Brevard business owners blame Brayline for the flooding

During a heavy downpour Saturday night, Advanced Roofing Technology’s office coordinator, Brandon Massimini, remotely logged into the company’s security system and checked on the property.

Rolling waist-high floodwaters were swimming through the business’s Avocado Street lot in darkness, crashing into Brightline’s recently installed white concrete retaining wall on the east side of the property, News 6 Partner Florida Today reported.

“We looked at the cameras and the whole street was flooded. The whole parking lot here was completely flooded — and it was seasonal. That’s how fast the water was moving,” Massimini recalled Monday morning, standing outside the Advanced Roofing Technology Building.

“And the whole rear section here was just underwater,” Massimini said.

Steven Scott, owner of Advanced Roofing Technology, blamed the Brayline retaining wall for worsening flooding in his low-rise neighborhood west of the railroad tracks in the past year or so. Also, Chad and Brandi Lekander, co-owners of Home Wreckers, similarly said they lost at least one work vehicle in Saturday’s flooding.

On Sunday, Melbourne Mayor Paul Alfrey shared photos of the Massimini flooding in a Facebook post with Advanced Roofing Technology. Some photos showed a green metal trash can that floated onto the company’s lot from an unknown location and blocked Brightline’s sewer pipes.

Alfrey said he will speak with city hall staff and send a letter to Brightline with a report detailing the flooding in the Eau Gallie neighborhood and potential solutions. Scott said he measured 29 inches of floodwater on the Brightline retaining wall Saturday night.

“Obviously to me, this water is supporting that much of their project,” Alfre said. “My concern is the possible flooding if we get a tropical storm.”

More details were not released Monday.

“We are looking into the concerns raised by Mayor Alfrey and have staff on site assessing the situation,” said Katie Mitzner, a spokeswoman for BlueLine.

Meanwhile, city hall staff are assessing several areas of Melbourne after Saturday’s heavy rains, Deputy City Manager Jenny Lamb said.

“According to NOAA rainfall data for Melbourne International Airport, 2.54 inches of rain fell in six hours. City staff determined Saturday’s rainfall event to exceed a 100-year/6-hour storm based on FDOT intensity-duration-frequency curves,” Lamb said in an email.

BlueLine is building a $2.7 billion passenger rail expansion that will connect Orlando International Airport to South Florida. Crews are installing secondary rails along Florida’s East Coast Rail Corridor from Eau Gallie to Cocoa, north of Indian River County.

Advanced Roofing Technology and Home Invaders line the Brightline concrete retaining wall along Avocado Avenue, which is located between Aurora and Lake Washington roads at Booker T. It is parallel to the railroad tracks in the neighborhood of Washington.

Chad Lekander said Brightline crews removed a drain when installing the wall. He believes Saturday’s flooding – which infiltrated Home Wreckers’ shop, vehicles, storage units and equipment – could have been prevented.

“It was a 6-foot-deep and 6- to 8-foot-wide hole that was taking in all this water. Well, they got rid of it,” Lekander said.

Flooding was reported in Brevard County from Saturday’s storm, including elsewhere in Eau Gallie. The National Weather Service has issued flood warnings, along with a special marine warning urging boaters to watch out for high winds and tidal waves.

5.07 inches of rain fell on the Indian Harbor coast during Saturday’s “heavy rain event,” NS reported. The agency’s office near Melbourne’s Orlando International Airport received 3.48 inches of rain, while gauge stations near Palm Shores recorded more than 4 inches.

That rain fell in a relatively short period of time, said Scott Kelly, a meteorologist at the Melbourne NWS station. Last week, a trough of low pressure sat over Florida for several days, filling the soil and dumping excessive rain in several areas, he said.

On Monday morning, Home Wreckers workers emptied flooded storage areas and left waterlogged items to dry on tables in the sun. Chad Lykander said he will complete a damage assessment for an insurance claim.

Massimini has worked in advanced roofing technology since 2016. In the year The company’s lot was flooded by Hurricane Irma in 2017, but this is the worst example since then, he said.

Scott said he complained to Brightline in an email last year that the wall had increased his flooding worries.

“For the last 20, 25 years, this has been an ongoing situation. And now it’s gotten worse. Now we’ve had to literally go out and spend a lot of money on flood insurance because of this,” Scott said.

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