Thursday, July 15


Council views west-side subdivision flooding video     Send a link to a friend

[JULY 15, 2004]  A group of citizens living in a subdivision at the west edge of Lincoln came asking the city for help. They would like to find a solution to their frequent and repeated flooding. Steve Roti and Garland Brinner were the main spokesmen for the group. Scott Turner and Dennis from No. 3 Canterbury Lane also spoke.

The homes most affected are located on Westminster Drive and Canterbury Lane, which are low streets in a high-priced housing area just off Fifth Street Road.

A home video made by Catherine Roti showed pictures of water rushing through their yards. With a 5-inch rain those waters reach 3 to 4 feet deep. The flooding occurs whenever there is a heavy rain. It is caused by runoff from the Elks golf course and surrounding farm fields. The local 15-inch storm sewer reaches maximum capacity quickly, and the cul-de-sac will not handle the storm waters.

The streets are frequently under water, leaving behind soil, and presumably farm chemicals, which later becomes dust blowing in the air. Turner is concerned about his daughter's asthma and possible other health hazards from this.

Brinner questioned the city's responsibility since the subdivision was annexed in and presumably there had to be regulations met.

Huskins said he remembers that when the developer, Mark Cattleman, annexed the properties into the city, Cattleman agreed to make everything meet the criteria. “If he did or not, that's beyond my understanding. I don't know,” Huskins said.

“I wouldn't either. I'm just a CPA and a farmer,” Brinner chuckled.

“Well, I'm just a weight enforcer and alderman, I'm not an engineer,” Huskins quipped. He added, “I wouldn't say this is a city problem, I would say it is a developer problem.”

The developer has since gone bankrupt.

Brinner agreed but said, “I think the city has to step in their (the developer's) shoes. I thought the property was annexed into the city with good faith.”

Brinner also cited a similar Supreme Court case, Templeton v. Husk, which requires the city to take care of the water.


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Roti said that the group was in contact with a Mr. Straubridge with the Illinois EPA, and Straubridge suggested that the city takes on responsibility once property is annexed in.

The residents feel that any measure that they might take individually to modify their property to protect themselves will put hardship on their neighbors.

City attorney Bill Bates said that since the water problem existed before the houses were built, it makes it a private property issue that should have been taken up with the developer. It is not a city's problem.

The group emphasized that since they are a part of the city and pay taxes, they feel that they should be able to come to the city to ask for help. “We came here to seek a solution,” Roti said.

Brinner asked if adding 12-inch drop basins in their 15-foot easements would relieve the water to the storm sewer.

Grant Eaton, who manages the city sewer, thinks the 15-inch storm sewer is at maximum capacity during excessive rains for that area now.

Mayor Beth Davis said, “You have a real strong issue here.” She asked Eaton and city engineer Mark Mathon to go out and research the site.

[Jan Youngquist]

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