The flooding that makes Butterfly Court in Seven Lakes West impassable during heavy rains is a perennial and long-unresolved problem. Over the years, among the most persistent and passionate advocates for Association action to correct the problem have been Priscilla Snee and her late husband Jerry.
The recent spate of storms brought flood waters to Butterfly Court, and Priscilla Snee to the microphone during the Public Comment segment of the Seven Lakes West Landowners Association [SLWLA] Tuesday, June 26 Board meeting.
But, before addressing the floods, Snee had something else on her mind: a perceived lack of respect paid by the Association to families mourning the loss of a loved one.
Paying Proper Respect
For many years, the names of recently deceased residents have been posted on the entrance bulletin board of Seven Lakes West. But the Board of Directors recently decided to move those notices to the scrolling electronic message board in the new Westside mailhouse.
Snee, whose husband died in January, said revising information on the electronic board was time consuming, inefficient, and unacceptable.
“I have spoken to many people that do not see the obits posted on the scrolling message board,” she told the Directors, asking what happened to the original and, in her opinion, more respectful method of announcing a loss in the community.
SLWLA President Jack Stevens said the change had been decided and voted on at a meeting in the previous year.
“We have removed the death board,” Stevens chuckled.
Snee, who had handed over the microphone after completing her comments, quickly retrieved it.
“I object to that comment,” she said. “I lost my husband in January, and no one acknowledged me from this Board,” Snee said. “Many neighbors did acknowledge his death. It made me very unhappy when residents would say to me that they did not know that Jerry had died.”
Responding to Stevens’ use of the term “death board,” Snee added: “We are born. We die. It is ridiculous to say it is unappealing to see that on the board. It is life.”
Eighteen Years of Flooding is too Long
Flooding on Butterfly Court has been a problem for nearly eighteen years, Snee told the Board. She explained that up to two feet of water can collect on the road, making it impassable.
“After seven years of expressing our concerns, we were told they would try to resolve the problem,” Snee said. “A small pump and a drainage pipe were installed. It did not resolve the problem.”
The recent heavy rain of six inches in less than twenty-four hours left residents stranded.
“The flooding on Butterfly Court was totally impassable,” Snee told the Directors. “There was no possible way to drive down that road. I had emergency prescriptions to fill. I called Jack [Stevens] and he said to me we shouldn’t have bought a property in the flood zone.”
President Stevens recollected differently: “I didn’t say that to you. I said Butterfly Court is in a flood prone area.”
Stevens also noted that he would be limited in responding to Butterfly Court concerns during the meeting, because “this matter has been handled at an attorney level.”
Should Dues Cover Expense
Stevens explained that the flooding problem on Butterfly Court had been professionally researched and a plan presented. The Association would require the residents in the immediate flood prone area to cover part of the expense.
Stevens then said to Snee, “You can go on forever discussing that.”
Jim Christner, a neighbor of Snee’s, took the floor.
“I understand the plan or offer was made to split the cost. If you look at a rational approach, I see no reason why residents should have to pay for proper drainage. When I moved here, my understanding was my dues would go to upkeep of roads, lakes, and the community. I reviewed the bylaws and I don’t see where I am responsible for paying out of pocket for drainage.”
“Every time it rains it is not the end of the world, but there are several times of year when it does flood completely. Eventually something will happen and we will be left sitting here saying some action should have been taken,” Christner concluded.
Time for Action
Resident Steve Harris shared Christner and Snee’s concerns. Referencing the engineering report that Stevens had mentioned, Harris said, “I have spent a lot of hours trying to deal with these issues on Butterfly Court. I do think it is a serious issue, and people should be working toward some goal to make it better. The idea of people on that street paying for the repairs is not going to happen. You are not going to get the fourteen residents to agree on that.”
Harris then suggested a plan with a timeline that would address and correct the flooding. “I do urge this board to seriously consider taking some action on that problem and to make some progress in the direction of solving that problem. There does need to be some effort made. It could be a very dangerous situation at some time.”