MARCH 3, 2004
MEMBERS PRESENT: PHILLIP H. BAXTER, PRESIDENT
CARL JAY CONNER, VICE-PRESIDENT
DON WILLIAMS, SECRETARY
DON ASHLEY, ATTORNEY FOR BOARD
KARAN BARNHILL, SURVEYOR
ROD MADDEN, DEPUTY SURVEYOR
ALSO PRESENT: JAMES BIGGERSTAFF, BILL BIVINS
JERRY AIGNER, SHERRI PHILLIPS
KIM JAMES, JOHN HYNDMAN
President Baxter brought the meeting of March 3, 2004 to order.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
President Baxter stated the first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes from February 25, 2004 and asked if the Board had read the minutes.
Commissioner Conner made a motion to table the minutes until next months Drainage Board meeting, 2nd by Commissioner Williams. Motion carried 3-0.
KELLY DITCH QUOTE OPENING:
Karan Barnhill, Surveyor stated that 6 quotes had been turned in.
The quotes for the Kelly Ditch project were handed to Don Ashley, Attorney for the Drainage Board who open and read them as follows:
Commissioner Williams asked if all of the contractors were at the pre-bid meeting?
Karan answered that they were all present and received the same information.
Commissioner Williams made a motion to award the contract to DG Construction for the amount of $14,400. 2nd by Commissioner Conner. Motion carried 3-0.
VICTORIA BLUFFS SUBDIVISION:
Karan stated that Victoria Bluffs Subdivision has been previously approved. She stated there is no change in the drainage, the only difference in this plan from the other is that the lot sizes have been reconfigured and there will be more lots that are smaller. She added that this is just a courtesy type of approval as the drainage has already been approved and installed.
Commissioner Conner asked how many more lots are being added?
Mr. Biggerstaff answered that they went from 80-foot lots to 90-foot lots.
Karan answered that they did have 6 lots and now they have 9 in the one portion and in the other there were 6 lots, now there are 7.
There was discussion on whether she had the correct plans with her as there had been more than one brought in. She added that lots 1 thru 9 are smaller.
Mr. Biggerstaff explained that originally the lots were larger and that they have eliminated 3 lots.
President Baxter asked if there were any remonstrators?
Commissioner Conner made a motion to approve the drainage plan for Victoria Bluffs Subdivision, 2nd by Commissioner Williams. Motion carried 3-0.
MALLARD LAKE SUBDIVISION:
Karan stated that Mallard Lake Subdivision has 100 residential lots located on Heim Road and a large portion of the property is located in the flood plain, which is denoted on the drainage plan by a line coming down the middle. She added that all of the area below that is in the 100 year flood plain and they have went to the DNR and filed a plan with them. She explained that DNR has given them a conditional letter of map amendment and what that means is that they have approved for the owners to fill within that area and the flood plain elevation was established at 388 and the 100 year flood plain is also 388, so in a lot of the areas down south there will be a fill from anywhere from 4 to 8 feet.
She also explained that they are creating a lake to serve as a retention area and she will let them explain that portion. She added that a portion of the lake or the retention area lies outside of the boundaries of the subdivision and she has required that they provide a storm water retention easement that will contain the portion that is not located within the platted area and that way it will not be disturbed and will always be there. She added that everything within the development drains to the lake by way of drainage structures.
Karan stated that she doesn’t understand the working of hydraulics and what is going to happen, but her concern is that when you fill this amount of area to that magnitude what impact is that going to have on the areas downstream that already flood? She added that if you take an area and fill it in where it already holds water, the water that is normally being held there has got to go somewhere and that is her only concern about this development.
She stated that they have met all of the drainage, they have enough capacity in their lake to store the storm water coming off of the development and the plan does meet all of the requirements.
Karan also added that they have agreements for wetlands in this area to be traded off with the state to create more wetlands but she doesn’t know what the status is and they can explain that agreement to the Board.
Bill Bivins, Engineer explained that they are filling in approximately 8 acres of land that is in the flood zone. He stated that the Lake Group who owns it and one of the partners is Jerry Aigner and he can explain about that, but they have sold 30 acres to the State for them to make wetlands and this land lies just to the South of this subdivision. He also stated that the State is going to remove 4 to 5-feet of dirt in this area to create more wetlands and they feel that what they are doing is actually going from 8 acres to a 30 acre wetland and they feel that it balances off as they are creating more wetlands.
