‘This is outrageous’: Bayside homeowners call on city to address 6-year flooding problem

Photos by Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS

Longtime Bayside resident James Bitetto claims that flooding conditions around his home on 33rd Road began about six years ago, after the city Department of Transportation (DOT) repaved 211th Street between 35th and 34th avenues, a few blocks away.

The project left the street sloped, Bitetto said, causing rainwater to run directly into the homeowner’s backyard and away from established storm drains.

During substantial rain events, the homeowner is accustomed to getting up to 5 inches of rainwater in his basement, where “everything is on stilts” to keep his belongings from getting ruined.

“You can see my garage is now leaning. I don’t know how much other internal damage I have to my house,” he said on site.

Flooding conditions in the backyard (Photo courtesy of Bitetto)
Flooding conditions in the backyard (Photo courtesy of Bitetto)

Bitetto — who noted that about 14 other households in the immediate area are also affected by similar flooding conditions — has filed numerous complaints with 311 and been in contact with both DOT and the city Department of Environmental Protection over the years. He’s also approached Community Board 11, who agreed to help him seek capital funding.

Still, he said, nothing has been done to solve the problem.

“You had the funds to create this problem, now find the funds to correct this problem,” he said.

State Senator Tony Avella, who organized a press conference with homeowners on April 19, said he, too, has reached out to each agency on Bitetto’s behalf.

“This is outrageous,” the lawmaker said. “The city has to do the right thing here and either re-slope the road or put in some drainage … Fix it and fix it now.”

Bitetto said he and other homeowners are considering pursuing legal action against the city.

A spokesperson for DOT said the agency is working with DEP “to develop a long-term strategy to address these concerns.”

The city agency received the initial complaint about “ponding” in the area in spring 2013, the spokesperson continued, but determined the repaving project “did not impact the contours of 211th Street at the rear of [Bitetto’s] property. ”

“In an effort to remedy the ponding conditions here, DOT worked with the property owner to install an asphalt berm across the end of 211th Street to deflect water from the property in November of 2013,” the spokesperson said. “Last fall, DOT conducted a follow-up survey/investigation of this location and recently informed Mr. Bitteo DOT now aims to increase the height of the berm to address the flooding condition.”

Bayside flooding (4)

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