Wednesday, April 14

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Flooding and sewer woes
brought before council    
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[APRIL 14, 2004]  It was a theme night at the Lincoln City Council work session on Tuesday. The majority of subjects that were discussed or put on the agenda to discuss in the future were mostly addressed to the streets and alleys or the sewer departments and were water-related. City aldermen heard a request that could bring resolution to a long-standing complaint from two Campus View Drive residents. Campus View Drive runs along the west side and in back of Lincoln Christian College.

The men say that they and their neighbors have been paying city taxes since the area was annexed into city limits in 1973 but receive few benefits, such as sewer access, as afforded to other city taxpayers. They contend that this has driven their property values down.

Alderman Verl Prather pointed out that city residents actually pay a separate fee for sewer services; those areas that don't have city sewer hookup don't get charged.

Kevin Bateman and Mike Robbins have lived in their homes for a number of years, and in all that time they have had to deal with toilets that won't flush and drains that won't go down anytime it rains substantially. With the last rain, Bateman said, "I couldn't use the lower portion of my house. We had company over and they had to leave."

When it rains the water all heads for the lowest point in the neighborhood, which is a portion of Bateman's back yard. A few lots up from there is the next lowest point, in Robbins' yard.

According to the residents, the two homes were annexed into the city after they were built, and the owners have had to cope with the problems for many years. They have been coming to the city in an attempt to find relief for years.

Complicating the situation is that the portion of the road that contributes to the flooding is beyond the city-owned portion of the road. Campus View is owned by the city up to the curve. The houses sit at the end of the block beyond the curve.

Past attempts to resolve the problem have been thwarted each time when research has found flood control for the area to be cost-prohibitive. Grant Eaton of Environmental Management Corporation said that they have looked at the area before. Redirecting water is always an expensive project, and in this case it would involve tearing up an area of the street and putting it back in and other large expenses.

 

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Spend hundreds of thousands of dollars or less than $20,000

The residents are now offering a low-cost resolution that would settle the matter for them. They are suggesting that the city could take a less expensive means to solve the complications related to the flooding.

The two men have consulted leading septic system services in the area and have it in writing from both D&D Sewer Services and Rankin's Backhoe and Septic Service that moving the septic systems to a higher point in the yards along with raising the depth of the leads will eliminate their septic problems.

Campus View Drive up to the curve, which contributes to flooding those yards, belongs to the city.

However, City Attorney Bill Bates pointed out that the city may not be able to participate in funding the septic field changes. The city can not use public funds to finance a private project.

Other concerns are: What if the septic change doesn't eliminate the problem? What if the homes are sold? The agreement would not be binding with future homeowners.

According to the owners, they feel they cannot even sell their homes if they wanted to because of this problem. They are making the request as a one-time only expense to the city to resolve the problem. They will sign off ever asking the city to do anything with their septic system in the future.

The city agrees that city-owned property contributes to the flooding problem and would like to do something to help the residents.

The matter will be discussed in the near future after further research and consideration.

[Jan Youngquist]

 

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