Shelby Township residents worried about flooding that has damaged their homes again

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby-Utica News | Published July 25, 2023

 Flooding occurs on the northern end of the property at the Windmill Pond condo development on 22 Mile Road, just west of Hayes Road, during the early evening July 2.

Flooding occurs on the northern end of the property at the Windmill Pond condo development on 22 Mile Road, just west of Hayes Road, during the early evening July 2.

Photo provided by Jim Creagh


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Shelby Township residents are worried about flooding that has caused damage to their homes on more than one occasion.

Flooding occurred on the northern end of the Windmill Pond condo development on 22 Mile Road, just west of Hayes Road, in the early evening July 2. Flooding previously occurred at the site Aug. 28, 2020, with reportedly up to 20 units affected, and losses over $100,000.

County and township officials said the flooding happened because of a localized storm with unusual intensity.

“It was like a river was created in minutes” said Jim Creagh, a resident of the condo complex.

Responsibility for the drain systems running through the area is a mixture of public and private entities.

According to residents, Shelby Township had Department of Public Works employees visit the site. They took pictures of the basements of some of the units that had damage.

“All the homeowners want to be kept up to date on the cause and fix for this issue,” Creagh said.

Creagh said the flood affected 13 addresses and that a ballpark figure on the value of the 13 units would be close to $5 million.

Judy Pickles, a resident of the complex, said she is unhappy with the township and feels that it should have done more since the last time the complex experienced flooding.

“People are fed up. They are using extra money, some on fixed income, to repair the damage to their basements. People are angry, some are moving away. Every time it rains, we will wait for the rushing water to make our lives miserable. So now I have to get a hold of FEMA to buy insurance in case we flood. We live in a no flood zone. The pumps can’t keep up. Insurance is rejecting some claims, I heard. We’re getting too old to have this happen again. Insurance rates are going up. Soon they will cancel you from too many claims,” said Pickles.

Shelby Township Supervisor Rick Stathakis said in a prepared statement that, according to the Macomb County Public Works Commissioner’s Office, the rain that led to the flooding earlier this month along the Longstaff Drain was because of a 500-year event with roughly 6 inches of rain falling within a single day in an isolated location.

“As our roads fall under the umbrella of the Macomb County Department of Roads, our storm drains are within the jurisdiction of Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller. As always, Shelby Township stands ready to support Macomb County to help fund necessary infrastructure improvements in the township, and the Longstaff Drain is no different. Our Board of Trustees and staff are working with Commissioner Miller’s Office to address issues that led to this flooding,” said Stathakis.

Miller said her office is aware of the issue and is looking at improvements to the drainage systems.

“It was what we would characterize as a 500-year rain event. It was like rain fell right on top of that particular area. The surrounding areas didn’t flood, but right there the rain gauges were showing 5 inches of rain in a very short period of time, like an hour. There really is no drainage system that can handle that kind of downpour that quickly — that kind of rain in that intensity. Our drains that are in that area, we have done some work anyway, since I have been in office, and they’re really functioning OK and nothing is going to handle that kind of downpour, but we’re going to look at improving our drains a little bit. All the flooding happened on the condo property itself really,” Miller said.

She said the condo complex might have to get an engineer’s advice on its private drainage systems.

“I feel very bad, it’s terrible that it’s happened and I say it was a localized thing. It just happened to be on top of them. I don’t know if it’s climate change or what’s happening, but look all around the country, all of a sudden there is a lot of raining, the intensity of the rain is very heavy,” she said.