The owners of the Hancock Co. they blame the flooding on county-approved development

HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) – Some Hancock County neighbors are blaming a county-approved development for increased flooding. On Wednesday, WLOX News spoke with those owners, the developer and the county administrator to get answers.

A video submitted to WLOX News that was shot Monday showed a pond of rainwater taking over a commercial property. According to the WLOX First Alert Weather team, more than two inches fell just an hour before the record. As the video plays, you can see water flowing through a drainage pipe under the road and emptying into the front yard of a house across the street.

“He went all the way to the barn and I was afraid he was going to get there,” owner Ann Mauffray said. “He never got past the grass. I’ve never had water like this.”

The video was filmed by her niece, Kelly Faul.

“I can’t even get into my driveway with this water,” she said. “There is a safety hazard here. And when you build, you change that natural flow of water, no matter what you do.”

The Fual family has lived in the area for generations, dating back more than a hundred years, they said.

“I’ve lived here my whole life — 71 years,” said Carol Faul, Kelly’s mother-in-law. “And (the county) allows things to be done on that property that are not up to code.”

The property he refers to is owned by local developer David Dreher. The Fuals blame his development for the flooding. When WLOX News spoke with Dreher, he said he did everything by the book and with the county’s approval.

“Everything that needed to be done to control the water was done,” he said. “The water actually ran as well as it ever has.”

WLOX News also interviewed Hancock County Administrator Jimmie Ladner about the issue.

“I absolutely understand their concern,” he said after watching Kelly Faul’s video of the flooding. “As someone who has been a victim of floods before, I understand. I can assure these people that we are doing everything we can from an engineering standpoint.”

Ladner confirmed that county engineers have approved Dreher’s drainage plan. He added that the city of Diamondhead is currently working on a drainage project to address the flooding issues, and the city has contacted the county to continue drainage work on Kapalama Drive.

“The city is doing a drainage project right now down to the city line, and we’re looking at extending that drainage from the city line, across the road and through Coon Branch,” he explained. “We’re looking at doing feasibility studies and probably some engineering on that, but we’ll have to wait until some of the traffic issues allow us to sort that out.”

The traffic issue he referred to is the ongoing work at the Diamondhead I-10 exit. As for the drainage project, it is still in the design phase.

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