Five homeowners have settled a lawsuit with the city of Mahtomedi after years of back-and-forth negotiations over flooding in the Glenmar neighborhood.
The city, though not admitting fault, has agreed to pay $750,000 to the homeowners and to complete a project to divert 75 percent of the stormwater away from the five properties.
"We're just glad it's done or at least closer to being done," said Josh Hague, one of the homeowners.
Hague and the owners of four adjacent properties sued the city in 2016, alleging that flooding of their yards and homes was worse since the completion of a $1.5 million street and drainage improvement project the city had started four years before.
Each of the properties abuts a stormwater channel that, according to Hague, became a "river you could canoe down" after just an inch of rain.
A culvert near Hague's property directs the stream underneath Warner Avenue but often can't keep up with rushing stormwater, creating a lake that floods the surrounding yards and basements, Hague said.
The parties reached a $600,000 settlement in June 2017 and the city agreed then to timely repairs. But the homeowners went back to court last fall, contending that the city had failed to fix the problem.
Now the city has committed to a water diversion project in conjunction with Washington County's reconstruction of Stillwater Road. The project, to be completed by 2023, will come under the city's 2018 bonding for infrastructure projects.
As part of its payment to homeowners, Mahtomedi will pay their flood insurance premiums for up to five years.
Andrew Pieper, the homeowners' attorney, said the settlement money will help his clients recoup property damage costs caused by the flooding.
"It's not just the nuisance of dealing with [flooding] each spring, it's also about the serious effect this problem has on these property values," Pieper said.
The water diversion project will benefit other residents of Mahtomedi and neighboring Willernie, said Jason Kuboushek, the attorney representing Mahtomedi in the lawsuit.
"The city maintains its actions were lawful and proper in all respects," Kuboushek said. "The resolution of this matter is without admission of fault by any of the parties."