2013-06-13 / Front Page

Officials working on deal to abate Rossmoor flooding

By STELLA MORRISON
Staff Writer

MONROE — Township and Middlesex County officials are working on an agreement designed to allay flooding in the Rossmoor adult community.

Township Council President Gerald W. Tamburro said during a June 5 meeting that a tri-party deal involving the township, the county and Rossmoor will be pursued to address the problems.

“It all depends on the tri-party agreement,” Tamburro said, responding to a question from Rossmoor resident Virginia McGinnis about the status of flood mitigation. He said Rossmoor’s board is interested in pursuing the agreement, “and once it is executed, we will then work on a design.”

Residents of Rossmoor have faced flooding problems in recent years, particularly during Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011 when the Cedar Brook overflowed. Rossmoor owns the brook, which runs through the development. The community co-owns Cedar Brook Pond, a 4.5-acre body of water on the edge of the property, with the neighboring South Middlesex Industrial Park.

Tamburro told McGinnis that representatives of Rossmoor met with a group of officials the prior week to begin discussing solutions to the flooding problem.

“It was decided that there would be a triparty solution to the problem,” Tamburro said. “[The Rossmoor] engineer is responsible for doing the design work with Rossmoor, and the county will deal with issues on [bordering] Applegarth Road. We are waiting for those agreements to come back.”

For the short term, Rossmoor has lowered the water levels in its pond to alleviate flooding. McGinnis called for lowering the water levels in the pond by 40 percent, saying this would help control the velocity at which the brook flows through Rossmoor.

However, temporarily lowering the pond levels is not a permanent solution. Monroe Business Administrator Wayne Hamilton said obtaining permits to lower the ponds for the long term will be a “Herculean effort, if they would even be issued.”

“One of the concerns about lowering the ponds is that there would be extensive, long-term time delays in getting a permit, if you could even get them from the [state] Department of Environmental Protection,” Hamilton said.

McGinnis said she would contact Gov. Chris Christie’s office regarding the complications with flood relief, and said that she has worked at length with state Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-Middlesex) on a permanent solution.

“The other night, when it was pouring, I was up four times in the middle of the night to see if water was coming into my house,” McGinnis told the council. “You have to understand that to live that way is horrible.”

Contact Stella Morrison at smorrison@gmnews.com.

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