Obstructed drain floods parking lot

Not a question but post 2, after this one, is the end of the parking lot story. You may have already read most of this one, especially the first part.
Did I ever tell you all about my parking lot flooding? My house is about 37 years old and the oldest houses in the n'hood, the road, and parking lot is about 38 years old. But there was no flooding until 4 or 5 years ago.
In an intense rain, t=he water backed up at the drain and it got half-way up my rear wheels and the water entered another n'brs car, and she said she had to buy a new one.
Our 3 or 4 cars are parked at the lowest point in the parking lot which gets any water that doesn't get captured by drains on the side of a hill 3'8" of a mile wide and about 30 feet high.
The drain goes through a culvert which opens into a stream bed maybe 40 feet away. Silt etc. maybe 5 inches high was obstructing the end of the 14" culvert. So I dug that out and deepened and widened the channel from the culvert to the stream itself. Use a pick a lot for the rocks and a shovel.
I told the prez of the HOA, but she still hired a mini-excavator and he did the same thing I did but deeper and wider.
Didn't help. Rained and flooded again, though I moved the car before it got 'wet'. But this means I can't leave my car in the regular spot when I go out of town, get a ride, go into the hospital, go to sleep, or even when I'm up and about, I can't tell how hard it is raining, even with the windows open.
So the HOA hired a vacuum truck, big as a big garbage truck. The hose was translucent and I could hear lots of gravel (what comes off a blacktop parking lot) etc. being sucked up the long 10" hose. Also two little foot-powered scooters were sucked up. I vaguely remember when the little girls road them, 10 years ago.
Didn't help.
HOA prez says she'll have it vacuumed every 6 months. I say, if it took 37 years to clog, why would it need vacuuming in 6 months. She probably doesn't like me now.
I notice that the lot has been fully repaved or repaired enough that the road is 2" higher at the drain than it once was. The opening is 7 feet wide and 4 to 4.5 inches wide, instead of 6 to 6.5 like it was originally. I point this out to HOA prez. She says the head of the management company doesn't think that's the problem. A guy who works 40 miles away and has probably never been here and if he has he probably didn't get out of the car to look at the drain.
I talk to two paving contractors, one of whom comes out for free, knowing the job is too small for him, and another on the phone, who both agree the smaller drain *might* be the problem.
Continued.....
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In alt.home.repair, on Fri, 14 Oct 2016 20:06:07 -0400, micky

So the contractors I talked to said it was possible that it was the opening to the drain, but I decided I should catch it in the act of flooding.
For two years, it never rains as hard as it can, except maybe once, when I rush home from 25 miles away, but it's stopped raining before I get there.
Finally, it's flooding at 10 PM about August 1, and I go out with a crow bar to remove the manhole cover from the cement top of the catchbasin that the drain opening drains into.
The water is 10" deep on the parking lot and 7" above the manhole, cement top, and grass area next to it.
The water is dirty and I keep tapping but I can't even find the hole in the manhole cover. When the water recedes so it's only 2 or 3 inches deep I find the hole and lift out the cover.
Although water is pouring in through the side and the manhole, the water is 3 feet below the top. If the restriction were in the culvert, the water would be all the way at the top, or it would not be backing up into the parking lot. So the restriction is at the drain opening. --- I email the president of the HOA to let her know I'm sure. She doesn't answer me.
Within a month there is a meeting of the HOA and they're hiring a paving contractor to fix the chuckholes (which they call potholes in the east.) $15,000 iirc.
I write the Prez, Now is the time to fix the drain, when he might charge just 150 for cutting out 3" by 7' and maybe 100 for sealing it in some way, or he might even do it for free. And if we don't do it now, we'll have to pay 2000 or 4000 minimum for just this little job, or hire a handyman (Ugh).
No answer.
Another email with a few more details. No answer.
I write another shorter, punchier email. No answer.
I call 2 other board memebers whose numbers I know and didn't lose. to find out who the contractor is and when he's coming. One is no longer on the board and doesn't seem happy with them. The other calls me back as soon as she gets out of bible study, before she even goes home, and says she'll send me the name of the contractor we hired.
She does that two nights later, Thursday night, but Thursday morning. Sept 1. I see signs up up where they dont' want people to park, so they can do the repairs Sept. 6 and 7th. I'm going to call them but driving out of the n'hood I see their truck. I talk to the foreman and tell him the problem and he's supposed to tell his boss when he gets back at the end of the day. So I wait until Friday around 1PM.
I call. The guy in charge of paving is one of the principals of the company. I say I want to add one more task to his job, tell him about the flooding, and I'm almost certain I refer to cutting 3" off.
I'm about to offer to pay extra when he says, "I don't think there'll be any extra charge for this." I say, clearly, "If there is, let me know." I'd given him my name and maybe my phone (and I'm listed) and after he asks for pictures, he has my email address
He asks for pictures, but that's to make sure we're talking about the same drain, so I go out take pictures, learn how to get them from 2 megs down to 150K each and email them to him. He sends back a thank you.
So now I figure the HOA prez won't think about this over the weekend so she won't interfere, and then I learn that Monday is Labor Day, so she probably won't think about it until Tueday, when she'll probably go to work at 8:30.
Tuesday I keep looking out the window and at 10:30 a workman shows up. By the time I get downstairs he's started the gas circular saw and has cut a lline 4 feet from the drain!!!! OMG, what happened to 150 dollars? It's not 3 inches anymore, it's 4 feet!!! Somone has made marks in red paint as big as his cut, but they weren't there Friday afternoon. He must have just done it. But it's too late to ask because he's started the cut. He cuts out about 5 square yards, then more men come and they break up the blacktop and use a little backhoe? with a scoop to take it to the dump truck. Then they add the blacktop and pause several times to tamp down or roll what they've poured. All in all it takes about 7 men 60 or 70 minutes to dig down and slope the pavement from 4 feet away to the drain, instead of 1 man and less than an hour.
But it looks perfect and beautiful.
I get an email at 6PM from the HOA prez: Although I'm sure you are aware of this, but [the contractor] repaired the storm drain located near your home. The opening of the drain has been enlarged to accommodate the large amount of water that flows toward to drain during extreme weather conditions.
Thank you for alerting the Board and [the management company] of this important matter. Hopefully, this repair will alleviate some of the valid concerns many of you have.
Sincerely,
So she sounds like she's in favor of all this when she ignored 4 emails and would have not fixed it at all if she had her way.
A couple days later, I called the paving boss to thank him and he was friendly and talkative. He said that no one else had talked to him about this problem, (and he said he appreciated the thanks and we talked about his Spanish speaking employees, that his brother spoke Spanish and what he did for a living (Mexico border guard, then sky marshall) So I know she put no effort into fixing this but she makes it sound like she's all for it. A natural politician, although she doesn't do that for a living. I know what she does and afaik, that skill doesn't much benefit her there.
No one has said a word about an additional charge, and I'm sure there wasn't one, but she would have left our 3 or 4 cars to flood if I hadn't been pushing.
You have to hustle or things pass you by.
There's an HOA meeting in 2 weeks. I might tell her that ,"Since you never got back to any of my 4 emails, I figured you wanted me to handle it." Not what I figured but it should make her more responsive in the future.
If it's not fixed, I may know at the next very heavy rain, but if it is fixed, I won't know for 3 years, because I can't judge how heavy a rainstorm is. But since the problem started, we never went more than 2 years without a flood. The drain is almost 50% bigger. I'm 99.9% sure it's fixed, and I'm going away for 10 weeks this spring, and I'll leave my car where it is.
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On 10/14/2016 9:08 PM, micky wrote:

