VB homeowner wants city to pay for property damage during Matthew

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Nancy Klein has lived on Churchill Court for more than 20 years. Like so many, she has never seen flooding as bad as during Hurricane Matthew. About four feet of water stood on her street in the hours after the storm.

Two storm drains in front of her property couldn’t keep up — drains the city is aware are in need of an upgrade.

Klein has spent $10,000 of her own money on repairs. Her entire crawl space flooded, and she says that water then came through a wall into a renovated garage. All the duct work under her home had to be replaced, and the walls in the renovated room had to be repaired.

“It was collapsing and of course, the real damage is mold. If you don’t deal with moisture right away, you’ll deal with a significant health hazard.”

Klein doesn’t have flood insurance because she doesn’t live in a flood plain, and couldn’t wait for a FEMA declaration or answers, or she’d be living in an unsafe environment. But, she does want the City of Virginia Beach to reimburse her. She’s filed a claim with the Risk Management Division, but has not heard back. She blames the city because she says they’re aware her storm drains are problematic.

“If the city had done what they said they needed to do, my house wouldn’t have flooded,” Klein told 10 On Your Side.

Back in October 2015, the city held a community meeting. Engineers rolled out blueprints, and showed Klein and others what changes they plan to make to the storm water system. Those plans include widening the mouths of the two storm drains on the street, and replacing an old drain pipe that runs between Klein and her neighbor’s properties. Klein was under the impression the work was set to begin in June. However, the work to the storm drains still hasn’t begun.

“Since they’ve known this is a problem, and it was documented by them, and they came up with a plan that would work and we were agreeable as a neighborhood to work with them on this, I definitely think that it’s not just a haphazard act of God,” Klein said “I’m not angry at the city, but I’m disappointed. I feel like as a resident here for 20 years, I pay taxes for storm sewers. I pay quite a bit of money.”

Drew Lankford with Virginia Beach Public Works confirmed to 10 On Your Side that there are plans still in the works to update the drains and the pipe. He says it was not set to begin in June as Klein and a neighbor thought, but was set to go out to bid in June. Either way, that never happened. Lankford says due to engineering challenges, the plans had to be redrawn, and that takes time. The plan now is to put it out to bid in January, with the possibility of the work beginning in March.

As for whether Klein’s claim would be processed and paid for by the city, that’s up to the risk management division and the city attorney. A spokeswoman confirmed to 10 On Your Side they are in receipt of the claim, but could not say where it stands.