It was flooding that was never supposed to happen again, or at least not happen again for a long time, Randol Mill Road business owners and residents east of Loop 820 said.
These residents said they have been arguing with the city about two new housing developments — Trinity Oaks, which is being constructed by D.R. Horton, and Oakridge by LGI Homes — scouring the landscaping on the hill above them for months.
The last flooding the property owners dealt with happened earlier in September and they were assured the unusual amount of rainfall the area experienced was an oddity.
And those residents reported that on Friday, scores of city workers descended on the area to mitigate the flooding, with no result. The torrent of water that deluged the area Friday evening was as bad as it has ever been.
“After the rain event last week some small logs washed into the ditch and the city said that this was the problem,” Julie Amendola, who owns Trinity River Farm Equestrian Centre, said Saturday. “We moved those. This last rain event that happened last night I did not believe it would be so bad. But it was worse.”
Amendola, who has about 20 horses on her property said the new housing developments construction is sending water downhill that is flooding the high ground where she once relocated animals and equipment to keep them safe from flooding.
Amendola described the water rushing down Randol Mill Road as looking like river rapids and said land that was once safe is no longer a haven. Two horses were injured Friday and are suffering after trying to navigate her rain soaked property, Amendola said.
“We can take care of our animals but we cannot pursue any of our moneymaking activities,” Amendola said. “Half of our property has been taken away from us.”
The pleas from residents have reached the ears of City Councilwoman Gyna Bivens, who is asking for a moratorium on construction until a pathway forward that protects people and their property can be hammered out.
Bivens said a meeting between the developers and city staff to try and find a solution will happen soon.
“We need a pause,” Bivens said. “We can’t control acts of God, but for sure we can control what man does.”
The two developers are just getting started, said Mary Kellerher, a former board member of the Tarrant Regional Water Board who lives and has a ranch on Randol Mill Road. Kellerher said she has been sounding this warning since 2010 but it has been falling on deaf ears.
“Our infrastructure cannot handle what’s already here,” Kellerher said. “I just don’t understand how the city can permit such a large number of homes and not expect the people around them to be effected.”
Another neighbor, Mark Singletary, said he is pro business and owns a stable on Randol Mill where he houses 23 horses and boards horses for others. But the city has to take stronger measures if they want to have development in the area that will enhance the city without harming the already existing homeowners, Singletary said.
The restrictions imposed by the city on developers are not strong enough and the fines leveled on builders who break the rules are not high enough, Singletary said.
“We got about half as much rain as we did two weeks ago and about twice as much runoff,” said Singletary, who has stationed a video board on his property that warns potential home buyers. “The impact fees need to be higher. And if there is a fine it needs to be stiff enough to be a deterrent and high enough to make restitution if there is damage and right now they are neither.”