Flooding Not Caused By Shoppes, Engineer Says

Two township residents are still wondering where the water is coming from.


Residents once again went to the township committee meeting Monday night to speak further about flooding issues in their neighborhoods.

Although some key questions were answered, many still remain unclear.

Barbara Rivera, of Adams Street, has put more money into her home than she cares to think about. For the past year, she and her husband Dave have been trying to recoup some of their money. She’s hoping all it took was Monday night to steer her in the right direction.

“I want the $30,000,” she said.

The $30,000 she is referring to is through her flood insurance policy’s Increased Cost of Compliance.

Her home sustained damages that totaled more than 50 percent of its value during several floods over the years. But since her home is so over assessed, she said, she needs a letter from the township stating the damages were in fact half of her home value—or else they can’t get the money owed to them.

Rivera said she was getting the runaround from the township’s construction office. Township Administrator Frank Locantore said she could draft a letter for her.

That part is done, Rivera said.

In late 2011, her home was raised and there’s been no major flooding since. She’s remaining an advocate for other residents in similar situations such as Shannon Arnold, a resident of Fairfax Drive, who spoke to township committee at a meeting last month.

Arnold was also at Monday’s meeting again asking the township for help in contacting the state. But she’s still not happy with the response.

“Why isn’t the township backing its residents more?” she said after the meeting.

Both women feel as if the Shoppes of Cinnaminson are the cause of their flooding woes.

“We’ve flooded more since the Shoppes went up,” said Rivera, who moved into her home 10 years ago.

Fred Turek, township engineer and superintendent of public works, at the meeting read from the stormwater management report for the Shoppes.

“The bottom line is it (the Shoppes) have been designed properly according to state guidelines,” Turek said. “The rate of flow has decreased.”

Where the water has exactly been coming from —well, both women would like to know.

Stay with Patch as we bring you more on this story.

