Homeowner sues diocese over damage from flooding

The June 22 deluge flooded many homes and streets in North Wickliffe.
AUSTINTOWN -- A township homeowner is suing the Diocese of Youngstown Cemeteries over damage to her property from flooding.
Kathleen Bowman, 262 N. Roanoke Ave., filed the suit Monday in Mahoning County Court of Common Pleas.
Excess water ran off the diocese's property, including Resurrection Cemetery, a church and school grounds on North Raccoon Road on June 22, the suit says. It says the diocese neglected to build a drainage system that included all the church-owned property along the west side of North Raccoon Road.
Another factor in the flooding was the removal of natural vegetation, lawn installation and paving that occurred in the construction of the cemetery, the suit alleges.
The diocese has been notified that it created a nuisance causing flooding on the plaintiff's property and has been unwilling to abate the nuisance, the suit alleges.
The suit asks for damages in excess of 25,000. It also asks that the diocese be stopped from more building or modifying of landscaping.
It asks that the defendant be directed to make changes at the cemetery to protect the plaintiff from more flooding.
No one was available to comment for the diocese.
Flooding June 22 in the North Wickliffe area of Austintown, which includes North Roanoke, occurred as a storm dumped 21/2 inches of rain in 30 minutes.
A retention pond in the cemetery overflowed and contributed to flooding of homes and streets in North Wickliffe.
Township Trustee Lisa Oles said, however, that she believes the pond was not the only factor in the flooding. She said more water rushed through the cemetery property into North Wickliffe. She said the water possibly came from the Norquest Boulevard area.
Township administrator Mike Dockry said the diocese built the pond and owns the property it's on. He said the township owns and maintains the retention pond through an easement.
Dockry also said that next year the township will use funding through a grant to build a detention pond between the cemetery and Immaculate Heart of Mary school and church on Norquest. The 205,000 project is to help prevent another deluge in North Wickliffe, he said.

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