Chesterton Tribune



Oakwood Drive resident returns to Chesterton Stormwater Board

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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.

Bill Laster--who 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 house.”

“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.”

Peterson Ditch, 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 an excavator.”

“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 to it.”

Schnadenberg did 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.

“There’s no 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.


Posted 8/20/2019





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