COPLEY TWP.: In the aftermath of last week’s storm, Copley officials are seeking long- and short-term solutions to the chronic flooding.
In the short term, the township service department is placing 40-yard capacity dumpsters in strategic locals "to help residents dispose of damaged goods until it's all done," Copley Service Director Mark Mitchell said during the Board of Trustees meeting Monday evening.
Mitchell also said affected residents should contact him so he can submit their losses to the Summit County Emergency Management Agency. He received trustees approval to place that information on a Copley Circle sign where their meeting dates are usually posted.
However, in the long term the issue is clearing out area storm ditches.
Because the ditches belong to Summit County and not Copley directly, the township needs permission to clean them.
Trustee Helen Humphrys said she asked for and later received the backing of fellow Trustees Scott Dressler and Dale Panovich to submit a resolution to Summit County Engineer Al Brubaker and to Summit County Executive Russ Pry allowing Copley to clean out Summit-owned storm ditches in flood prone areas without county authorization.
Until then, Trustees recommend the Sunny Acres Road residents, who were present at the meeting, contact Brubaker about cleaning out area county storm ditches.
Those residents expressed their concerns with the substantial losses and potential fallout from insurance companies.
Resident David Burton said flood waters destroyed the family room, garage and cellar in his Sunny Acres Road home. Last week’s storm marked the second time since 2005 and the third time in 16 years storm water damaged his home.
When Burton arrived from work about 4 p.m. that day he said he found four feet of water in his house. Insurance will cover some of his losses, but the question is for how long if the flooding can't be stopped or at the very least alleviated.
"Our insurance companies aren't going to keep taking this, Burton said. "That's the problem."
Burton’s neighbor Faye Nicholson, whose home was also flooded, got one more piece of bad news. Her insurance company declared her 2001 Honda Accord a total loss after she unsuccessfully tried to move off her driveway before the floodwaters hit.
"We lost everything," Nicholson said.
Nicholson said when she called Brubaker, she was told ditches do belong to Summit County, not Copley. She added she doesn't want to blame any group, she just wants the problem fixed.
Trustees indicated in past discussions county officials said the problem is money.
"They claim they don't have the money," Humphrys said.
Despite the challenges, Mitchell praised the response of service department crews. "I'm very proud of them for how they acted and responded," he said.
Panovich also said she was impressed on how police and fire fighters "stepped up to the plate" in the crisis. "You all did a wonderful job. I can't say enough," she said.