Written by Joe Scotchie Friday, 01 October 2010 00:00
Recently, the Village of East Hills celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Park at East Hills. An East Hills couple is also marking the same anniversary, but for a less pleasant occasion. For the past five years, the Friedman family of Walnut Drive has been struggling with flooding that they claim is coming from property on the park itself.
The flooding, Dr. Robert Friedman said, is due to the fact that when the park was constructed, the land area behind the house was set on a higher grade. Prior to park construction, the Air National Guard site had a heavily wooded land area, a sloped area nearly on equal footing to the Freidman’s back yard. But the elevated grade is causing water from strong rains to flood the back yard and even the house area, the couple said. The Freidman’s first moved into their Walnut Drive residence in 2000 and no flooding, they said, occurred in their first five years there.
The first flood, Dr. Friedman said, took place on October 2005. It caused, he added, up to 5-8 inches of rainwater into his basement.
After that incident, the village, following an out of court settlement, constructed a retaining wall, one separating the park from the Freidman’s back yard. However, the couple claims that there have been no less than 39 more flooding incidents onto their property since then.
The Friedman’s’ feel the wall is inadequate. “The retaining wall just holds water back until it floods the property,” Dr. Freidman told The Roslyn News. “This happens one hour or two after it stops raining. The water rises after the rain.”
And so, the couple purchased a water pump. They also initiated more litigation. “After the first flood, they [the village] were Johnny on the spot,” Dr. Friedman said. “After the wall was built, we felt they didn’t do enough.”
While litigation is pending, the Friedman’s are seeking a temporary injunction preventing the village from draining more water on their property.
The Friedman’s said their main concern is not just monetary damage, but health problems that may arise from slippery floors and especially, from mold accumulating in the basement. In all, the Freidman’s said they only seek to repair their property, their quality of life, and their personal property.
For now, the case is in court and the Friedman’s expect some resolution within a few months. Meanwhile, the village has issued their own statement on the situation.
“Our award-winning designer and landscaper architect and engineering firm has answered the allegations and categorically refuted the Friedman’s contentions,” said Mayor Michael R. Koblenz. “All issues raised are now before the courts and we have every confidence that a fair and just resolution will be reached. Our carrier is handling litigation, and we will not attempt to try the case in the court of public opinion.”