So the moral of the story in not to buy a house where thee is an HOA.
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In alt.home.repair, on Fri, 14 Oct 2016 23:01:01 -0400, Ed Pawlowski

That's certainly part of it, but that severaly limits the number of houses for sale in Maryland or this part of Maryland. The law here is that every new development, even one with only 8 homes (or less, maybe 3 or 4) has to have an HOA. This has been the law for the last 40 years or so, so either the house has to be older than 40 so or it has to have been built to order, or one of the rare single houses built on spec.
I wasn't here when the law was passed but I think the clause that gives the HOA the power to repair an unrepaired house and put a lien on it was one of the driving forces. It was meant to keep n'hoods from becoming run-down because of one, and then more absent or negligent homeowners.
The HOA doesn't have to meet and doesn't have to collect dues, and a girl I was dating lived on a street with only 5 houses. and her HOA never met. Her house cost twice as much as my did. It was bigger than mine with a bigger lot, farther out of town (which I guess lowers the price), and it was semi-custom built** in that they had their choice of 3 or 5 floorplans and they could modify it by making the kitchen bigger and diining room smaller, for example. They made the ceiling in the basement higher, or the floor lower, so her then-husband could lift weights there. But looking at the map now, I see there are 16 houses on this little street, Jonathans Ct. and it probably meets and charges dues now. https://www.google.com/maps/place/Shawan+Rd,+Cockeysville,+MD+21030/@39.4838175,-76.7050289,384m/data =!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x89c812562e39cc01:0xefd0ba707b1d982d!8m2!3d39.4970906!4d-76.6796279?hl=en
**The ex told there was a beautifully built model house where the little road meets the bigger road, but when the same buiders built their house, they made lots of mistakes. 1) a ceramic tile floor was being put in the front hall, and the guy putting in the baseboards showed up with the tile was halfway done. He put the baseboard where it belonged wherever there was tile, and he put it just above the subfloor where there was no tile!!! 2) There is a little powder room off the front hall, and they put the door on so it opened in, so when you went inside,you could only reach the sink. To reach the toilet you had to shut the door and there was no room to shut the door because you were in the room!!! He was certain they used good contractors to build the first house and real idiots to build his. Fortunately they got divorced so he didn't have to live there anymore.
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On 10/15/2016 3:09 PM, micky wrote:

Glad we don't have them around here. May have been well intentioned but . . . Most seem to be a PITA and exist so the old biddys can tell sensible people what to do.
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In alt.home.repair, on Sat, 15 Oct 2016 15:24:55 -0400, Ed Pawlowski

My previous biddy was in her 50's. A very nice girl afaik was prez, but they bought a bigger house and she moved. The biddy was VP so she became prez. I told her she'd do a good job but I was wrong. She stuck around for 20 years, probably getting free snowshoveling and free lawnmowing for signing contracts for longer than a year, and IMO getting kickbacks when she signed a contract allowing a towing company to tow whatever they saw without any complaints first. One time a neighbor came to an HOA meeting to complain about the way the pres talked to her and her defense was, "Well that's the way I am."
They finally overthrew her and the new biddy is maybe 35. She was cute when she moved in 5 or 10 years ago, but she gained 20 pounds or so lately, on a small frame. OTOH, I live right across the street from her and her car is rarely there these days, so maybe she has a boyfriend who likes chubby girls. .
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