Commissioner Conner asked if he understood Karan correctly, she stated 8 to 4-feet but he thinks she means 4-feet to 8-feet of additional fill.
Karan stated that in some places there would be 4-feet of fill and in others 8-feet so that it would be up to 388 which would be above flood plain.
Mr. Bivins explained that the dirt would be taken from different places, the State would be giving them some from where the wetlands are going to be, some from where they are digging the lake and from some places where it is higher so it will balance out.
Commissioner Conner asked where the lake would be located in relationship to the highway?
Mr. Bivins showed Commissioner Conner on the drainage plan that they were considerable distance from the Highway.
Commissioner Williams asked Karan if she was telling the Board that she didn’t know where the water was going to go?
Karan answered she was kind of saying that, but her concern is that when you look at it in this way, you have Pigeon Creek that drains poorly anyway as it is in bad shape and the water when it backs up in Pigeon Creek, it goes in the low lying areas and there is always water standing. She added that if you take an area and fill it up where the water has always stood, then that water has to go somewhere and what she is saying is that she doesn’t know what impact this is going to have and she would feel better if there could be an engineering study that showed that this water was going to go to the wetlands and that there would be no impact on the neighbors. She understands that the people that already have water standing in their backyards do not want anymore and she thinks that it might but without all of the information she doesn’t know.
Commissioner Conner asked that when she speaks of the people around it, he asked her to show him on the drainage plan as he was of the opinion that there is not too much out there in the way of residential. He added that he was not familiar with the area, but here is Heim Road in relation to the site and he has traveled Hwy. 62 a great deal and as you travel along, there is generally water that stands in places and almost has been to the top of the Hwy. He asked where the residential concern is?
Karan showed Commissioner Conner where the residential property was on the plan and then told of a complaint she had just recently received where a house that was built up and where it was built up the water was impounding on the people next to them and she is afraid that the same thing will happen here.
Commissioner Conner stated so we are talking West of Heim Road and asked what the population is in that area?
Karan answered that she did not know what the population was?
Commissioner Conner asked if she has been down in that area and have dealt with this, what he meant by population and he apologized for using the inappropriate term but is there a few houses or a large number of houses?
Karan answered that there are probably 10 to 15 houses and also new houses being built.
Commissioner Conner asked if there were any new subdivisions in the area being built?
Karan answered yes along Heim Road.
Mr. Bivins stated there is nothing to the West, there is one to the East.
There was discussion about how many homes and a lady in the audience stated there is probably about 100 homes.
Mr. Bivins stated that is on the other side of the road.
Commissioner Conner asked Karan about her expressing her concern about not knowing where the water is going to drain so he would ask her what is the process that her office needs to take before she feels comfortable with the plans?
Karan stated she did not know she had not thought about that aspect of it.
Commissioner Conner stated that a decision has to be made one way or the other.
Karan stated she thinks she would like something from DNR that would say that this subdivision is not going to impact the land-owners around it by the filling.
Jerry Aigner from the Lake Group introduced himself to the Board and stated that Hydrolology is something that is out of our realm and he can’t say that if you pour out a gallon of water into a lake and the lake is already running over, how far back that gallon of water is going. He added that they have not done that study and they have never been required to do this sort of study in subdivisions where they have given us permission to fill a floodway. He also stated that they went to the same agencies they have always used and they received a C.L.O.M.R., then they gave us permission to fill and that was the first thing we had to do.
Mr. Aigner stated that some of the people that are here to remonstrate against this subdivision live approximately a mile or so from where we are actually going to build this subdivision. He stated he did not know how much this was going to affect them, but there is flooding out there in the Pigeon Creek area and as a developer we certainly don’t want to build house and have problems. He stated that the houses in that area are up high and he does not think that what they are filling will flood their houses, but the ones that are farther away he did not know that answer. He added that if they need to do a hydraulogy study he doesn’t know how extensive they can get as we get water from Gibson County and that is why it backs up here and it is not flood water its back water.
Mr. Aigner also talked about the subdivision that the Town of Chandler gave permission to build and the land that the Commissioners bought to also build a wet lands to alleviate some flooding. He again offered to do a hydraulic study if it would make Karan feel better about this development.
