JULY 23, 2003
MEMBERS PRESENT: Don Williams, President; Phil Baxter, Vice-
President; Carl Conner, Secretary and Karan
ALSO PRESENT: Monte Williams, William Engelbrecht, Jim
Ubelhor and Bill Bivins.
President Williams brought the meeting to order.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
President Williams stated the first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes and they will be taken one at a time, the first of which is for June 25, 2003.
Commissioner Conner made a motion to accept the minutes of June 25, 2003 as presented, 2nd by Commissioner Baxter. Motion carried 2-1.
President Williams asked for a motion for the minutes of July 9, 2003.
Commissioner Baxter made a motion to approve the minutes of July 9, 2003, 2nd by President Williams. Motion carried 3-0.
OAK GROVE SUBDIVISION # 3:
Karan Barnhill, Surveyor stated that the subdivision is an extension of the existing Oak Grove Subdivision and it is basically just a 3-lot subdivision. She explained that they have designed retention on the back of lot 169 which would be in the NE corner of the development. She added that they have met all the storm water retention requirements and if you recall at the last couple of meetings ago there was a remonstrator Mr. Gary May who had concerns about some drainage problems that he had on his lot which would be in the area of discharge of the basin. She stated she went to the property and met with Mr. Ubelhor, Mr. Bivins and Mr. May to try and resolve the problems that exist. Karan said that the existing problem had nothing to do with the subdivision but Mr. Ubelhor was willing to correct the problem because he was the developer of Blue Lake Estates as well. She added that they have a continual drainage problem on the back of his lot with the water standing as the lot wasn’t graded out to the drain to the drainage easement. She explained that what Mr. Bivins and Mr. Ubelhor have agreed to do is design a french drain on Mr. May’s lot to allow the water to drain into a slotted pipe around the back of his lot and to the existing roadway where it will drain to Blue Lake. She also stated that there was discussion about an easement but our attorney advised not to sign an easement as the Drainage Board does not get involved in private drainage easements, the Drainage Board has no authority over those. She stated this would have to be worked out between the property owners. She believes that with the french drain system and the fact that the basin has been revised and pulled the berm off the back of the lot it will become a sheet flow situation and probably drain into the french drain and out into the street. She stated that all the requirements have been met and most of the concerns have been taken care of and that the drainage plans are ready to be approved.
Mr. Bivins stated that the retention is designed to release the water at half the rate it is being released right now rather than at the standard rate that we normally do, so we are trying to do everything we can to protect the neighborhood. He added that it is a dry basin and will be constructed in such a way that it will be able to be mowed.
President Williams asked if there were any comments from the Board or the Public?
Mr. Gary May introduced himself and stated that his questions have to do with what the exact plan is for the drainage basin on the three lots behind his property. He has a drawing of the drainage proposal for his lot, which will involve excavating two sides of his lot ten years after he has been in this house which he thinks is a problem, but he doesn’t know if the plan is for the water from Oak Grove Homes to run on top of the ground on the back of his lot or is it going to be piped into that proposed drainage system?
Mr. Bivins stated he didn’t think Karan had the newer drainage plans. He added that they are extending the pipe into the grass so that there will not be any sheet run-off on Mr. May’s property.
Mr. May asked if it is going in on the North end of his lot?
Mr. Bivins answered that is correct.
Mr. May also stated that he understood the proposal is also for the ditch along the back on the West side of his lot which faces the Oak Grove lots to be dug out and then corrugated plastic pipe put in and pea gravel put on top of it with no top soil or sod. He added that it’s more than just a couple of French drains; it’s a continuous trench that will be filled in with pea gravel.
Mr. Kenny Ubelhor explained that Mr. May’s problem is the same one that everyone has in the winter time when you have a swale that has grass in it, you have a slow release of water and it runs down through there and it keeps the ground soft because the grass holds the water back. He added that in the summer time when the ground is hard the water runs off, a french drain in the bottom of the swale will allow this water in the wintertime to go down into the ground and dry the ground up. He explained that a french drain will catch the dribbling water and suck the water down and there will be grass on top of it also.
