents Jim Byrne says he already has enough on his plate. 

“You kind of live with what you get from the government hardly, you know, so it’s tight,” he said.

On Tuesday the county commissioners heard from Timber Oaks residents and approved the assessment but not the exact cost. However it doesn’t mean this project is set in stone. Residents can file objections. 

“Personally, no, I don’t want to pay," Belloise said. "I’ve been here two and a half years. I’ve never seen the water come out of the streets or anything."

But those who have a long history in Timber Oaks, they say this work needs to be done. 

Another public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 2. In the meantime residents can file objections.

If the cost for drainage is not determined at the next meeting, the project could be put on hold until next year.