Gotha neighbors fight for permanent solution to flooding

Neighbors in Gotha are continuing their fight for a permanent solution to flooding in the area after a study on the issue was presented to Orange County Commission.

Last October, FOX 35 reported on the flooding after Lake Nally overflowed. This year, the flooding issue is not as severe. However, neighbors fear flooding could happen again.

“For the last few weeks, we’ve seen big movement in the lake water. So, another couple rain events, I think we could easily be back to where we were last year,” said Paul Dehart, a neighbor in the area.

Since last year, the Orange County government conducted a $200,000 study to determine what is causing the lake to overflow and what they could do about it. The study was presented to commissioners on Tuesday.

Staff said the study concluded unusual rainfall is the source of the flooding and said nearby development had significantly less of an impact on water levels than rainfall. Solutions presented included excavating additional water storage, adding a recharge well, and pumping excess water. Those solutions would cost millions of dollars.

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Commissioners pointed out that the lake is privately owned as well.

“I’m not sure any of the solutions are easy to accomplish. The dollars attached to all of it are attached to individuals who are private property owners, who appear to be impacted by a privately owned private lake,” said Mayor Jerry Demings.

However, Dehart believes there are other factors, such as development and roadway construction, which contribute to the flooding. He explained that “they talk about this being private property and a private lake but the reality is we feel like other parties have pushed water onto our property and caused this problem.”

Neighbors have obtained legal counsel and their own experts to assist in the issue.

“While we’re disappointed, we are prepared,” said Stacey Dehart. “We have to do whatever it takes to save our homes.”

The County did seem interested in helping the individual property owners obtain grants from FEMA to mitigate the water issues and raise individual houses. The Dehart's said they are not ruling that out and welcome any help they can get.

Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.