There was some confusion as to what Mr. May was told or what he understood. Mr. Ubelhor wanted to put a concrete bottom ditch as that would also solve the problem, but Mr. May didn’t like the look of it. He explained that a french drain is digging a hole about 18 inches deep and put field tile in it with pea gravel in the bottom so the dribbling water will soak into the ground quicker. He added that this will keep it dry so that he can mow his lawn in the wintertime.
Mr. May stated that the plan he is looking at has a cross section view with PVC pipe perforated and pea gravel on top of that.
Mr. Bivins answered that is correct and we can seed it or put sod on it, whichever Mr. May would prefer.
Mr. May stated that he remembered being told that they couldn’t put sod on it because the ground would seep down into the perforated pipe and clog it up.
It was explained they were talking about trees.
Mr. May asked if he had any recourse if there is a problem with this development that is not connected with his property except through this drainage plan, what recourse would he have as a home owner?
Karan answered that if the basin or the development of the three lots is directly affecting his lot, if it has to do with those 3 lots he can come back to Karan and readdress the drainage in the development and try to fix it, but if its just the fact that he does not like the functioning of the drain then that would be a problem between owner and developer, which is a civil matter.
Mr. May stated that the plan as he understands it also includes the French drain into his neighbors property, does the same thing apply as to a problem resolution there, if the County has no interest in this?
Karan answered that if the development of these three lots in that basin is causing the problem then you can come back to us if it is just a problem because you don’t like the way its working or a problem on your lots, then it is a civil matter between you.
Mr. May asked if there was a statute of limitations, he added that he was not clear about this, if the developers have to do an approved drainage plan and if that drainage plan with subsequent development is found to be lacking, then does the County have a role in resolving that kind of problem?
Karan answered that she would do everything in her power to try and correct any problems. She added that there are normally Letters of Credits that are put up so that the County can hold until everything is built according to plan but in this particular case there are no streets being build so there was no letter of credit. But she had never had a problem in which the developer has not worked with her to correct any problems.
Mr. Ubelhor stated that the water that Mr. May is concerned about from the three new lots will not even go across his property except for one corner, his next door neighbor has put up fences and has closed up the waterways. He added that he believes the French Drain will help alleviate his problem.
Mr. May asked Karan if she determined that the fence and pool was not in the approved easement?
Karan answered that it did not appear to be the cause of the problem. She added that in her opinion Mr. May’s problem is because of a low area and the lots above you are draining through your property and also his lot was not graded properly, if it had been graded properly and would have had a swale taking the water along the backs of the lots out to the street and to the lake, Mr. May would not have a problem. She also added that Mr. Ubelhor is making an honest effort to try and correct the problem by putting in the French Drain.
Mr. Ubelhor stated that the lot is graded properly, it has two feet of fall and is 125-150 feet wide with 2 feet of fall from one end to the other and its got grass and a bank so it can be mowed. He added that the problem is because the water released upstream from his lot dribbles out as the grounds up above get short grass on it, so the water runs off quicker. He stated that the French Drain should alleviate the problem.
Mr. May wanted to point out that Mr. Ubelhor is the developer who developed all the surrounding lots so it is not a matter of numerous developers working on the lots, Mr. Ubelhor also seeded Mr. May’s lawn.
Commissioner Conner stated that for his understanding the problem is an already existing problem and is not the result of the work being done on the plan as of yet, is that correct?
Mr. May stated that they started working on the property yesterday and he had a problem before yesterday.
Commissioner Conner stated so the problem is not a result of the work being done from the proposal of this plat?
Mr. May answered no and when he came to the previous meetings his concern was that his problem would be exacerbated by this development plan.
Commissioner Conner asked if Mr. May was personally satisfied with Mr. Ubelhor’s proposal to putting in the drainage to eliminate or attempt to eliminate the problem that existed prior to any work being done on this adjacent property?
Mr. May answered that he thinks it probably will but he is still unclear about the grass part, does he let it grow over it?
Mr. Ubelhor explained that there will be grass growing over the drain and the developers will plant it. He went on to explain about farmer’s tiles in their fields and how this would help with his water problem.