Karan stated she doesn’t normally recommend that hydraulic studies be done but she doesn’t know what kind of impact all of this filling in will have.
Mr. Aigner stated they would do whatever they could, but they felt like the agencies they have already gone through would have said something because when you build up a floodway these agencies have criteria to go by.
Karan asked Bill Bivins if when he sent the plans to DNR did they ask for any information on the surrounding grounds or did he just send them information on this particular piece of property?
Mr. Bivins asked Jim Biggerstaff to explain as he had done that paperwork.
Mr. Biggerstaff answered they submitted to DNR and they said they could remove this acreage and put in fill to this elevation. He further stated he thinks that what they are talking about is modeling, DNR requires modeling for watersheds. He added that they submit two ways and the reason is because on a C.L.O.M.R. that gives you the right to fill in a flood plain and then we come to the Drainage Board and get certification of the house at that elevation.
Karan asked about a CLOMR, that when you raise it to that elevation you are certifying only to the elevation of the first floor of that lot.
Mr. Biggerstaff interrupted Karan and answered that he is not talking about lots he is talking about acreage.
Karan stated then you will raise the whole thing and get it removed, but what she is saying is that when he sends the information after the acreage has been raised, then do you send modeling at that time?
Mr. Biggerstaff answered that they did this on Victoria, you actually model the watershed.
Karan asked and you did that when you sent Mallard Lake plans off?
Mr. Biggerstaff answered we did C.L.O.M.R., you do this in certifications.
Karan stated so before a house is built you send this back to DNR for more approvals.
Sherri Phillips, Area Plan Commission Director answered that they have established a base flood elevation at 388 and if it is filled to that then they can give a permit without it being removed it would have to be filled certified to an as-built, but what they are saying is, they sent it to FEMA and FEMA said if you fill this ground to 388 they have to re-submit it once it is filled and they will remove it, so what they are saying is that they will approve it as a fill at that time to that elevation. She added that they are not saying it is or is not going to do anything next door.
Karan stated that they don’t do any studies at all when it goes up there as far as what the impact is going to have on the area’s around it, they are just dealing with that particular piece of property.
Mr. Biggerstaff explained that at Victoria they had the industrial park so they had to model that area and then figure out how much it raises and in that case it went down as they removed a bridge.
Karan asked if she recommends approval of this subdivision subject to going back to DNR and having the modeling done, can you do that without a large expense?
Mr. Biggerstaff answered that to model Victoria the cost was approximately $10,000.00.
Mr. John Hyndman who resides at 9655 Heim Road stated he lives approximately 1-1/2 miles from this project and his biggest concern is flooding as he has two water marks on a tree behind his house that stands at creek bank level right now with one at 8-foot and the other is at 10-foot. He added that is how deep it gets and that Mr. Aigner is correct when saying that a lot of our problems is because of Gibson County cleaned and straighten their ditch, which is what you are not supposed to do because of erosion. He stated that as far as the information on the impact he read an article from US Geological Services as follows:
“For every acre that you fill 1-foot deep with fill it will displace 325,851 gallons of water.”
He stated that the 4-1/2 acre lake just 1-foot deep would displace almost 1,500,000 gallons of water and the lake is going to probably be 8 to 10-foot deep and Mr. Aigner is correct when he stated that the biggest problem is that Pigeon Creek as a drainage area and flood area has never really been taken seriously. He also talked about one of his neighbors (John Greybill) who has built a 3-acre lake which is 16-18 feet deep and was built by damming up a valley that Pigeon Creek used to flood, so think how much water he took out of the flood area. He added that Heim Road is being built up with nice new houses every day, but the more that people build and build their ground up the more flooding we are going to have and it is getting worse quick. He stated that with a project of this magnitude it will have a big impact on the amount of water that gets taken out of the flood zone and he is afraid that it is going to create some serious problems if it is not looked at now as if this project is approved then the next one will have to be approved too without there being a study.
Mr. Hyndman stated that if you would take the creek bank level and take all of that dirt and bring it up to the front of the property it won’t change the flood plain, but if you bring in any additional fill or if you build a lake in the flood zone that is how much water is going to be displaced. He also talked about a neighbor down the road who had raised his ground probably 5-6 feet above his neighbors and all of his water is running in their yards. He stated this is the house that was on channel 25 last year that they showed the owners sand bagging to save it. He wants the Board to know how serious this is and stated that Pigeon Creek probably needs to be dredged out.
