Creekside Property Owners

The City of Goodlettsville is known for the many small creeks that run through town.  These creeks are part of the character of our City.  However, these creeks also present challenges to the community.  For the most part, these creeks flow on the surface across private property.  Where these creeks intersect City streets, they are piped under the street through culverts.  However, some of the smaller creeks or tributaries may be piped underground on private property, including under buildings.  Problems occur when these piped, inlets or channels become obstructed.  The result of obstruction can often lead to flooding and damage.  The risk of flooding is heightened during the rainy season when the flow in these creeks is increased by stormwater runoff.  Obstructions occur in both the open and piped sections of the area creeks, and are caused by natural and manmade debris.  Examples include, ­ tree branches that fall into the creek then trap leaves or other debris, thus causing an obstruction.  In other cases, debris such as yard trimmings, plastic bags and bottles, buckets, lumber, etc., can block the flow in the creek.  In some areas, fences and walkways are constructed across creeks, which also trap leaves and other debris.  The City is ONLY responsible for the portion of these creeks that cross City streets and other City owned property, easements are not city owned, they are private property. ­­­

As part of the City’s normal maintenance, we inspect and clean culverts in the City right-of-way to ensure they function properly.  Property owners are responsible for maintaining sections of creek located on their private property.  The City is not responsible for maintenance of creeks on private property.  By keeping the creeks clear of debris and obstructions flooding can be minimized.  This includes; keeping grass clippings, leaves, sticks, branches, and other vegetative debris out of the creek channel and making sure vegetation is and around the creeks does not become overgrown to the point where it significantly impairs water flow.  Particular attention needs to be paid to the entrances to piped sections.  Once these piped sections become obstructed, it may be very difficult and costly to remove the obstruction, and if located on private property, it is the property owner’s responsibility (not the City’s) to remove the obstruction. 

Property owners need to be aware that when a creek becomes obstructed on private property, it can cause flooding and property damage not only to the owner’s property but to adjacent property owners up and downstream as well.  If a creek located on your property (either on the surface or piped underground) becomes obstructed and causes flooding on another’s property, the property owner may be liable for any damages to that property.  If the obstruction causes flooding to City streets and City property or a significant threat to the safety of the general public, the City may take action to remedy the situation.

18-313. Maintenance. (1) Maintenance responsibility. (a) Any stormwater management facility or BMP which services individual property owners or subdivisions shall be privately owned with general routine maintenance (controlling vegetative grown and removing debris) provided for by the owner(s). The city has the right, but not the duty to enter premises for emergency repairs through a perpetual nonexclusive easement. The owner shall maintain a perpetual, non-exclusive easement, which allows for access for inspection and other emergency maintenance by the city.