The Ross family of Yorkville is frustrated. After 25 years on their quiet suburban street, and after the neighboring Holy Trinity Cemetery expanded in 2001, their property has been periodically flooded, causing a basement wall to collapse and thousands of dollars in damages. The Rosses are not looking for money, but just want the flooding to stop. Pleas for help from local officials were rebuffed at every turn. Their experiences and continuing story have been chronicled at "The Ross Cause". . . . But it was nice to see the story finally get press in the Observer-Dispatch.
Will public attention spur those involved to "do the right thing," or don't they care?
No evidence has been offered to show that flooding was an issue before the cemetery expansion; or that weather patterns have significantly changed after 2000; or that significant changes to land use, other than the cemetery expansion, have occurred since 2000. That pretty much eliminates all explanations for the flooding other than the expansion or, perhaps, a failure of the village's storm sewer system.
The expansion project does not comply with the Village's design requirement that runoff flows not exceed .5 cubic foot per second. Although the Village says that its system can handle the greater flow, it is not enforcing its own requirement. Until the Village enforces its rule and the Cemetery complies, both the Village and the Cemetery come into the situation with unclean hands.
If water backs up into the cemetery and flows across neighboring properties to the Rosses, then the cemetery is not providing sufficient storm water retention to mitigate its impact regardless of whether or not it the Village approved its plans. A nuisance is a nuisance, and the Village has an obligation to its citizens to abate them.
Clearly the Rosses have done nothing to bring this destruction onto themselves. . . . and it is not an "act of God." . . . The situation is caused by the cemetery expansion and the village's failure to address it in a satisfactory manner.
The Diocese of Syracuse (for the Cemetery) and the Village need to fix the problem instead of shifting blame.