Chandalar South residents raise flooding concerns

Chandalar South residents expressed concern about possible construction on an 11.82 acre property off of Dalton Drive that could cause flooding in the neighbordhood. The land is currently covered by natural growth, slowing and absorbing rainwater runoff, and protecting homes from flooding. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

Chandalar South residents expressed concern about possible construction on an 11.82 acre property off of Dalton Drive that could cause flooding in the neighbordhood. The land is currently covered by natural growth, slowing and absorbing rainwater runoff, and protecting homes from flooding. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—The possibility of a new construction in Pelham’s Chandalar South neighborhood has recently raised flooding concerns among the area’s residents.

Residents of Chandalar South became aware of the situation several weeks ago when homeowners on Dalton Drive and Chandalar Lane noticed surveyors on an 11.82-acre property behind their homes.

The property on Dove Ridge has sat vacant, save for power lines, and the natural state of the land has protected the neighborhood’s homes from flooding. Trees, leaves and shrubbery slow and absorb rainwater runoff, safeguarding homes along Dalton Drive, longtime Chandalar South resident Claude Peacock explained.

The 11.82-acre parcel of land is currently zoned R-1, for a single-family home not a multi-family development, but residents fear any changes to the current state of the land could severely impact rainwater runoff and create flooding problems for the neighborhood.

“We don’t need another problem with flooding, we’ve had enough problems to that effect,” Peacock said, estimating more than 300 homes and families could be impacted if Dalton Drive were to flood and become impassable, as Dalton Drive is the only way “in or out of Chandalar” for many.

The Chandalar South community brought the situation to the attention of City Council during a May 19 work session and addressed it again during a May 29 Homeowners Association meeting with Mayor Gary Waters.

On May 28, Waters confirmed he had met with the owner of the 11.82-acre property to discuss the plans “to build a single family dwelling up there,” and during the May 29 meeting, he reassured Chandalar South residents the land would “never be subdivided.”

“This is a very controversial issue,” Waters said. “I’m concerned about safeguarding your way of life and the things that are near and dear to you.”

But Waters also expressed the need to balance the rights of the current homeowners with the potential homebuilder’s “rights as a property owner.”

Waters explained in order for the potential homebuilder to receive a building permit, he must first meet four criteria. He must present proof of ownership of the 11.82-acre property, a letter of permission to build from Alabama Power, two stamped architectural plans and an engineer’s drainage plan for the property.

“The drainage plan will have to show the property can contain its own storm water runoff without infringing on other’s (properties),” Waters said.

During a May 28 phone interview, Waters noted plans show access to the home from a driveway off of Chandalar Lane, not Dalton Drive, which could serve as a “water bar,” and potentially help to slow down water runoff.

“I beg your patience until he shows up an meets the four criteria,” Waters said. “(These plans) are very cursory, very primitive.”