Karan stated that DNR did a study in which they sent canoe’s down the creek a couple of years ago and found several log jams which have now moved. She added this Board has been allotted by our representatives “Build Indiana” monies, but they froze the money before we got it to remove the jams. She stated that its not that we’re not taking this seriously but you have to go through DNR to get approval to do anything to Pigeon Creek and they are very meticulous and costly.
Mr. Hyndman stated that he has talked to people that said when they dredged the creek years ago it was the worst thing they could have done as they cut all of the trees and it didn’t take but a couple of good floods to wash the dirt back into the creek. He just wants the Board to know how concerned they are about doing a flood study before all of this goes too far.
Kim James who owns 8633 and 8655 Heim Road which is approximately a ¼ of a mile West, just over the Pigeon Creek Bridge from this development and it has been asked how many homes would be impacted by this development and she believes that it would be 60 to 100 houses in Warrick County that would be West of the development and those include those in Baugh City and along Old Boonville Highway on the opposite side. She further stated that she had a statement that she would like to read to the Board that states how she and her neighbors feel.
She read as follows: “The State of Indiana Code Title 14 Article 28 Chapter 3 Section 1 states that the General Assembly finds that the law of lives and property the disruption of Commerce and Government Services and the unsanitary conditions caused by floods all of which are detrimental to health, safety and welfare of the people of Indiana are a matter of deep concern, those thoughts reflect and mirror the thoughts of myself and my neighbors. Section 2 of the same article 28 continues to state that structural measures alone do not provide an adequate solution to flood problems and therein lies our concern for this development project proposed by the construction company. Warrick County is experiencing rapidly a growth, which is important and extremely beneficial to all in our community. The added housing and support to business that this growth of population brings increases our tax base enabling us to better our schools, roads and services. While all of these benefits are eagerly anticipated we have a duty as citizens, developers and County Government to insure that this development and the master plan in general is accomplished in a responsible manner. I feel that allowing housing especially such a density of housing to be constructed in a flood prone area is a bold action of irresponsibility. Flooding is the number 1 natural hazard in Indiana and all of the United States resulting in more damage and loss of life than fires and earthquakes combined. The statistics for the irresponsible development of flood areas are overwhelming according to the statistics provided by the Indiana Association for flood plain and storm water management over 30 million dollars was spent in temporary housing costs, insurance flood claims, small business loans and public assistance in 1997 the last year of serious flooding in the State. These figures are so daunting that they have prompted action by several Indiana Counties including our neighboring Vanderburgh County to conduct buy out projects to move homes out of the flood plain as compared with many Indiana Counties, Warrick has little large scale development in these treacherous areas and with all of the available and developable ground here in the County, my neighbors and I are attempting to understand why this County would approve such a project. With over 1000 feet of frontage on Pigeon Creek that she owns and over 27 acres in the proposed flood ground that is adjoining in less than ¼ of a mile from this project she feels that her property will be severely affected by the hazard of this additional run-off created by the filling of the land and the street curbing, paving and guttering. The additional flooding and resulting damage of farm acreage and pastureland will mean a loss for me. Title 14 Article 28 Chapter 1 Section 22 states a permit will be issued to an applicant only if that applicant has clearly proven that the structure, deposit, etc will not constitute an unreasonable hazard to the safety of life or property, she does not believe the construction company has proven that they will not create an additional and unreasonable hazard for those of us downstream from their project and in conclusion she would like to remind the committee that each approval of a request sets a precedence for all other development. Warrick County is an excellent community with tremendous potential and with diligent effort we can assure the health, safety, and prosperity of our citizens.”
She also added that she too has a lake on her property that is approximately 3 acres and it was a remedy for flooding and it has absolutely no affect on flooding when it is the rainy season as it overflows and of course floods the farm ground. She stated her fear is that by having all of those homes developed and mainly filling in the flood plain that it will create a further problem for the rest of the residents that are already in place.
Commissioner Williams asked Ms. James where her property was located?
She answered that she is just West of the bridge on Heim Road, just west of Pigeon Creek on the South side of her road, the same side as the development.
