Repairs needed but who will pay remains undecided

By Michael S. Hoey


Several Town of Delavan residents attended the Oct. 19 board meeting to voice concerns about storm water drainage pipes they say need to be replaced and paid for by the town. The board ultimately ended up tabling the issue, including who should pay for work that has already been done.

The issue arose over the summer as a result of the reconstruction of part of South Shore Drive. Residents of the Del Mar subdivision said the replacement of a storm water drain as part of the project has highlighted the need to replace the rest of the pipe all the way to the lake. The town was going to replace only the portion of the pipe from the road surface to the edge of the town’s easement. Most of the pipe is on private property.

Cardinal Engineering decided to replace about 100 additional feet of the pipe at a cost of $7,500 on private property because the pipe took some unusual turns when they uncovered it. In order to replace the pipe on town land, Cardinal had to re-route where they thought they would be laying new pipe and then discovered the pipe they were going to connect to was in desperate need of replacement. That part of the pipe was replaced and residents took issue with the town’s plan to assess property owners for the cost.

Some residents suggested the storm water “system” – which attorney Rich Scholze said is not really a system but more of a cobbled together series of pipes – should have been inspected and repaired years ago.

Other opinions brought up at last week’s meeting included: the reconstruction of South Shore Drive had changed the flow of water across their properties; Del Mar residents should not be held solely responsible for the cost of the work since other residences not in the association contribute to the water flow; and, residents should not have to pay for it at all as the town set precedent by paying for similar work on private property in the past, making it a town responsibility.

Resident Rod Anliker submitted a letter to the board expressing his concerns. He said the town excavated and repaired portions of a storm water pipe along South Shore Drive and Del Mar Park because it was blocked and the surrounding hill was becoming saturated and collapsing into the lake. He also said in the current case, it’s obvious the pipe in question is serving more than just the Del Mar Beach Park and is an integral part of the drainage system along South Shore Drive.

“The township should insure that the entire system is repaired to full capacity,” he wrote.

Anliker said surface erosion and flooding damage have been common in recent years on both sides of South Shore Drive. He also said the flooding is a problem in both spring and fall normal rain events and not limited to heavy storms.

“To protect the tax base of the township, and to manage erosion into the lake, it is imperative that the township take responsibility for the complete restoration of this system as part of the South Shore project,” he wrote.

Anliker said it was only reasonable to expect the town to cover the unexpected but necessary expenses related to the project.

Administrator John Olson said the town is aware of the concerns, but the public works committee is opposed to spending tax money to make repairs or replacements of storm pipes on private property.

Chairman Larry Malsch confirmed the committee was unwilling to approve any money going to the project.

Scholze said everyone – residents and town officials included – wants to see the pipes get fixed, but the question remaining is where the money would come from to do the repairs.

Ryan Cardinal, of Cardinal Engineering, said the pipe is in very poor condition and needs to be replaced all the way to the lake at a potential total cost of $20,000. The length of the pipe is about 400 feet, of which 100 feet has already been replaced. The $7,500 cost to do that work is part of the $20,000 total. Cardinal said that if the 100 feet of pipe had not been replaced when it was, there would have been a two-week delay, at minimum, to complete the South Shore project.

Supervisor Lynnette Phillips, who serves on the public works committee, said the committee felt town money should not be spent on private property because it would set a precedent for the next time the issue comes up. She said asking the town to pay for that work would be akin to asking town residents who do not live in Del Mar and do not benefit from Del Mar amenities to pay for work done on the Del Mar property.

Phillips said she has no issue with the town sharing some of the cost if the new road surface was causing an increase in water flow into the storm water system.

Supervisor Mary Knipper said the town would have to live with whatever they decide because more issues like this are likely to arise as the town continues to reconstruct roadways near the lake. She said the board and the town have not had an adequate amount of time to assess the situation and she worried about setting precedent.

Supervisor Katherine Gaulke asked if the decision could be delayed so more assessment could be done.

Cardinal said the pipe does need to be replaced but not immediately. The only thing pressing is who was responsible for the $7,500 of work that has already been done.

The board approved tabling the issue in its entirety, including who was responsible to pay the $7,500. No set date was established to discuss it further.

More coverage from the meeting can be found in the Oct. 28 Delavan Enterprise.


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