MSD narrowing down unmaintained drainage easements


The Ponte Vedra Municipal Service District continues to get closer to figuring out a plan to get to the bottom of the ongoing drainage issues residents are faced with.

According to MSD trustee Mickey White, he has looked into all the old plats from Seaview Park to Le Master Drive, San Jaun Drive and Ponte Vedra Boulevard, with a focus on the older plats that have language dedicating drainage easements to private entities.

“In these cases, they did not directly dedicate these drainage easements to the county,” White said.

He stated that there are a number of locations, in particular the ones that he has pinpointed as causing some of the biggest issues in this area.

White stated a couple of examples that he found during his search, including one on Le Master and one that cuts from Le Master to Corona Road, where drainage pipe ownership is in question.

“If you’re on Le Master and you back up to the homes on Seaview, there’s actually an old drainage ditch that is basically unmaintained and it’s got some failing structures,” White said. The custody of these easements is unclear.”

White believes such cases where issues can be traced to are ones the MSD needs to bring before the county to see if they are willing to do anything to take ownership of the easements in question and enforce their easement rights to correct and maintain the drainage pipes moving forward.

“In some of these cases it’s private property that is going to these drainage facilities that ultimately make it in the lagoons, but in a lot of these cases, it’s also county right-of-way or county land that is going into the pipes and then making it into the ponds,” White said.

In some instances, White stated that the drains in question have not been maintained in years because when the easements were recorded to a developer decades ago and it is now a development entity that no longer exists and therefore the drain has no more active owner to keep on top of its needed maintenance.

These are also cases that were not dedicated to a homeowners association or the public, so finding an owner may be impossible because there essentially is no longer an operating business tasked with keeping up with the drain.

“So now you have homeowners who are like, ‘this pipe has collapsed and its flooding in my backyard, but I’m not really permitted to go in and fool with this,’” White said. “I believe we should study these cases and get a title report to try and clarify that, so that then we have something to take to the county to advocate that the county should adopt those drainage easements.”

MSD chairman Al Hollon has already asked the county to provide him with an aerial photo and a map of the drainage going into the lagoon to mark which pipes are county maintained and which ones are not.

“Things like this need to be resolved, and if necessary we’ll just file a title suite, which is what we did with Sunset, for the pocket park,” Hollon said.

This is just the start of narrowing down all the unmaintained drainage easements that exist in the MSD, but it is something the board has set their sights on because it is the only step to take when trying to correct the drainage problems faced.  

“We need to get all of these easements in question together so that we can present a package to the county and not one-at-a-time or piecemeal,” White said.

Ponte Vedra MSD, drainage