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PN’s River Park Estates residents worry about drainage issues

PORT NECHES — In the shadows of River Park Estates where homes are in excess of $300,000 and lawns are meticulously manicured is an underlying problem that even the residents did not expect when they made their homestead.
With every hard rain comes standing water that does not go away for days on end. And with the rain and standing water comes mosquitoes.
Temporary fixes such as cut-throughs, drain pipes and French drains where a trench is filled with gravel or rock and a perforated pipe added can only do so much.
Now comes the Jules II Addition which will be at the extension of Lee Avenue at Block Street and connect to River Park Estates. With the new subdivision comes further concern that the run-off water originating at the back of Woodcrest Elementary School will then be diverted to onto their property compounding on the current issue.
Vicky Thompson, Trent Cobb and Jim Arisco, who live in River Park Estates, are just a few of the residents voicing approval of the subdivision but not for the forecasted drainage issues.
“This subdivision is a great idea, however, approval should be conditional of a water/drainage plan for this particular subdivision,” Arisco said during a preliminary plat hearing at Port Neches City Hall recently.
Arisco and others contend when their subdivision was engineered there was already a poor drainage system that was not addressed. But they don’t blame the city or the school district for the issue, just the original engineer on the project.
Last week City Council approved the preliminary plat which, City Manager Andrè Wimer said, is just that, preliminary.
“The approval of the preliminary plat simply means conceptually the plan process can continue to move forward recognizing there are outstanding issues identified by staff that need to be addressed,” Wimer said.
One possible solution — but not a fix — would be for Port Neches-Groves Independent School District to grant the developer an easement in which to address some of the drainage problem.
The group, along with developer Chris Street and Soutex engineer George Newsome, addressed PN-GISD trustees on Monday asking for an easement be placed at the school property. The issue was made during patron presentations and not for discussion or approval by officials.
Some of the River Park Estates told trustees of pools of standing water in the back of the school and of how students cannot play outside at those times due to mosquitoes.
Cobb and several others showed video and photos of the water on their property.
“We have French drains and I even installed a sump pump,” Cobb said. “Anything you can do to help move the water away will be appreciated.”
Newsome, a “proud 1957 graduate of PN-G,” said development can move forward in two ways; allow the water to run down Block Street or be granted an easement for an underground pipe in back of the school as a way for you to get the water off your property.
Should the district grant the easement it would be at no cost to PN-GISD and would help all parties involved, Street said.
“There are two ways to do this,” Street said echoing Newsome’s comments. “Let the water run down the street or the other way which will help the home owners. It’s won’t alleviate the problem but it will help. I’m happy to help, we just need an easement and it won’t cost the school district any money.”
A number of residents brought their drainage concerns to Port Neches City Council in 2013 and learned the original drainage followed the natural flow prior to development was placed between 707 and 713 Neches Oaks, according to minutes from the meeting.
E-mail: mary.meaux@panews.com
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