By now you are aware of the unusual weather event we have confronted here in Corolla. We experienced significant flooding throughout the Ocean Sands community. It was caused by 14 inches of rain from late Saturday, July 21 to Wednesday, August 1. Yes, 11 days of rain, which inundated the community, saturated the sand, overflowed the lake, and overwhelmed the Waste Treatment Plant.
We can’t and won’t blame Coastland Corporation for the rain. However, Coastland is directly responsible for continuing to block progress on a permanent flood mitigation system for the whole community after ignoring this serious issue for 40 years. Here are some examples of Coastland’s failures contributing to our on-going flooding problems:
FAILED TO MAINTAIN DITCHES, SWALES AND CULVERTS: It is Coastland’s responsibility, being in control of the Ocean Sands Property Owners Association (OSPOA), to determine what maintenance work is to be done and when. Coastland chose not to maintain the drainage ditches, swales, and culverts in Ocean Sands.
- Coastland appears not to have complied with the requirements of the state-issued stormwater permit for Section O, Ocean Lakes. This may have contributed to the inundation of the sewer plant with floodwater that resulted in raw sewage backing up into several homes in Sections K & P, as well as sewage coming out of the manhole covers in multiple areas.
- It took county contractors two hours to clear the culvert under Ocean Lake Trail (near Pampas Court) in order to run hoses to the ocean. That effort delayed pumping from the HIJO Lake by several hours.
- Coastland did not maintain the culverts under Driftwood, Mariner and Sea Mist in the northern section of Ocean Sands. This contributes to the standing water still on the streets and the swales not flowing.
- Coastland nixed a plan developed by Coastal Engineering a number of years ago to relieve flooding on Sea Oats Court and under the multifamily units in Section F because it did not want to allow discharge in the open space.
- The lack of maintenance of the swales, ditches and culverts have resulted in damage to our roads. Stormwater sitting on the roads has caused an increase in potholes and sinkholes. Many road intersections are crumbling due to flood waters eroding the sand and gravel supporting them. Stormwater also seeps into the many cracks in the roads.
- The major flooding events over the last several years have advanced the “day of reckoning” for road replacement. The OSPOA currently has minimal dollars in the Capital Replacement Fund to pay for this project.
FAULTY COMMUNICATIONS: Coastland had Signature Touch send several update emails that made it appear Coastland saved the day by pumping. In fact, neither Coastland nor Signature Touch had anything to do with it. Emergency Pumping to the ocean is solely the responsibility of the “Stormwater” Service District Advisory Board working with Currituck County. The only thing Coastland did was sign an agreement allowing access for emergency pumping across the open space this one time. Coastland rejected the “hold harmless agreement” presented by the County (drafted by a leading local business law firm), and instead, sent back an agreement it signed, in which it inserted onerous additional requirements. We are at a loss to know how there could be a material loss to Coastland from running hose down streets and over open space.
FAILED TO TRANSFER OPEN SPACES TO OSPOA: Coastland deeded the open space in Crown Point to the Crown Point POA years ago. This has not been done for Ocean Sands! It is unheard of anywhere in the country for a HOA or POA to not have control over its own open space and private roads. There is no valid benefit to Coastland other than being able to exert leverage on other community or county initiatives. OSPOA, with your dues money, pays for the maintenance of open space and roads even though Coastland continues to own them.
FAILURE TO ADVANCE A PERMANENT SOLUTION FOR FLOODING PROBLEMS: You may recall how, last year, Coastland refused to allow access to open space to place test wells and piezometers on the open space and undeveloped areas that were needed to get the hydrology data crucial to the design of a system. The Advisory Board worked around this by finding owner volunteers who allowed placement in their yards. Coastland has sued the County over formation of the Stormwater Service District and has kept the suit pending even though a court has already ruled against Coastland on the key issue – finding that formation of the service district was valid. Conceptual design of a permanent solution, involving wells, pump stations and piping throughout the community with an outlet to the Sound, has been completed. Further progress is blocked until Coastland drops its specious lawsuit and allows access to open space, rights-of-way and under roads. This solution is beneficial to Coastland’s undeveloped properties, so it is hoped that they will get on board soon. Emergency Pumping is not the long term solution for these intense rain events.
Not only is there the property damage to homes, and the economic losses associated with refunded and cancelled vacation renters, but standing water is full of nasty bacteria and causes the mosquito population to soar. It breaks our hearts to watch people march their young kids through a foot of polluted water on their way to the beach.
You may research and learn all the details of flooding in the Short History of Stormwater email recently sent out by the Stormwater Advisory Board. It also is posted on our owner website here: A Short History of Flooding In Ocean Sands and Crown Point
It’s high time that Coastland’s control of OSPOA ends. Continued Coastland control will only bring more negative consequences to owners, as it has for the last 40+ years.
The Governance Committee
Rick, Al, Dennis, Jeanne, Greg, Chris, Jim, Robert
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