Jerry Aigner stated that he did not want Ms. James to think they are irresponsible because they purchased this ground before there was even a bridge in there and a lot of these homes owners received a good deal from us when they bought their homes so we do consider them neighbors and hate to be called irresponsible. He added that they did not want to put anyone in that position because he can’t guarantee the landowners that his company won’t cause flooding in an area that has already been flooding for hundreds of years. He also stated he can’t say he won’t cause flooding since every time it rains now it floods, so if he puts one bucket of dirt in the flooding area the neighbors are going to say we caused flooding. He also stated that there are hundreds of houses out there, but if you’ll take the elevation of the homes that are out there which are 4 to 6 feet above flood stage, which are going to effect very few that would be 4 to 5 feet above or lower and he thinks it’s a long shot to say there would be 60 homes in danger of flooding if they develop this area. He stated that the elevations in that area go from 388 to 400 real quick and there is concern, there was when the property was purchased, as they weren’t sure what they were going to do with it.
Mr. Aigner explained that they discussed it and did some studies and talked to engineers, then we applied to DNR for the C.L.O.M.R. and DNR stated it was ok to do that as DNR looks at the map and they have instruments and tables where they can tell what is going to happen, so they do more than just say go ahead and build up this area it won’t bother anybody else. He added that he feels like they have done everything they can, but he would like for the Board to table their request so that he can do a little study of his own. He stated that they don’t want to do something, that if they raise it any at all, if the Board says you can’t do that, then he is wasting his money, but he feels that he has went through the right steps and agencies, plus he would like to know himself and feel comfortable with it. He explained that he needs some kind of criteria to go by as the people that are her remonstrating are at least a mile away and there is at least one house that is close that the dirt we are moving will not flood them.
Ms. James asked about the pasture and the farmland?
Mr. Aigner stated it has been like that before his company ever got there.
Ms. James answered that she doesn’t want them to add to the problem.
Mr. Aigner also stated that what was stated about the gallon of water for a foot of fill, he does believe that but he doesn’t agree with the calculations for the lake because no matter how deep you make the lake it has nothing to do with what it was before, an elevation is an elevation. He added that if it is dug and fills up with water then it can only get so much water and it will actually slow down that watershed and won’t let it get into the ground so we are going to help a little bit of area.
Karan explained that someone mentioned the runoff from the houses, streets, curbs, etc, all of that water is going to be contained in the lake and released slowly.
Ms. James asked what happens in the wet season when the lakes are full and the whole flood plain is flooded?
Karan answered that the lake will have an emergency overflow at the top of the lake and it will go to the emergency overflow and it will spread out, but it will still be held back and released at a more defined rate than what your are getting now.
Ms. James asked but do we know the rate at this time?
Karan answered that is why she wants to suggest that everyone do a little more research and she apologized to everyone for not doing it before the meeting she just hasn’t had the time.
Ms. James stated that she thinks the development is a good thing and agreed with Mr. Hyndman who stated that it does need to be residential, but she added without it affecting them.
Karan asked when this plan was going to be presented to the Area Plan Commission?
Sherri Phillips answered it would be next Wednesday.
Mr. Aigner stated he did not want to cause any problems and he will agree that it is going to raise the water a little bit but he does not know where it is going either. He added that there are thousands of acres and 300,000 gallons of water won’t raise it at all.
Mr. Bivins stated that when this went through they raised the flood zone elevation 2 tenths from 388.4 to 388.6.
Commissioner Conner suggested that instead of Mr. Aigner’s group doing the study so that it doesn’t look like an arms length transaction and be questionable, he would like to see the County, as he doesn’t think this conversation is about a small area, it is major coverage and expansion in the years to come. He added that he doesn’t know if it’s legal or if we have the money to do it.
Commissioner Williams stated that the study can’t come out of the Drainage Board Fund.
Commissioner Conner stated that is why he is asking as he does not know what the impact is going to be on the residents that are there now and future residents with the continuation of development, but if it is a reasonable fee he thinks the County should pick up that dollar amount. He also added that there may be other developers in the future that may need this information. He asked what time frame are we talking about as to getting the study done for purposes of making a decision of whether or not we can do it.
Commissioner Williams stated that he would not agree to spend tax payers dollars for that study.
