Meeting set on Maxwelton Beach flooding problem

Another meeting on the county’s ongoing proposal to end periodic flooding of Maxwelton Road near Maxwelton Beach will be next week in Freeland.

The county has the money to fix the problem, but will need help from the community to maintain a new system, officials say.

Intermittent flooding has occurred for years on the roadway through the small beach community south of Swede Hill Road.

Phil Cohen, surface water manager of the county Public Works Department, said the occasional flooding along the road south of Dave Mackie County Park can be blamed on an outfall that has gradually become restricted by a buildup of sand in Useless Bay.

He said cleaning out the drainage ditch that runs along that section of the road may also reduce flooding by handling the runoff from nearby Swede Hill.

Cohen said preliminary studies show construction alone may cost between $200,000 and $400,000, and could be higher if a new outfall or pump station is required. He said the county’s consultants are working on new cost estimates, which will be presented at next week’s meeting.

The meeting, to gather more public comment, will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3 at Trinity Lutheran Church’s Grigware Hall, Highway 525 and Woodard Road in Freeland.

Attending will be Cohen and Island County Public Works Director Bill Oakes, along with Bob Bergquist of consultants Skillings Connolly of Seattle.

They will discuss possible solutions, project schedules and required permitting, Cohen said Thursday.

The meeting is a continuation of one held in July, in which residents submitted comments and anecdotal information regarding flooding in the area.

Cohen said the area has had two or three severe episodes of flooding in the past 10 years, along with numerous lesser events that caused inconvenience for residents.

He said the county has $300,000 budgeted for construction in the next two years, but the cost of obtaining permits is an unknown.

“Our ability to build something regarding sand and shorelines has changed,” he said.

Cohen said it would be the responsibility of the community to maintain the system once improvements are in place.

He said residents could form a drainage district or a surface-water utility, but the best way may be to form a homeowners association.

“That seems the least complicated and most familiar, and it has less stringent requirements,” Cohen said.

For more information, call Cohen at 360-240-5546.

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