The Flood Problem
OAKFIELD ACRES + BELLE MEADE NEIGHBORHOODS
The Oakfield Acres and Belle Meade neighborhoods are home to hundreds of Escambia County residents. Those residents have been forced to watch as their homes and yards flooded in the 2014 floods, Hurricane Sally, and during recent construction as development codes were not followed.
While flood problems stemming from the new development have been largely resolved, big problems remain. The neighborhoods have major existing drainage issues that need to be addressed:
Monarch Lane and White Oak Drive do not have a drainage system to protect residents from storm events
Hancock Lane’s drainage system is not connected to the rest of the stormwater system, so water has nowhere to go
Royal Lane’s drainage system is under capacity for today’s storms
Meet our Neighborhood Leader: Michelle Tyler
Michelle Tyler has been a tireless advocate for the residents of Monarch Lane and the wider Oakfield Acres and Belle Meade neighborhoods.
"Escambia County constituents want to know when our protection will be the priority. We need action and support. Leaders need to protect us, not their own agendas"
What We Accomplished
Violations of county development codes by new construction on Monarch Lane were making existing drainage issues in the neighborhood worse, filling streets and yards with water and mud. Residents had had enough.
Neighborhood Leader Michelle Tyler and neighborhood Flood Defenders sent emails to Commissioner Lumon May, contacted local news outlets, and showed up at County Commission meetings to let officials know that the situation was unacceptable.
The pressure worked. County staff and Commissioner May showed up onsite and warnings were issued to the developer, who brought their project into compliance.
What We Accomplished
The County is working on a master plan to address flooding issues in the Carpenter Creek Watershed, which includes the Oakfield Acres-Belle Meade neighborhood. But that plan will not be complete until Spring 2023. Oakfield Acres and Belle Meade can’t wait that long.
The County should address yard and street flooding caused by heavy rain now, while the master plan can help to address less frequent overflows of Carpenter Creek later on.
During testimony to the County Commission, Michelle and FD Technical Advisor Chris Curb pushed leaders to address existing drainage problems in Oakfield Acres and Belle Meade now. Commissioner Lumon May committed to creating a plan to address the issues. Check out his statement in the video above.
At the September 3rd, 2021 Board of County Commission meeting, the Board approved $3 Million from Local Option Sales Tax to go towards the Oakfield-Belle Meade project. A phased project plan that prioritizes the critical drainage needs will help stop flooding in Oakfield Acres!
What We'll Do Next
Flood protection projects aren’t always fast, but that’s no excuse for the county to take its time. After construction starts, Flood Defenders will push local leaders to keep it on track, and to ensure that the fixes work. We want to make sure Oakfield Acres and Belle Meade are getting real solutions, not band-aids.