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FLOODED OUT: People in LaBelle blame new construction for severe flooding

Community gathers to address unprecedented flooding while officials cite heavy rain as the cause
Posted at 2:51 PM, Jun 13, 2024

LABELLE, Fla. — A street in LaBelle’s Moss Landings neighborhood was under 2 feet of water Wednesday afternoon, completely flooding homes - and people who live there said they believe the heavy rain wasn’t the only factor in the flood.

On Wednesday, you could see crews knee deep in water using pumps to get it away from the homes.

Crews knee deep in water working to pump it away from the homes in Moss Landings.
Crews knee deep in water working to pump it away from the homes in Moss Landings.

Loretta Byerly said it was stressful waking up to water inches from getting inside her house.

“I’m scared. I’m scared. There’s nowhere for that water to run. That water used to run out the culvert through the back of my yard and cross to that new construction across the street,” said Byerly.

Loretta Byerly, Moss Landings resident.
Loretta Byerly, Moss Landings resident.

Byerly said she’s lived in Moss Landings for 7 years and had never seen flooding like that. Both Byerly, and the assistant president of the Moss Landings’ HOA, Robert Fox, said they’re concerned the flooding was caused by the new construction across the street.

“It’s just devastating. I’ve been here since 2018 and this has never happened, not even during a hurricane. I mean, the water came up a little ways and then it went down. But in the last two weeks since they built this out here, it’s flooded all this here because we have no drainage out there,” Fox explained.

Robert Fox, assistant president of the Moss Landings' HOA.
Robert Fox, assistant president of the Moss Landings' HOA.

So, Fox said he and many other people that live there will be going to the City of Labelle Commissioner’s meeting on Thursday night to talk about it.

However, LaBelle’s superintendent of public works said the high amount of rain caused the flooding, not the construction.

Aerial view of the new construction site in front of the flooded street in Moss Landings.
Aerial view of the new construction site in front of the flooded street in Moss Landings.

With Florida’s governor declaring a state of emergency in Southwest Florida because of the the rain and flooding, Hendry County commissioner, Emory Howard, said he plans to get Hendry County included in the coverage after seeing the problems in Moss Landings.

“We would like to reach out to the governor’s office to include Hendry County. We don’t exactly know what the dollar impacts are yet, and it would be good to be on that state of emergency inclusion,” said Howard.

Emory "Rowdy" Howard, Hendry County Commissioner.
Emory "Rowdy" Howard, Hendry County Commissioner.

But in the meantime, with more expected rain this week, the public works superintendent said crews would keep pumps at the neighborhood in case there’s more flooding.