Inquirer: Detention pond stops floods, but not other problems

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comJune 8, 2014 

MIKE OWEN/mowen@ledger-enquirer.comWhat appears at first glance to be a vacant lot is really a detention pond, meant to help prevent flooding. But this one apparently breeds snakes, too.

Sometimes waterfront property isn't all it's cracked up to be.

That's what Concerned Reader Denise said when she called about the lot next to her house on Andrea Drive off Buena Vista Road.

She said it's basically a sewer, and she can't get the city to come out and clean it up. She said she and the neighbors keep the grass in the front of the lot cut but not in the back.

Because the back is "a sewer" and overgrown, it breeds snakes, two of which were water moccasins that had come up to sun on her front porch one evening recently.

(What is it with the wildlife reports flowing into Inquirer Central recently? Global warming, maybe.)

Anyway, I looked up the property in question on the city's property tax website to see who owns it. And, while I don't mean to alarm you, YOU own it. Yes, you, along with me and our 200,000 or so fellow Columbusites.

It's not just a vacant lot. It's a detention pond, which is one of those low areas designed to collect water during heavy rains to prevent flooding. So there is a pipe running into it, but it's not a sewer.

I called Ron Smith, deputy public works director, (who must've given his boss the day off), who said the city has 70 or 80 such detention ponds. Some such ponds are the responsibility of the homeowners' association or the developer, but many, if not most, are the city's responsibility.

But that doesn't mean they keep them manicured like a Brookstone lawn. They just don't have the manpower to do that.

They are mowed and cleared of brush about once a year, Smith said, so if it is indeed a city pond, it is on the list to be cleaned up. He couldn't say exactly when, but he did say he would check and make sure it's on the list.

"I agree with you, Mike," Smith said. "I'm looking at an aerial picture of it, and it's ugly."

Many such ponds have fences or shrubbery around them, and Smith said he is surprised that this one doesn't.

He said he'd look into that, but such things won't do anything to stop snakes. He said snakes are just a fact of life, and if you leave them alone, they'll leave you alone.

"They don't want to have anything to do with you any more than you want to have anything to do with them," he said.

But that doesn't explain why they came up onto this lady's front porch.

They didn't have little religious pamphlets with them, did they, Denise?

-- Seen something that needs attention? Contact me at 706-571-8570 or

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