THE VALLEY DISPATCH , On July 9, a 50-foot live oak tree, plus three smaller trees, uprooted and fell onto our deck, crushing it and our above-ground swimming pool. Upon investigating the roots of the tree, we discovered a pool of water under the root ball.


We followed the path of the water back to the overflowing holding pool of the adjacent development under construction. The development is a 40B project, which enables developers to sidestep many of the city’s zoning laws.

Granted, we have water problems on our property as it is, due to the inherent nature of the land. However, our contention is because the developers cut all the trees down and stripped the topsoil away in order to start building, they changed the flow of that water, which is now being gathered from all four acres of the new development and directed into the holding ponds. In turn, the ponds flow and overflow the basin, which is supposed to leach the water into the ground slowly.

We are getting no satisfaction from the city of Methuen, where we have lived all our lives. We have called the mayor of Methuen several times, with no response from her or her staff. The West End councilor did come out to inspect the property some time back, but nothing has since been done about the problem.

No one is taking us seriously. Perhaps they think we will just go away if ignored, but we will not. We need answers. We are tired of being ignored. If we complain about this situation to various city departments (conservation, city engineers), they remedy the situation with a band-aid, such as placing bales of hay at the edge of our property. This is doing nothing to stop the flow of water.

It is only November and the jersey barriers the developer put up at the edge of the development to try to hold back the soil is already collapsing under the weight of the water flow. What will happen once the winter comes and goes, and spring is upon us?

We are not asking for financial restitution for the damage to our property, even though we have to spend hundreds of dollars of our own money to repair our deck and replace the pool. We want the city to take responsibility for the poor engineering decisions they made on the development, and we would like them to fix the drainage problem once and for all. The water should be redirected away from our yard or dispersed into the soil more naturally. This is all we ask.

We consider ourselves lucky that the tree fell at 3:30 a.m. and not 3:30 p.m., when we and our grandkids would have most definitely been swimming in the pool.