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Farmers, landowners trade notes with city over drainage issues

Farmer John Cromwell, 60, discusses drainage issues with members of the city staff at the Creeds Ruritan Barn. He was among dozens of farmers and landowners who traded notes and concerns from April 27-29. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

Farmer John Cromwell, 60, discusses drainage issues with members of the city staff at the Creeds Ruritan Barn. He was among dozens of farmers and landowners who traded notes and concerns from April 27-29. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE

CREEDS  Landowners met with storm water management officials at the Creeds Ruritan Barn between April 27-29 to address concerns and trade notes with the city about runoff issues in the rural south of Virginia Beach.

Many of the dozens who showed up over the three days were farmers because — as City Councilmember Barbara Henley, a farmer who represents the Princess Anne District, put it —  “they’re the experts.”

John Cromwell, 60, who farms along New Bridge Road, peered over a map and shared information with Cynthia Cebrian, an engineering technician, and Stanley Smith Jr., an engineer. Both are from public works, and they gathered concerns and questions from members of the public on lists.

Cromwell discussed an outfall near Flanagans Lane, noting that sediment from a ditch that was making its way into Lotus Pond due to heavy water flow.

“It never froze this winter,” Cromwell said. “That’s how much water is coming out of there.”

“That’s good to know that it’s starting to affect the Lotus Pond because that’s a protected area,” Cebrian said. “That’s good to know.”

“Anyhow,” Cromwell said. “That’s all I know.”

“We appreciate you coming out,” Smith said.

“You betcha,” the farmer replied.

“I’ve learned a lot the last couple days,” Smith said.

“I bet you have,” Cromwell said.

“You all are the most knowledgeable about it,” Smith said.

“It’s a good thing,” Cromwell said of the attention being paid to the issue. “Water is always hard to deal with, coming or going.”

He headed out.

A short while later, Bobby Vaughan, 72, of Vaughan Farms walked through the room, which contained a number of maps displayed on easels.  

“If the purpose is to help the lower end of the city, then that would be a good result,” he said.

In an interview on May 5, Henley said the drainage issue is important in the city’s south because of its topography, agricultural lands, and soils that can be tough to drain.

She said the city is concerned about issues such as drainage that affects roadways and citizens are concerned about property, and that makes sharing information a good idea.

“It’s a mutual thing,” she said.

The Independent News

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