Mr. May asked if it wasn’t for the development for Oak Grove Homes and if he came before the Drainage Board with the drainage problem that he called to the Boards attention because of the notice from the Planning Commission, would the Board have been any assistance to him as a home owner with the drainage problems that he has?
President Williams answered that it is outside our legal preview, our primary function is to maintain legal drains, and usually this would be a civil one between you and the developer. He added that this particular developer would probably address it whatever the situation.
Mr. May asked that it was not a matter of a statute of limitations; once the deed is transferred the developer is off the hook as far as the County is concerned.
President Williams stated that he could not answered that question and the Drainage Board Attorney is not here to assist us in this question.
Mr. May asked if an affirmative vote from this Board obligate him to have the French Drain and the other drain put onto his property.
President Williams answered that it does not.
Commissioner Conner stated that his personal opinion is that is something that would have to be worked out with the developer, however he thinks that as a Board they are attempting to take into consideration his concerns and the Board wants to work together to try and resolve this issue, but from a legal perspective there is not anything this Board could do but we can listen to his concerns as an individual as well as Mr. Ubelhor’s proposal. He added that from Mr. May answering his questions, that he already had a problem prior to this even becoming a project before any work was done on this plat and secondly, Mr. Ubelhor is trying to make an honest effort to help Mr. May when in actuality the probability from a legal prospective he does not have any responsibility to have to do that.
President Williams asked the Board and the Public if there was any further discussion?
Commissioner Conner made a motion to approve the drainage request as presented for Oak Grove Subdivision #3 and he added that he feels confident that Mr. Ubelhor will do what he said in regards to working with Mr. May to help resolve his matter, 2nd by Commissioner Baxter. Motion carried 3-0.
ENGELBRECHT PLACE-AMENDED PLANS:
Karan explained this was an amended plan for the existing plan that was approved several months ago, they are moving the basin down to the South and had to lengthen the structures coming in and also changed some of the elevations. She added that the storage will be less but is still more than is required; this is just an amendment to the existing plan for the relocation and changes to the basin. She stated that it does meet all requirements; they have made all the corrections that she has asked for.
Commissioner Conner stated he wanted to bring up an issue that he had received complaints on that concerns a manhole in this area.
Jim Biggerstaff explained that the Town of Newburgh reviewed the plans and stated that they were ok, and then it was rescinded because they felt there was not adequate capacity on Vann Road so there was a redesign and it went in another direction. He stated that there is some more work to be done on the erosion control but he met with all these people in regards to the drainage. He met with the property owners all the way to the ditch at Vann Road, which are about 5 property owners. He explained what had happened is that the original drainage plans on the site were not followed, so he met with the property owners and told them he would redo a plan for them for approximately $100.00 per person. He added that his crew shot the elevations and the property owners were supposed to have met with their association because it involves this plus the ditch out to Vann Road. He also stated that when everything is completed it will all go to the retention basin, so when this plan is finalized we will be decreasing the water in the area by probably about half of what it was.
Commissioner Conner asked if his company was going to go in and grade that part down and reseed it?
Mr. Engelbrecht stated it had already been done.
Commissioner Conner stated that as of last week it had not been done.
Mr. Engelbrecht stated they had put in matting in for erosion control.
Mr. Biggerstaff was unaware of that part but said he would check on it.
Commissioner Conner stated that as of last week it looked like it had all been dug up and it does not look like any grading has been done or anything seeded. He also asked who is going to accept the responsibility to correct this?
Mr. Engelbrecht or Mr. Biggerstaff, it was not clear who stated it, but he stated they were going to correct it.
Commissioner Conner asked if the property owners were aware of this?
Mr. Engelbrecht stated he didn’t remember the company’s name, but they had come in and graded it and put some matting down but he doesn’t know if they are finished yet.
Commissioner Conner suggested he did not know what the time table is, but if they could get in there now and get it finished as it did look very bad. He also stated that the County has some responsibility to be followed up on also. He added that last year they added a curb, chip and sealed the road to help those property owners and now it needs to be filled in.
Commissioner Conner stated that if they have the dirt close by the County could work with them and compensate them also for doing the work as he thinks it is the County’s responsibility and he would not ask anyone to do anything for free.
