Gotha residents affected by flooding gain attention of county leaders

GOTHA, Fla. — Gotha residents who said their homes have been flooded by runoff are finally beginning to catch the attention of county leaders.

"Our property values have impacted significantly," said resident Paul DeHart. "No one wants to buy a house that has a history of flooding."

DeHart spoke to Channel 9 Tuesday on behalf of all the residents dealing with similar issues.

"We have homes under water and if you have known about this and have been working diligently on this, then you've allowed homes to flood and that's very disappointing," DeHart continued.

Stacey DeHart said she is both disappointed, but somewhat hopeful after hearing Vice Mayor Betsy Vanderlay say she'd be asking state agencies and local government to do a thorough examination of the area to figure out what's causing small bodies of water like Lake Nalley to continue to rise.

"We weren't given any definitive plans, next steps or time frames," said DeHart. "I specifically asked what is the time frame - they had no ideas on that."

The county's stance has been that the issue is a private problem since it regards private lands and private lakes, but residents argue the problem is overdevelopment and highway expansion.

Channel 9 discovered Orange County had a potential solution since 2007 that would have cost around $400,000.

"It is disappointing to think that 15 years ago and fifteen months ago, this was brought to you and you had a feasibility study done and you didn't want to run with that," said DeHart.

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Steve Barrett, WFTV.com

Reporter Steve Barrett returned to WFTV in mid-2017 after 18 months in the Twin Cities, where he worked as Vice President of Communications for an Artificial Intelligence software firm aligned with IBM.