Kingston residents press council on flooding concerns

Neighborhood organizes in name of easing strain of stormwater issues.

At its latest meeting, Cherry Hill Township council was appraised of recent measures taken by a subgroup of the Greater Kingston Civic Association, regarding the consistent flooding issues the neighborhood endures with heavy rainfall. 

Resident Yolanda Lorenz, one of four principals of the GCKA Flood Committee, read a statement to council members as well as Mayor Susan Shin Angulo, outlining the steps it would like township governance to undertake to minimize the effects of floodwaters on the area. 

Included in GKCA’s requests for remediation were: that the Public Works Department’s fall leaf collection methods be consistent with the need to keep streets and drains free of vegetative debris; that sand and other debris be regularly cleaned out of drains in high flood-prone areas; that real-estate companies should act in accordance with current laws regarding the disclosure to prospective buyers about the nature of flooding problems on affected properties; urging the township to enlist the Army Corps of Engineers — who reported satisfactory mitigation of flooding issues in 2002 — to complete another feasibility study and project management plan because certain homeowners have experienced flooding almost annually, in some cases multiple times per year. 

“The Flood Committee urges the Mayor, township council and all municipal departments to work together on behalf of unsuspecting residents victimized by repeated flooding,” Lorenz said. 

GKCA’s most pressing request was that the township gain access to the state’s Green Acre/Blue Acres Program on behalf of flood-prone properties (https://www.nj.gov/dep/greenacres/blue_flood_ac.html). 

Included in that plan would be provisions for the township to purchase properties and restore them to open space in order to help mitigate repeated area flooding, specifically those at 401 Cornwall Road, 400-420 King George Road and 405-417 King George.

“I will say this. The Mayor and Council Vice President (Brian) Bauerle have this particularly high on the agenda. And also, I wanted to reassure you that, with any community meeting, typically there’s only a couple of councilpeople that show up, rest assured that the rest of council is well in the loop and engaged in the conversations there,” said Council President David Fleisher. 

“We know it’s not a new one, but it’s a different phase. The mayor and this administration’s ready to tackle it.”

According to the minutes of an Oct. 21 Civic Association meeting, then-Mayor Chuck Cahn told the gathering of roughly 100 residents, several council members as well as Police Chief William “Bud” Monaghan that the offending body of water — Southern Branch of the Pennsauken Creek — spans several towns, over which Cherry Hill has no jurisdiction. He said that dams located further upstream were needed to mitigate flooding damage.

Residents additionally reported at the meeting that dredging in 2014 helped reduce water levels, and suggested that dredging may again be necessary and beneficial. Engineers from the township were invited to the meeting, but were not present to address questions from locals in attendance.

An estimated 60 to 100 homes that lie within the Pennsauken Creek flood plain around Kingston have been affected by flooding with increasing frequency, and Cahn said that purchase of flood-prone properties by the township would be ideal, but funds were not available to do so.

A meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 11, between Flood Committee members Lorenz and Anne Einhorn, as well as Angulo and Bauerle, to further discuss how to solve these issues within the neighborhood. 

More information about Kingston’ residents concerns on flooding and other issues can be found at www.greaterkingstoncivicassociation.org.

In other news

  • Council passed a resolution authorizing an agreement between the township and Camden County for participation in Project SAVE, a county-wide program geared toward treatment and rehabilitation for non-violent drug offenders. After a one-year pilot trial run, county officials announced in October of 2019 that the program would receive a three-year extension. As of that date, 37 municipalities within Camden County were participants. Cherry Hill was one of nine county locales which joined the initial pilot program. 
  • Councilwoman Carolyn Jacobs expressed her relief that the ongoing project to complete the Croft Farm Studio building is nearing completion, scheduled to be finished some time in March.