High Point residents’ frustration boils over with stormwater system

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- All water flows downstream and some High Point residents are fed up with the effects it's having on their property.

"My biggest concern is that they continue to band-aid different things instead of starting at the head," Angela Johnson said.

Johnson has lived on Country Club Drive for more than 15 years and says during that time the stream that trickles between her and her neighbors yard has created a mess on her property.

"I have trees that have died from seven years of water-log," she said. It presents a problem because she is liable if her trees fall on someone else's property and causes damage.

In the city, homeowners are responsible for maintaining the stormwater path, even if it originates from a city-owned right of way. The city says it's hands are tied with a lot of these cases because it doesn't have jurisdiction over private property.

Johnson claims a big part of her problem comes from a property next door that used to be lower elevation, but the city approved a project to build a home on that lot, creating higher ground and runoff onto her property.

"The city is not gonna take responsibility for the runoff that they caused allowing to build that lot up," Johnson said. Just last week, FOX8 reported on another High Point resident that had a similar issue, claiming a change in the neighborhood landscape created more stormwater runoff onto their property.

"We have a member on our technical review committee that sits in on every project development," High Point Public Services Manager Tyler Berrier said.

Berrier says stormwater runoff is unique, because it runs through private and public property.

"Runoff is not a city utility like water or sewer or a sidewalk," he said,

The city has a Stormwater Improvement Program folks can apply to. High Point will front the cost of the engineering, machinery and labor, but requires the homeowner to pay for the materials.

The city gets between two and three hundred requests for this program every year, and the cost varies from less than $100 to thousands of dollars.

As for disputes between neighbors, when it comes to maintaining the stormwater path between properties, Berrier says there isn't much the city can do.

"The city really doesn't have the jurisdiction to go in and tell that person that they have to do this or that," Berrier said.

If you're a homeowner in High Point, you pay a $4 stormwater tax. That money goes towards the city improvement program and other stormwater related issues. FOX8 has filled out a public records request to learn more about the budget breakdown for city stormwater and are waiting for the city to send that information.