Wednesday, Nov. 10


Westminster subdivision residents pursue city in quest to resolve flooding   Send a link to a friend

[NOV. 10, 2004]  Residents of Lincoln's most affluent subdivision were back in council chambers Tuesday evening to see how the city is proceeding on their recurrent flooding problem.

The residents approached the council in July this year with a video in tow of floodwaters washing through their yards and streets. They say that this has been happening for all of the years that they have lived in their homes, and it happens every time there is a significant rain.

It was noted that a former resident, Mr. Hartman, entreated the council to look into the matter five years ago. But it was also duly noted that this took place under the previous administration and the present council did not have knowledge of the problem.

With no clear evidence of action and no answers in four months, residents Scott Turner, Steve Roti and Garland Brinner attended Tuesday evening's meeting. They wanted to know what has been done so far and what the city will do for them.

Mayor Beth Davis acknowledged that yes, it has taken some time. But first of all we had to determine if it was the city's responsibility, she told them.

That is not yet been determined, but the city did begin research on the possibilities to remedy the problem.

The subdivision sits west of town in back of the Elks golf course. The cause of the problem appears to be that the subdivision was built on a flood plain. It receives runoff from a subdivision above it, the Elks golf course and surrounding farm fields.

Wastewater treatment plant manager Grant Eaton evaluated the setting and determined that there was only one clear option to relieve the excessive waters that back up at the storm sewer. That was to install a larger storm sewer pipe and route the water down toward the Kroger and Wal-Mart plaza. The estimated cost to do this is $400,000 to $600,000.

Another route has been considered, but it runs through a designated animal sanctuary. It is anticipated that the state's Department of Natural Resources will not permit its use.

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Another possibility might be to channel the excess water to a retention pond, but where that could be located is unknown.

Brinner met with Mayor Beth Davis, city attorney Bill Bates and engineers Grant Eaton and Mark Mathon a couple of weeks ago.

In response to why it has taken so long, Eaton said, "We are working at it. We have not forgotten it." It takes time to get engineers and the EPA out and then get plans developed and approved. There are also a lot of other related issues that must be dealt with first, such as the upgrade at the K-Mart lift station, which handles that water flow. It all takes time, he said.

A flow study has been requested, and he is waiting on the results of that before he can recommend anything to the council.

There remains the question of who will be responsible for the costs. It is unknown who first approved the subdivision, which was knowingly built on a flood plain. Surrounding grounds contributing to the problem are county jurisdiction. However, the city annexed the subdivision (and its problems) after it was built.

Residents were considering starting litigation on the matter. But Bates urged them to hold off. "They're [the council] never going to move forward on it until they know what kind of dollars we are talking about here," he said. The council may choose to help you whether it is their responsibility or not, he said.

Chairman Benny Huskins said, "We're doing the best we can."

[Jan Youngquist]

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