FbS February 05, 2013 at 11:36 AM
I was there.. These people did a fine job at presenting their situations and it looks like they did their homework.. Hope it works out for you guys :)
Ric February 05, 2013 at 01:07 PM
If I were a resident of that area I would be skeptical of the engineer’s findings and get a second opinion. I am sure Mr. Turek is a fine engineer but he did say that the Devon Road Bridge was fine just a few months before it partially collapsed and had to be replaced. Errors in judgment do happen. Maybe a fresh set of eyes, ones not connected, to the township will notice something. I am not an engineer but that driveway connecting the Shoppes to Cinnaminson Avenue sure looks like a sluiceway to me.
John February 05, 2013 at 06:11 PM
@Ric, U have to believe that when it rains the water goes downhill, do not know how this Engineer can say its not happening...I know that the Willow street has a problem when it rains, the water collects in my front street and its causing the road to buckle up and the water stays there until it seeps into the ground....The road has a crown in it and the water collects in the street, oh well thats life in this town...I hope you got to look at the taxes from 1967, no mention of school taxes but now we have to pay 60% for the schools...great fun right....have a great day....
Snatch February 05, 2013 at 06:42 PM
Pay me $100k a year, and I'll tell you whatever you want to hear. Gee… it flooded this much before construction… and now it has doubled since construction. You really don't have to be an Engineer to figure out where the extra water is coming from, but I guess you have to hire one to dispute it. Nice job Twp Committee… I really don't want to pay for those people's problems anyway…….
John February 05, 2013 at 07:14 PM
Wow the joke is on U, your paying taxes right, so U are also paying more than U should for assessments too...How do U think these guys get paid thru our taxes and if they are not correct and U fight the assessment U pay also.....do not know if the engineer gets $100k a year, or is that some number U came up with....wake up and smell the coffee...
Nunz February 05, 2013 at 08:17 PM
I'm an engineer. Water does run downhill, but when you design a site like the Shoppes, you have to put in a storm water collection system. When the water runs downhill, this system (inlets and drainage pipes) collects it and transports it to several basins throughout the site, where eventually it seeps back into the ground. I have not seen the plans, but if all of the water collected from the site is in fact going to these basins, and not into the Twp drainage system, then Mr. Turek is correct, and the site could actually be taking water that used to run into the Twp system and letting it infiltrate through the site's basins (hence the decrease he mentioned). Also, Cinn Twp (and by proxy Mr. Turek) did not design the site. The engineer that did had to certify the plans himself. If the design ended up to be inadequate, then that engineer would be liable. The Twp would have no problems going after them (trust me, it's happened before) for damages. I enjoy seeing the phrase "you don't have to be an engineer..." because most of the time what comes next, you actually have to! I do however hope these nice ladies get what they need from the Twp and can get this worked out. Insurance should pay regardless of where the water comes from...that's why you have insurance!
FbS February 05, 2013 at 08:59 PM
I too am an Engineer Nunz, and deal with this on a daily basis. You are correct. Mr. Turek did not design the system. The info at last nights meeting was about a full storm water report by an independent Engineering company who determined that the storm water system at the Shoppes was indeed correctly designed as per the State regs.
Ric February 05, 2013 at 11:19 PM
Nunz, I am sure we are all can feel assured now that an anonymous person claiming to be a "nice" engineer has cleared the township of all liability. The "nice ladies", as you call them, want the flooding stopped. I am sure Mr. Turek is a fine engineer; but, his track record is not perfect. He cleared the Devon Road Bridge months before it partially collapsed on a township garbage truck. Like with every profession, engineers do make mistakes. I again recommend that the neighborhood hire an independent engineer to diagnose the problem. Perhaps the township could offer to pay for the fees of an independent engineer chosen by that neighborhood. This is a township problem as it affects much of a neighborhood.
Bruce February 06, 2013 at 12:45 AM
@ John, It costs nothing to appeal your assessment...I just had my assessment dropped by $50K....all you have to do is apply!...The township has already stated we're over assessed (110%)...That's why they're going through the expense of a re-evaluation next year....Oh and for you engineer guys...I guess nobody ever thought of using the new porous asphalt...that requires no drainage system...and ice doesn't build up on it in the winter!...it just costs more...
John February 06, 2013 at 01:47 AM
@Bruce, from what I have read from another article the part time assessor is fighting the re assesssment and is going to pay $200,000 for the appeals, yes I know about reassessments when my wife died 3 years ago I went to our assessor and got an appeal but how many people realize that they are over paying there taxes b/c there houses are not at market value....
Ric February 06, 2013 at 02:22 AM
@Bruce, did you apply for your reassement on your own or use a service? I recently got a mailer from ValueAppeal offering their services for $159.00 but it seems like they will actually do little at all.
Phil February 06, 2013 at 02:36 AM
I still maintain that the development in Centerton in Mount Laurel at the headwaters of that branch of the Pennsauken Creek has more to do with downstream flooding then the Shoppes. Also, I noticed this morning driving on New Albany in Moorestown that the Pompeston that flows along then under further into Moorestown had more water in it then I've seen so stuff just seems to be filled more then normal lately.
John February 06, 2013 at 05:05 PM
@phil, well the water is coming from somewhere and the flooding is not going away so someone should help the property owners in the area that floods and not give them a problem with paper work nor other problems....We pay taxes for our TOWNSHIP to help and all we get is LIP SERVICE....This is not the movie MONEY PIT, where does it end.....
