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Known as the Lindan Channel this waterway runs along private properties on Lindan Avenue in Quincy. It’s prone to flooding, which concerns homeowners whose property backs up against the channel. This photo was taken from the pedestrian/bicycle path and includes the remains of a possible beaver dam that was also causing concerns. Photos by Victoria Metcalf

Lindan Avenue homeowners asked to cooperate with flood district, county with channel concerns

This is the Lindan Channel north of the pedestrian/bicycle path bridge in Quincy. When rains are heavy enough to fill the channel, water runs into a pipe to help divert it. Water from the channel eventually flows into Spanish Creek.

Who is responsible for what has become known as the Lindan Channel?

That’s a question raised by Plumas County Public Works Direct Bob Perreault, County Counsel Craig Settlemire and members of the Board of Supervisors. Perreault is also head of the county’s Flood Control and Water Conservation District.

The land along the channel is private property, everyone agreed at the meeting Dec. 18. “When there’s a drop of rain I get all these calls,” said Supervisor Lori Simpson. In fact, just recently 10 beavers had to be removed from the channel, adding to the potential problem.

And that’s at issue. During heavy rain storms, housing along the channel is at risk. Perreault said there has been a foot or more of water in some of the homes during flooding along that section.

The real problem took place in the past. The developer was allowed to build in a flood zone. Simpson said that it’s a subdivision that should have never been allowed in a flood area, “but we can’t go back.”

In a photograph of the area circa 1955 that hangs in Settlemire’s office, the current shopping center is a millpond and the channel shows up clearly as it carried water eventually to Spanish Creek. That was before the current housing development was approved along Lindan Avenue.

According to Settlemire, property owners along Lindan are saying the county needs to do something about it. From his perspective if the channel belongs to the county, then it is the county’s concern. However, he hasn’t found any documentation showing that it’s the county’s responsibility.

And Perreault agreed stating, “Following research, county staff has concluded that there is no evidence to establish that either the Plumas County Flood Control and Water Conservation District or the Plumas County Department of Public Works ‘owns’ the Lindan Channel facility or is ‘responsible’ for its maintenance for storm water-related drainage or other purposes.”

It is in the district’s and county’s best interest to protect the county’s other nearby facilities. These include the bicycle path, its drainage structures, and the nearby pedestrian and bicycle bridge. These are located at the northern end of the Lindan Channel and subdivision, Perreault explained.

What is being proposed on a short-term basis is a right-of-entry permit submitted to each  homeowner on Lindan Avenue that would give the county access to private property in order to work on the channel.

The permit would allow public works employees to “perform certain inspections and storm water remediation and maintenance activities consisting of vegetation removal from the channel.”

Although someone has cut down brush and bushes along one side of the Lindan Channel, it’s not regularly maintained. At this point Plumas County Counsel finds no documentation indicating that this is county property. The county also doesn’t have the funds to purchase this strip of waterway.

There are no vacant lots along Lindan, Perreault said. And two homeowners live out of the county.

There is a concern that a property owner would not agree to signing the permit granting access to their property to work on the channel. Settlemire said the county shouldn’t go onto private property or trespass to do anything. Simpson assured the board that the property owners “are pretty banned together.”

Settlemire said they could argue that maintaining the channel is the property owners’ responsibility and they haven’t been doing it.

Instead, Settlemire said that he “strongly recommended not to do the work without the full agreement of all property owners.”

Ultimately, the board approved the issuance of right-of-way permits for homeowners along the Lindan Channel. The permit will expire at a certain date, Perreault explained, although he did not specify the date at the meeting — possibly within a year.

Settlemire said that the county needed to look at long-term improvements for the entire Lindan area. This would include a hydrological study. “This is an inadequate band aid, but it’s doing something.”

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