Houston community on private road still waiting for debris removal

- In the weeks since the storm called Harvey unloaded on Greater Houston, a virtual mountain of flood debris has been dragged from sodden homes, loaded-up and hauled away.

While it's been welcome relief for many subdivisions, the critical cleaning has yet to reach the west side neighborhood known as the Lakes at Stonehenge.

"So we've just been sitting on toxic debris. There's garbage. There's food. There's all types of smells and it's toxic," said Gail Canny, a Lakes at Stonehenge resident whose home was flooded.

While residents of the neighborhood pay full City property taxes, their homes sit on a private road and there-in lies the rub that's sent the enclave to, what may well be, the end of the debris removal line.

Today Mayor Sylvester Turner insisted there must be legally binding agreements and FEMA approval before his crews can pick up a single pound of this flood-related garbage on private property.

"If these big trucks, for example, end up being on their private streets or in their gated communities and damage is caused, the City doesn't want to be held responsible for that and FEMA is not going to pay for that. So, when you are dealing with FEMA, it requires documentation, not only on the City's part, but the individual residents also have to sign an indemnification agreement. Once that is done, our trucks will roll," said Turner.

Canny claims her homeowners' association has already signed on the dotted line, waiving liability and still no City pick-up.

Further fueling the frustration, watching adjacent neighborhoods cleared of debris while the Lakes at Stonehenge endures stinking piles, spilling into the street and back onto the walls of zero lot line homes.

"Mayor, sign the waiver. I know that Ft. Bend County signed the waiver right after the storm. I don't know what your hold up is," said Canny.

For his part, Mayor Turner says debris pickup is ahead of schedule with a first "pass" through impacted neighborhoods likely to be complete within two weeks.

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