Mr. Biggerstaff also talked about a drainage easement in Old Hickory that was never finished and it just sheet flows. He added that they suggested some pipe and some inlets, but all of the neighbors can’t get together on it.
Karan asked if they had received their evaluation from Amy Steeples at the Soil Conservation Service about the erosion control.
Mr. Engelbrecht answered that they had and were starting work on it today.
It was also discussed that Mr. Engelbrecht was going to build his own home on the property where the retention lake was going to be so that he would retain ownership.
Commissioner Conner made a motion to approve the revised drainage plans as submitted for Engelbrecht Place, 2nd by Commissioner Baxter. Motion carries 3-0.
Karan stated that once again as a result of the S.R. 66 widening project, Mr. Jim Jesse from Blankenburger Brothers has presented a temporary ditch crossing on Libbert Road in Edward Ditch.
Karan explained that they did not realize this was also a legal drain until after the fact and the papers were on her desk when she returned from vacation. She added that this was basically just a formality since it was already done.
Commissioner Baxter made a motion to approve the request for Edwards Ditch culvert at S.R. 66 widening project, 2nd by Commissioner Conner. Motion carried 3-0.
HERITAGE PLACE DRAINAGE:
Karan told the Board that they should have received a package in June regarding this matter, she received a phone call from Mr. Monte Williams around the month of May and he had some concerns because the drainage ditch along his North property line was blocked and causing problems in the drainage. She explained that she went and looked at it and had been out there several times before so she was aware of the problem. Karan added that she took some pictures and have highlighted the problems, there are several obstructions that exist and the ditch seems to be meandering along that whole area, but it looks as though the ditch has changed course because of the obstructions and she does not know whose obstructions are. She explained that what she did was take the plat and roughly went from the center line of the cul-de-sac, put some stakes in to show basically where the property lines would be and in accordance to where the blockages would be.
She explained the pictures to the Board.
Karan stated that it appears to her that the main problem is the berm along Monte Williams’s property seems to be pushing over and making the water meander around, however, the subdivision plat of Heritage Place appears to show that there should be a drainage ditch along that line as well. She added that she did not know where the ditch is supposed to be, but the ditch is definitely being blocked and is causing some problems.
She has talked to all of the property owners, April Will owns one of the lots and there was some concern from Mr. Williams that she was having dirt piles hauled in by Stradtner and placed on the lot for something. She has also talked to Mr. Wilhelmus who owns the other lot in Heritage Place and he has some concerns as he thinks the mound of dirt was being pushed onto him by Monte and re-directing the flow of water.
Karan explained that she wanted to bring this before the Board with the statutes that read:
A natural drainage way cannot be blocked and there is a procedure that the Drainage Board can go through to have that removed, you have to file petitions, serve notices and go through a procedure to do that. She added that she has never done this before, as she has never had to. She wanted the Board’s Attorney, Don Ashley’s input as to how to proceed with this problem, but he has been called out of town on an emergency. She has notified all of the property owners for discussion purposes. But she requested that this be continued until the next meeting so Mr. Ashley can advise this Board as to what course of action it can take.
President Williams asked for any comments from the Board? From the Public?
Mr. Monte Williams stated that historically this drainage ran diagonally across his property and across his property he has run a 12-inch corrugated steel pipe and it has drained adequately until the ditch bottom filled up. He added that the invert on his 12-inch corrugated pipe is now 18-inches below the bottom of the ditch. He added the top of the ditch is supposed to begin at his North border, it doesn’t go down his border, and it is all on the property of April Will. He stated that he doesn’t know of any case where he has extended his dirt over his property line, in fact the ditch’s South border is supposed to start the North border of his property, but if you can show him where he is into that ditch he will gladly clean it out. He stated that the problem is that one instance Stradtner dumped a load of dirt right in the middle of the ditch and Mr. Williams said he complained to the County Surveyor and she had him move it, but what he did was pull the dirt from the center of the ditch up along the edge and the next rain it washed it right back. He added that another situation that has aggravated it is Mr. Wilhelmus has let his next-door neighbor put his yard waste in the ditch and it has washed down and covered up Mr. William’s outflow of his 12-inch corrugated pipe. He added that the ditch is not deep enough and he had no problem until there came a big rain and now with it clogged up it is running all over his property. Mr. Williams stated he thinks that describes the problem.
