Storm-water debate deserves public input

Freedom Newspapers

Numerous Clovis residents are unhappy with the city’s storm-water management solutions. Particularly unsettling are the trash- and weed-collection points, euphemistically known as retention ponds, that are championed by Clovis Public Works Director Harry Wang.

Those voices will be heard and we urge you to join them, even if you favor the present methods. The issue is the topic of a study session with city leaders Thursday night, after the regular City Commission meeting. The study session should begin about 6 p.m. at the Clovis-Carver Public Library’s North Annex.

Commissioner Cathy Haynes has helped spur the storm-water debate and wants public input. We applaud her effort.

As she stated via e-mail, the study session evolved out of vocal foes to the city’s management solutions: “It is apparent to me that a lot of citizens are unhappy with the development of retention/detention basins for the
following reasons:

• safety;

• mosquito infestation increases the possibility for West Nile virus;

• and the basins are unattractive and can easily become an ‘eye sore,’ trash catcher, etc.”

We would add this worry: When water does collect in a city-mandated pond, how long will it be before a child wanders into one and drowns? That isn’t a scare tactic. Look at how steep many slopes are on these holes. Imagine how hard it would be for a young child or toddler in trouble in to escape from a muddy pond.

Haynes continued in her e-mail: “… Are there other ways to deal with the occasional flood waters that could occur? I have been asked by numerous citizens to revisit the (city) ordinance and look for other possible solutions for storm-water management … I invite you and anyone you know who is interested in finding a different
solution for storm-water management to come and give direction to the City Commission as to what your wishes are.”

She expects Wang to make a presentation at Thursday’s session, followed by one from a developer. Wang believes the ponds are ways developers should pay for drainage issues that the city faces during those rare moisture downfalls that move from rainstorm to gully-washer to toad-strangler, and back to parched land.

Developers and others argue the safety concerns aren’t addressed when such rainfalls occur, thus the cost of business is needlessly higher for the private citizen.
After those points are aired, public comments will be welcomed.

Retention ponds are a pragmatic and an emotional issue. They involve questions of public health, individual safety, private interests and, as usual, your tax dollars.

We encourage anyone who cares about this matter to fill the North Annex seats and share your views.