When last the storm waters lapped into his Cockeysville restaurant, Ozzie Mehdizadeh said, politicians, surveyors and officials measured and promised and hemmed and hawed—then left.
"Nothing. Nothing's happening," Mehdizadeh said Monday, as he picked up a chair in his once-again devastated Side Street Cafe in Cockeysville. "Maybe there are not enough votes here."
Sunday's heavy rains were enough to flood several businesses on Beaver Run Lane, just off York Road in Cockeysville. It's the third time the shops have been flooded within the last two years, and fourth time in the past decade.
Business owners say the Loch Raven Dam expansion several years ago, along with development in Hunt Valley over the last decade, is to blame for the flooding issues.
"That's one of the main reasons, and I want you to write it bold if you can. The dam was raised four feet without thinking about people," said Mehdizadeh.
"Without financial help, we are going to be done. Done," said Jana Bhavsar, who for 14 years has owned a U-Haul location next to Side Street Cafe with her husband, Kiran. He had to be rescued by fire crews Sunday after the flood waters inundated the shop. Jana Bhavsar said he was shaken, but fine. They could not afford flood insurance, however, she said.
"We were almost going to retire," she said, as she hosed out the interior of one of her trucks. That dream was alive until the latest flood.
"A mess," said landlord Tom Longo, as he watched a tow truck from The Barnyard pull a damaged barn away from where a box truck leaned against a power pole. "It wasn't even that big a storm."
It was big enough to leave a layer of silt on the floor of the cafe, the U-Haul shop and Mark It, a graphic design and uniform printing firm next door. The carpet at Hunt Valley Consignments, several steps off the street level, was still damp as a small army of box fans ran Monday morning.
Colleen Barzyk, who owns Mark It with husband Dave, has seen worse, when her father Mike O'Shea owned a store there during Hurricane Agnes, but what she got upon arriving Monday was more than she expected.
After hearing horror stories from business owners who have been there longer, Dave Barzyk said they're done on Beaver Run.
"Different location, I'll tell you right now," he said. "I'm not staying here. Three times in the past year and a half, they said?"
After the most recent flood last year, County Councilman Todd Huff told business owners the county could use state and federal emergency grants to buy the flood-prone land and relocate businesses. A year later, that federal grant money has yet to come, said Huff, who visited the affected area late Monday morning. He said he immediately plans to "burn up everybody's phone" to look into the status of the grants.
Huff said other parts of his district, which stretches north to the Pennsylvania line, made it through the storm fine.
"It's a shame that these businesses have to go through this time after time again," Huff said, adding that he and county officials "have been working adamantly to try to rectify this situation. It's unfortunate that we have to wait on the federal government to try to make this process go through."
The last flood cost Mehdizadeh $49,000 and a month of business. Once again, he returned to find his floor destroyed and a high-water mark more than a foot up the wall. He doesn't know what he's going to do next, but his language for federal, state and local heel-dragging was markedly stronger than Huff's.
"They want us to leave," he said. "They want us to die, just go away."
What should county or other government officials do about the flood-prone businesses? Tell us in the comments!