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Longwood neighborhood fears flooding after homeowner blocks drain pipe with concrete

LONGWOOD, Fla. — A group of homeowners in Longwood say they’re at severe risk of flooding after a woman in their neighborhood filled a stormwater pipe with concrete.

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Water remained pooled along Shadowbay Blvd. Thursday, more than 24 hours after a storm system passed through the area.

Currently, the only place for the water to go is back into the air, and local government agencies say there’s nothing they can do about it.

READ: $26 million project to fix flood problems in historic Midway community enters new phase

“It’s going to get very bad very quickly,” one neighbor said.

Normally, rainwater in the neighborhood flows down a drain and out to a retention pond.

However, last month, the homeowner next to the drainage pipe hired a crew to fill it with concrete, escalating a 10-year dispute to another level.

“She believes that we put the pipe in,” HOA board member Robin Rodriguez said. “And so she said nobody gave me authority, and I am going to stop it up.”

Rodriguez said the problem dates back to when the community was founded. The developer separated the houses on one side of the street from the HOA and ran the drainage pipe through an easement in between two of the homes.

Rodriguez provided maps and records showing that the easement and the pipe have existed since the 1980s.

READ: Seminole County begins projects to prevent future flooding after storms

The homeowner declined to be interviewed on camera but said the maps presented by Rodriguez showed a different pipe running underneath her house, even though the pipe was drawn where the disputed pipe sits.

She claimed the pipe used to go under her neighbor’s property, but someone moved it to her land while she was out of the house.

The homeowner couldn’t provide any dates, photographs, or records proving that work happened.

“They’ve taken a shortcut...an inexpensive way through my property without consent, without pay,” the homeowner said. “The truth is that they really need to take care of the drainage system.”

Local government agencies say their hands are tied because the dispute concerns private property.

“It’s frustrating in the sense of getting phone calls and emails from homeowners,” Rodriguez said. “You can’t do anything to allay their fears or to give them any peace of mind.”

READ: FDOT begins work improving Nova Canal drainage system in Volusia County

An attorney told Eyewitness News that because of the easement, no one needs permission to build, repair, or replace the drainage system. They said a judge could hold the woman liable for repairs and any flood damages that occur.

Representatives from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection say their agency is also looking into the matter.

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