Cary neighborhood hit hard by flood waters

CARY – The house on Sunset Drive in Cary was the first one Nathan Hughes and Vanessa Barrie bought together.

They had no idea that less than five weeks after they moved in, the lower level of their home would be filled with 4 feet of water.

“We lost everything,” Hughes said. “We just bought the house. It was completely revamped. New carpet. New paint. New everything. We just bought the washer and dryer.”

The Cary neighborhood the couple lives in — where Sunset and Crest drives meet — has always been hit hard by floods. After heavy rain storms, water will rush down Crest Drive, pummeling the homes that sit at the bottom of the hill.

Wednesday morning was no different, as at least half a dozen neighbors saw water fill the lower level of their homes after 6 inches of rain fell in a matter of hours.

Water reached the windows of Nathan Hughes' and Vanessa Barrie's SUV. Their new Honda Shadow motorcycle, which they purchased Sunday, was flooded. The lower level bedroom, bathroom, living space and office were all flooded. Their hot water heater, washer, dryer, furnace — all destroyed.

“And the shame is, no one warned us about it before we bought the home,” Hughes said. “Not the village. Not the banks. Not the seller.”

Many of people at Crest and Sunset drives are new residents, and few were aware of the area's flood problems. Several residents interviewed Wednesday said they didn't have flood insurance.

“There were no disclosures when we bought the house,” said Marvin Sternberg, who moved to the neighborhood in February. “They didn't say nothing.”

Sternberg estimated that his home has at least $60,000 worth of damage, not including the furnace and hot water heater, which could both be ruined, he said.

"The worst is the things you can't replace,” he said. “All the sentimental stuff is gone. Memories, gone.”

Several residents were told they weren't eligible for flood insurance because they don't live in a flood plain.

“This is all out of pocket,” said Jeff Goucher, who has lived through several floods in the neighborhood, but said Wednesday's was the worst he has ever seen. “Everything's at a loss all the time.”

Goucher believes his home has at least $20,000 worth of damage.

Kevin Yeaton moved across the street from Goucher in February and woke up Wednesday with nearly 4 feet of water in the lower level of his home. He lost a washer, dryer, new refrigerator, TVs and other items, totaling about $10,000, he said.

“My office downstair is trashed,” Yeaton said. “All of our documents, photographs, and family treasures have been trashed. These are the things you can't put a price on. They are irreplaceable.”

Yeaton, like the other residents, wasn't aware that the neighborhood was prone to flooding prior to purchasing the home. However, the previous home owners came by the property two weeks ago and informed Yeaton of the reason they eventually left.

“The reason why they finally had to sell was they lost two cars in previous floods here, and they couldn't afford to do this again. It seems as though it's a recurring thing here that hasn't been addressed properly by the village.”

Cary officials said Wednesday that they are aware of the issues at Crest drive and Sunset drive, and the village plans to hold a special meeting with the neighborhood in the coming weeks regarding flooding.
Cary Village Administrator Chris Clark said it is up to the seller of the home to inform the buyer of flooding issues, and since the neighborhood is not in a flood plain, there are no FEMA requirements to inform the residents of flooding.
Clark also said he is aware that different insurance companies have been giving different information to the residents regarding access to flood insurance, and the village plans to present accurate information to the neighbors at the upcoming special meeting.

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