A resident of
Oakwood Drive, off South Fifth Street, is once again asking the Chesterton
Stormwater Management Board to clean and clear the headwaters of the
Peterson Ditch west to South 11th Street, which he says are “heavily silted
over,” full of debris and vegetation, and backwashing into his rear yard.
lives at the far west end of Oakwood Drive--first appeared before the board
in June, when he told members that, since the heavy rains of May, he and
some of his neighbors have had wetland plants growing in their rear yards.
On Monday, Laster
repeated his complaint, with more urgency. “Every time it rains heavily our
backyard floods over the top of the grass,” he said. “I had to dig a hole,
put in a sump pump, and pump the water out. It’s so wet back there I’ve got
a 120-year-old oak tree and its beginning to die. And it overhangs my
“I think it would
help to get the ditch cleaned out,” Laster insisted. “You can walk across it
now. If you don’t maintain it, it eventually won’t be a ditch anymore.”
Laster added, is in the Town of Chesterton’s jurisdiction.
In point of fact, a
portion of Peterson Ditch is located in the Town of Chesterton, but
which entity has jurisdiction over this regulated drain--the town or Porter
County--is currently a matter of dispute. The Porter County Commissioners
believe that jurisdiction was handed over to the town; the town, for its
part, denies such is the case.
In any event,
Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg said, the Street Department has
neither the manpower nor the resources to maintain Peterson Ditch, or any
other regulated drain for that matter. “You’d have to hire a contractor with
“You removed a
beaver dam this spring” from Peterson Ditch, Laster countered.
“We rented a
mini-excavator and got back as far as we could,” Schnadenberg replied. “If
the beaver dam had been any further back there, I doubt we could have gotten
allow that, on a few occasions, the Street Department has performed
emergency work on the ditch, in the case of a couple of sinkholes. “We can
take a look at it and get back to you,” he said.
Town Engineer Mark
O’Dell concurred. “The town doesn’t have the power or equipment to maintain
it,” he said. “But we can get a quote.”
O’Dell did suggest
that a big part of the problem is that the homeowners’ association hasn’t
maintained the detention basin at the west end of the Oakwood Drive
subdivision. “That’s an HOA issue,” he said.
detention basin there,” Laster contradicted him.
“It’s on the
drawings,” O’Dell said.
“I’d like to see
those drawings,” Laster said.
Whether there is or
isn’t a detention basin serving Oakwood Drive, one thing which Laster
doesn’t have which he says he should have is a backyard drainage inlet.
“There’s supposed to be an inlet in my backyard and it was never installed.
There were a lot of inlets on the west end which weren’t installed.”
O’Dell was unable
to speak to that complaint.
July in Review
In July the
Stormwater Utility ran a surplus of $11,826 and in the year-to-date is
running a surplus of $95,201.