Construction project could be causing damaging floods in Port Tampa neighborhood


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A large-scale home construction project in the Port Tampa neighborhood may be to blame for severe flooding that has some homeowners stranded.

Megan Wallace lives in South Juanita Street and for the last two days, has faced flooding so bad she can’t get her car out and has been confined to her home.

“My dog can’t go out and use the bathroom, our trash can’t get picked up, we’ve had no mail,” Wallace said. “Two of my neighbors haven’t been able to get to work.”

In the four years she’s been on South Juanita, Wallace knows flooding after heavy rain is to be expected. However, she says the water normally drains quickly.

About two months ago, Wallace noticed water pooling up around the sides of her home after it would rain. That’s when she began contacting the City of Tampa and the Lennar Homes, the developer building the Southport subdivision near Wallace’s home.

An engineer with the city acknowledged to Wallace that the problem is likely due to an oversight in the planning and design phase of the construction project.

But nothing’s been done, according to Wallace. And heavy rains this week brought on a full-fledged flood affecting multiple homes.

“Might as well get a raft and float down, it’s horrible,” Wallace said.

Randy Oprisko lives a few blocks away. In the last two days, his entire property has been submerged under a few feet of water and he’s convinced the construction project is to blame.

“I think with the construction, they’re blocking off the tunnels to build bridges and there’s no flow at all,” Oprisko explaining, added that he’s never seen flooding at his home like this in 30 years.

“Usually once it stops raining, it will drain,” he said. “After an hour or two, you’ll start to see the levels going down. But I see nothing moving, at all, so it’s blocked somewhere.”

Lennar Homes released a statement to News Channel 8 Saturday morning saying:

“The engineering plans for the development were done to code and approved by the city,” said a Lennar spokesman. “That said, the recent heavy rains have caused challenges in this area. We are using equipment to pump out water from the neighborhood, and our goal is to be a good neighbor by aggressively addressing the situation.”

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