Mr. David Mullen introduced himself to the Board and stated he was representing the Sudamar Heights Homeowners Association. He stated he wasn’t sure of the content that was going to be discussed today but he informed the Board that there are a tremendous amount of problems and he has worked with the residents of Sudamar Heights and also with Mr. Wilhelmus and other neighbors. He stated that the information that they have brought up is that Mr. Williams built up his property on the corner with the idea of putting in a new building, which he has applied to the Area Plan Commission last year and since then has been dropped. He added that in that process has put huge rocks, concrete and other materials to build the property up and has covered it over with dirt.
Mr. Mullen stated this is according to Mr. Williams’s neighbors, that Mr. Williams is the one who has caused the ditch to fill in and has continued to push it onto Mr. Wilhelmus’s property.
Mr. Mullen stated he has not had any contact with the Will family but this problem comes up because there is a tremendous amount of problems with Mr. Williams’s property on out lots 1 & 2 of Sudamar Heights Subdivision plus the problems that he has on the commercial property also that runs back to the other subdivision. He added that this particular problem was supposed to have been addressed with the drainage plan that Mr. Williams submitted last year. He stated that he did not know what has been submitted now so that the County or someone else will take care of his problem but he would like to see something done about all of the drainage problems that exist in the area. He wants to know what they can do such as file a complaint, what steps of action can they take against this problem of Mr. Williams moving dirt & blocking drainage on Out lot 2 South of Wildwood Drive which is on the map that is being passed around. He added that Mr. Williams has cost the County a tremendous amount reconstructing and cleaning the ditches along highway 66 since 1997 and the State Highway Department has had at tax payers expense paid $6,000.00 to clean up Mr. William’s messes along 66 along with a very adamant state inspector who insists that Mr. Williams is consistently selling the dirt off of the State Right-of-Way and transporting it onto other parts of the property. Mr. Mullens stated that he thinks Mr. Williams has caused the problems himself and that what the Surveyor is referring to is the owner or whatever particular person is causing the problem. He added that he doesn’t know what other kind of evidence he needs except for the testimony of the direct Northern neighbors of Mr. Williams and also with collaborating evidence from the other property owners that live along Oakwood on the berm and of the filling in of the ditch.
Mr. Mullens asked about the status of Mr. Williams request to build?
Karan answered there was a meeting a few months ago to explain to him what had to be done and she added that what the hold up in that particular case is that he wants to discharge storm water into the State Right-of-Way and he has to get a permit from the State Highway to do so. She explained that Mr. Williams has filed a plan but there were some things that needed to be added to it and they have not been forwarded to INDOT to correct the things INDOT has asked for and INDOT also requested a bond that has not been filed as yet.
President Williams stated that this discussion is not about a legal drain and as you heard from our last discussion, if it is outside a legal drain, this Board has very little legal power. He added that without our Attorney being present he would not be willing to take any action, as he believes their only action is civil.
Mr. Mullens stated that they have a lot more problems than these and if the County could give them any help at all it would be appreciated since they have been battling Mr. Williams since 1988 when he went before the Area Plan Commissioner and agreed to get rid of the compost pile of which he now has another one and take care of his drainage problems and he still has not done it. He added that this has been going on for 16 years with Mr. Williams moving dirt and constantly digging and then trying to blame it on everyone else.
Karan stated that for a clarification of what Mr. Williams stated, there is Indiana Code but it is under drainage requirements and we have never had to proceed in any fashion in that way because we have never had this come up before, that is why we need to wait for our Attorney to review this problem to see if we have any recourse or not.
President Williams stated this is strictly just a discussion item so he doesn’t see any need for us to forward a motion but his thoughts are that we look at this issue at the nest meeting on August 13, 2003. He added that he has serious doubts that the Board would be able to do anything but the Board’s Attorney should be present at that meeting and we will have legal counsel which we definitely need on this issue.
Mr. Williams starting questioning Mr. Mullens as to why he was at this meeting representing other people when he wasn’t even an adjoining property owner.
