Northern Leawood resident tells council flooding issues with creek are getting worse


By Ayesha Vishnani

A northern Leawood resident is asking the city to look into flood mitigation after waters rose to within 10 feet of her home during intense storms this summer.

Lauren Conderman, who lives in the lowest elevated home in her neighborhood on 82nd Street just west of Wenonga, told the city council last week that the creek in her backyard has gotten higher each year.

“I can’t control my water anymore,” Conderman said. “So I’m just a little worried, and I’m looking to help our creek in general, that whole span between Prairie Village and the bridge.”

When Conderman built her house in 2008, she built it as high as the city and home owners association would allow at the time. Flooding has always been an issue in the area, with high waters damaging property and causing safety concerns for many residents in her neighborhood, which has had a few meetings about the issue.

Conderman said that when the city installed new drainage infrastructure in her lot it led to more flooding problems.

“The water can’t get over that hill so now it comes up to my house,” Conderman said. “And I didn’t anticipate that, and I would guess the city didn’t anticipate that either.”

Conderman has also tried to find her own solutions for different flood related problems over the years. She has created a rock retaining wall in her yard as well as planted natural grasses to help with the erosion. But she said a permanent solution to the flooding and the rising creek is needed.

“My ultimate goal is to get some sort of assistance from the city in terms of plans for that creek, an overall plan,” Conderman said. “Each little neighbor can do their part and do their own little thing if they’re willing to. But I think that creek has enough problems that it really needs someone at public works or engineers to kinda take a bigger look at it to solve the problem.”

After hearing Conderman’s concerns, the City Council referred the issue to be discussed at a Stormwater Committee Meeting in January.

Conderman was the latest resident to express concern about flooding to the Leawood City Council in the past several months.

“Seems lots of residents are coming to meetings about creeks and backyards saying ‘once again the creek is in my backyard,’” City Council Member Lisa Harrison said at the meeting. “We’ve talked to more and more families.”

Leawood isn’t the only one with mounting stormwater problems. Residents of Fairway and Prairie Village have expressed concerns to their cities about flooding problems over the past several years. In August, several residents from Prairie Village attended a city council meeting to call attention to flooding along Brush Creek, which caused thousands of dollars in damages to homes and posed risks to public safety.

Leawood experienced extensive damage to its public works facilities and equipment when its shop near Indian Creek was completely inundated by floodwaters this summer.