Commissioner Conner stated that he understood what Commissioner Williams was saying but what he is saying is that he thinks it would be a wise investment of tax payers dollars because we are not talking about an impact on just a few individuals but the possibility of a large number of tax payers that will be living there in the future and the ones that are presently there today, we don’t want to do anything inappropriate to stymie economical development in that area. He added that he thinks this Board needs facts and should be independent of the people that are proposing this project and also independent of people that have questions, but not necessarily opposed to the development.
Mr. Hyndman agreed with Commissioner Conner as he thinks it is time for Warrick County Government to get educated in what is happening in our flood zones.
Commissioner Conner stated that he feels this is similar to a road project as if something needed to be done to Heim Road, we would hire an engineering firm and pay for it out of tax dollars to tell us what we have to do or not do, so what is the difference between that and what could be a major drainage problem.
Commissioner Williams answered that the difference is as it sits now we have nothing to do with it, private development is what it is affecting to change not the County. He added he is not opposed to it being studied, because he knows that it needs to be done.
Mr. Hyndman stated that it sounds like Commissioner Williams is saying that the residents of Chandler are not part of Warrick County.
Commissioner Williams answered that he did not mean it that way, he is simply trying to say that when we talk about the County studying something that they have no cause or effect, in other words its not the County that is going to cause any additional water.
Commissioner Conner stated that the problem is that ultimately County Government is going to have to deal with it and we have to deal with it, in his opinion, in a fair and appropriate prudent manner. He further stated he thinks that one way to do that is to get some reasonable data to take a look at for purposes of determining whether or not we can approve this development that is being proposed, or whether we have to have some stipulations on this development. He also stated that he understands that the neighbors are not opposed they just have questions in regards to what the possible impact is and he thinks that Mr. Aigner has made it very clear that his group wants to be good neighbors. He added that if the cost is reasonable we can do it as it needs to be an independent study.
Karan stated that before any decisions for anybody to spend any money she would like to contact DNR and maybe they have the information for this area to do the modeling and that could give us the information we need on whether there will or will not be an impact. She added that within the next 2-3 weeks at our next meeting on the 24th that should give her enough time to speak with some DNR representatives and we will be at Road School and maybe there will be some people up there to network with and get some information back from them to get an ideal of where we should go from here and leave our minds open.
Commissioner Conner made a motion to table the request to give Karan and her office the opportunity to have some discussions with DNR in regards to gathering some data to determine whether or not that data is sufficient for us to make a reasonable decision in regards to granting or denying the request, 2nd by Commissioner Williams. Motion carried 3-0.
VICTORIA MANOR SUBDIVISION:
Karan stated this was not on the agenda and was her mistake. She explained this is a replat on lots 1, 2, & 3, they are taking 2 lots and making it into 3 lots. She stated there is no change in the drainage, the only thing is there is an existing drainage easement that is on the recorded plat now that will have to be vacated in order for them to do the re-plats.
She showed the Board on the plans where it would be relocated and that everything is in order.
Karan asked Don Ashley, Attorney for the Board that they have submitted a petition to vacate and on the notice of publication it says “a public utility easement” which is a drainage easement and a public utility easement. She added that on the ordinance it just says easements, on the exhibit it just says easements and on the petitions it says public ways. She stated she doesn’t make that decision but she needs to know if it needs to be re-advertised or re-submitted.
Mr. Ashley answered that if the location can be identified by the petition filed he doesn’t think that it matters.
Mr. Biggerstaff answered that the legal description describes it and says part of Victoria.
Karan stated that the legal description is attached, so it is in order for approval but would have to be subject to the vacation being approved by the Board of Commissioners and she thinks it is on their agenda for the 17th of this month.
Commissioner Conner stated that nothing needs to be done at this time for the drainage.
Mr. Biggerstaff answered that he needs to know what to do about it as they brought it before the Board because the easement was being relocated and there is a set of plans for the new storm sewer.
President Baxter stated the next thing on the agenda is claims.
Karan asked if the Board approved the Drainage Plans.
Commissioner Conner answered that the Commissioners have to have a public meeting to do the vacation of the easement.
Commissioner Williams made a motion to approve the claims in the amount of $16,399.75, 2nd by Commissioner Conner. Motion carried 3-0.
President Baxter asked if there was any other business to come before the Board?
Commissioner Williams made a motion to adjourn, 2nd by Commissioner Conner. Motion carried 3-0.