'A terrible fear': West Melbourne homeowners fed up with flooding in their neighborhood

Homeowners in one West Melbourne subdivision are fed up with flooding.

Numerous people tell FOX 35 News they’ve dealt with damage over the years, and things aren’t getting better. Now, the water district is telling them what they’ve been doing on their own isn’t allowed, at least for now.

The Westbrooke subdivision has over 500 homes in it with numerous ponds scattered throughout. When it rains, homeowners say the water rises drastically, and people have had water come up right to their backdoors and even inside their homes.

The memories of flooding haven’t left Linda Farrell’s mind as she’s lived through numerous. She’s always in constant fear the next storm could put her home underwater."At the drop of a heavy, heavy rain – we flood," said Linda Farrell who’s had her own home flooded and watched numerous neighbors also deal with the same issue over the years.

These homeowners have been paying for years to pump the water out of the ponds on their own until the Melbourne-Tillman Water Control District found out and told them to stop. "It could impact everybody downstream from them," said Debbie Leclair, the district manager for the Melbourne-Tillman water control district.

Residents in Westbrooke are frustrated with this change and took those concerns to the Melbourne-Tillman board meeting on Tuesday, pleading with the board to allow them to keep pumping. "When we get those good hard rains, people are afraid," said HOA President Helen Voltz. "Am I going to flood? Is the canal going to overflow or the pond going to overflow? That’s a terrible fear to have to live with."

The district says they could be allowed to pump again, but they need to follow their process. "We will be happy to work with them through the permitting process," Leclair added. "It has to be regulated and within district requirements."

The HOA says they’ll apply for those permits but still want to know what will be done to fix the flooding issue and find a long-term solution. "There’s a problem. They’re aware of it," Farrell concluded. "Whoever is not fixing it, they should bear half that burden."

As for what’s next, the HOA has to apply for a permit to pump from both the Melbourne-Tillman and St. John’s River water districts. There’s no set timeline for when those would be approved and homeowners here are just hoping there isn’t a heavy rain while they wait.