Barb Rivera February 06, 2013 at 06:31 PM
Please know that I am one of those "nice ladies" that also has common sense. Water runs downhill! I live where the flooding has gotten much worse since the construction of the Shopping Center. I LIVE through it, dates and volume speak the truth.
John February 06, 2013 at 06:44 PM
@Phil, part of the problem is that people do not take into account the water run off and how the water did run and was absorbed by the tree and wetlands...One of the big problems is that in todays society they want more ratables and the zoning people look at the plans and say ok that looks good...The rivers were here alot longer than we have been and to top it all off how much FREE LAND is there now....I think not much....We are a society of tax and spend and we do not care unless it directly effects our pocket books....I still think that part of the water problem is from the shoppes at cinnaminson...where does the water go from the run off....there is not collection basin that I can see and the flow of water goes down to cinnaminson ave which can help with the flooding but thats only my oppinion...
East Riverton OG February 06, 2013 at 06:52 PM
Perhaps the Patch could call the Hydrology Department at Rutgers and get an expert opinion. From what I recall from my hydrology course: Since both the Pennsauken and Pompeston creeks are tidal creeks, the water that comes in during high tide comes from anywhere upstream in the Delaware river basin. The level of water in the tidal portion of the Delaware River is also being affected by rising sea levels (caused by melting icecaps/global warming).
John February 06, 2013 at 06:54 PM
@Barb, U both have been thru alot and I can only hope that this issue goes away but I must say your better than me...I enjoyed reading the comments from the history of our town and the businesses that were here and have gone...I also enjoyed the 2 tax bills that were uplinked....sometimes I think we should have stayed with the horse and buggy and not overbuild oh well we can only go bye whats happening now....good luck...
Ric February 06, 2013 at 07:49 PM
Hi Barb, I just got a phone call from Ed McMahon on behalf of Carnac the Magnificent. He said, "And now the great seer, soothsayer, sage and former financial adviser to the Greek government, Carnac the Magnificent has predicted that the “nice lady’s” neighborhood will see flooding this Saturday. He went on further to say that there would be no chance of flooding at the “nice man’s” Shoppes. I wonder why?
claudia wagner February 07, 2013 at 03:56 AM
Hi, can someone tell me the area affected by the flooding? Son is looking to buy property off church st on same side of rte 130 as the shoppes. He was told did not need flood insurance, there is a creek right behind his house thanks
Barb Rivera February 07, 2013 at 06:53 PM
Claudia.. Tell him to RUN! Goto another township where the officials represent their tax paying citizens!
Barb Rivera February 07, 2013 at 08:57 PM
Claudia.. Shoppes side of 130 is Cinnaminson Ave, other side is where it turns into Church.
John February 08, 2013 at 04:07 PM
Barb, looks like U now have a name for the FEMA Contact....of course he has to be a resident of the town....hope this goes better for U, not to thrilled with the weather for U good luck....
John February 08, 2013 at 04:09 PM
I think Church st ends at 130 and the shoppes is next to cinnaminson ave good luck and tell him to make sure of the FLOOD ZONE and do not go to the township for advise b/c they do not know what they are doing except tax and spend....
John February 08, 2013 at 04:10 PM
Did U break the track record yet?????? Snow blower ready??????
Cindy Pierson February 09, 2013 at 10:21 PM
I am interested in finding out who paid for the voluminous engineering report from Langan Engineering that Mr. Turek talked about/showed us at the meeting. It was a very favorable report, saying all the right things - However, if the developer of the shopping center paid for it, of course it would be favorable. And if Langan Engineering did the planning and/or installation of the stormwater management infrastructure, the report would also be favorable - they wouldn't give themselves a bad review. I have no doubt that the state stormwater guidelines were followed and standards met, however, as is often the case, meeting the basic minimum performance standards is just what it says: basic minimum, and doesn't necessarily take into consideration the specific peculiarities and situation of every site. And on a semi-related tangent, does anyone else wonder why we have a township engineer who makes a very nice salary, but also gets paid for engineering services billed to the township in addition to that salary, and why we have to use the paid services of outside engineering firms for things like site inspections and the Devon Road bridge? I am sure that our engineer is completely qualified or he wouldn't be our engineer, so is there some legality that says we need outside engineering assistance, or is our engineer too overworked or spread too thin to handle the engineering needs of the township? I mean no disrespect, I'm just wondering.
Cindy Pierson February 09, 2013 at 10:33 PM
Perhaps these links might be helpful - http://njwrri.rutgers.edu/ ; http://njwrri.rutgers.edu/homeowner_resources.html ; http://water.rutgers.edu/Stormwater_Management/Default.htm ; http://water.rutgers.edu/Stormwater_Management/SWMIYB.html - the additional links on this last page are especially interesting. I have worked with Dr. Chris Obrupta from the program, and he has always been most knowledgeable and very helpful in all of our interactions.
Barb Rivera February 10, 2013 at 03:39 AM
@Cindy.. Are we allowed access to review that book? I am very interested in the pipe that goes down Clay Street. They stated it was partially blocked so my neighborhood would receive LESS water. I Seriously Doubt that as we have been flooding more frequently and the water is much deeper.
John February 10, 2013 at 05:00 PM
@Cindy, your not disrespect anything all your doing is asking what he is doing to get paid besides drinking coffee all day....Its like our part time tax assessor.....he throws a dart for the assessments and we are now paying way over the market valeu of houses


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