Mr. Mullens answered that he lived in the same subdivision.
President Williams explained to the gentlemen that this was a public meeting and they needed to step outside and discuss this matter.
President Williams explained that this item was not on the agenda but the Surveyor has some input about the awarded contract last meeting to Mr. Bigge. He asked Karan to explain to the Board.
Karan stated that she has had concerns about this project every since the job that was being preformed by Dave Gillium (DG Construction) took place and in that job which was South of Jenner Road, the bank during repair collapsed and it is a mess. She added that she still have to figure out how that matter is going to be corrected. She explained that Cypress carries a large amount of water and the banks are already sliding and are in a tabletop fashion all the way through the whole creek.
Karan stated that what they were going to try to do with Cypress Creek as it is over a mile section was to try and repair and pull the banks up and during pre-bid several of the contractors were concerned that the vegetation that is on the banks if you grab ahold of it and pull them up with the back hole and try to smooth them back in with the erosion control matting that it would just slide back in. They sprayed the vegetation and it is dead and she is afraid that what will happen is that when we pull it back and try to pack it in and get the bank stabilized that the money is going to be wasted on the erosion control matting that the put down as well as the money for the back hole and operator. She explained that after the contract had been awarded she talked to several of the contractors that had bid on the project the first time that were wary and also with Mr. Bigge who was awarded the contract who also stated that he was not comfortable with this project.
Karan added that her and Mr. Bigge’s concerns are not just about the money, it is about whatever is done to Cypress Creek banks that it is going to stay. She added that there are second thoughts all around but she doesn’t need any action from the Board at this time as she needs the Attorney’s input to see if there is a way to do away with the contract with Bigge as he also agrees and is not comfortable with the specifications of the project.
Mr. Bigge has offered to slope the banks back and doing it the right way and she agrees, Mr. Bigge has offered to do it at not a great deal more expense than what we were spending to repair the banks. She would like to see if Mr. Ashley agrees with her and Mr. Bigge to pull the contract back and re-visit it and see if we can slope the banks back and do it the right way and be done with it at very little additional cost and have a good finished product that we can be proud of and we know will stay.
Commissioner Conner stated if the scope of the project were going to be changed, he would prefer to re-bid the whole project.
President Williams stated he also thinks the project will have to be re-bid.
Commissioner Conner again stated that if the scope of the project is going to be changed then it needs to be re-bid, but we need to be advised by our Attorney before any decision is made.
Karan stated she just needs advice from the Attorney on if we can pull the contract that has already been accepted and also if Henry Bigge is ok with it since he was awarded the contract.
Commissioner Conner stated that the Board has not really had any trouble with Bigge in regards to quality of work.
Karan answered that Mr. Bigge has always done good work and also works well with her staff.
President Williams asked if this was going to be brought back to the Board on August 13, 2003?
Karan answered yes and in addition to kind of extend on the job that Dave Gillium was doing on the other side of Jenner Road has also turned into a big mess and there is going to have to be additional money spent on this project as well. She explained that there is a lake on the other side of the road has a berm that accesses the back of Mr. Hillenbrand’s property and when Mr. Gillium worked on it when it was really wet (she added that she couldn’t believe he tried to work on it being so wet) the lake was seeping through the berm and his machinery was vibrating and went down into the creek where he had to dig himself out and had to dig the berm out so Mr. Hillenbrand’s road has probably dropped 2-3 feet. Mr. Hillenbrand is being very reasonable and very nice about it but when it dries up she has a plan to put terra-meshing, which is something like gabion baskets only longer and they have a tail on them. She added that the tail goes back in the berm along with rock on top with some material that allows the water to seep through but the baskets hold it in place.
President Williams told Karan that when she has the plan put together she needs to present it to the Board.
President Williams stated there was pest control and stipends for a total of $1,156.38.
Commissioner Conner made a motion to approve the claims as submitted in the dollar amount of $1,156.38, 2nd by Commissioner Baxter. Motion carried 3-0.
President Williams asked if there was anything else to come before the meeting, there being none he ask for a motion to adjourn.
Commissioner Baxter made a motion to adjourn, 2nd by Commissioner Conner. Motion carried 3-0.