Chesterton Tribune

Town Council hears of Westwood Manor drainage problems

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By KEVIN NEVERS

Joe Wrigley wants the Chesterton Town Council to know that the $24,000 swimming pool he installed three weeks ago in his backyard in the Westwood Manor subdivision collapsed because of a long-standing flooding problem in his neighborhood.

Four years ago, several Westwood Manor residents appeared before the council to voice their concerns about water in the subdivision developed by Don Coker, Wrigley reminded the council. At the time, he said, “the town blamed the developer and the developer blamed the town.”

But the flooding problem remains.

“I’ve had it with the water,” Wrigley said. “My basement has flooded twice. My sump pump goes off every 30 seconds, dry or wet. I can’t even sell my house with this problem. And it’s not just heavy rains. If its rains, it floods. I’m at your mercy, if you can find it in your heart.”

Specifically, Wrigley asked the town to install a backyard drain larger than the one currently on his property.

Town Engineer Mark O’Dell, while noting that the stormwater infrastructure is private and does not belong to the town, did say that he would videotape the drain to see if it’s been clogged. Folks not properly disposing of their grass clippings have clogged the backyard drains in the past, he said, while others have built fences over the lines and poked holes in the pipe.

In any case, it’s the homeowners’ association which is responsible for maintaining the stormwater infrastructure.

There is no homeowners association in Westwood Manor, Wrigley replied.

Then “it comes down to Don Coker,” O’Dell said.

Fire Chief Mike Orlich—formerly the Building Commissioner—did observe that the backyard drains in Westwood empty into a 24-inch pipe which, in turn, flows into a detention pond in the Peterson Ditch network. “If there’s a lot of water in that pond, nothing will happen until the pond starts to drain,” he said.

High Grass

In other business, Jan O’Hara asked the town to begin slapping liens on properties currently in foreclosure to cover the cost of cutting high grass and weeds.

Specifically on O’Hara’s mind is a property right now in foreclosure on West Porter Ave. “The grass is working on four feet tall,” she said. “That’s dragging down our property values.”

In the past, Clerk-Treasurer Gayle Polakowski said, putting liens on properties for that purpose “has hardly been worth it,” one reason being that the banks which have taken possession of those properties are often located in another state and are peculiarly unresponsive to the complaints of next-door neighbors.

In any case, Polakowski said that Town Code Officer Ed Surgener is right now working on finding the owners of nuisance properties to issue them warnings, then citations.

Signage for Raj

Meanwhile, members found perfectly reasonable the request of G. D. Sharma—owner of the Raj Indian restaurant at 418 Roberts Road—for temporary signage for his eatery to be placed somewhere on Indian Boundary Road, until construction of the 24-hour ER department on the site of the former Jewel/Osco has been completed.

“We are really, really hidden behind” the construction zone, Sharma said. Without relief, he added, “I may have to close down the business.”

Members instructed department heads to work with Sharma on the best location for temporary signage.

A Trip to Say Thanks

Hebron Town Council President Don Ensign—accompanied by several of his colleagues—opened the meeting by expressing his gratitude and his residents’ for the lending hand given by the Chesterton Street Department several weeks ago after a monster of a storm blew through Hebron.

“We were pretty devastated, as you were a couple of years ago,” Ensign said. “We didn’t know how we were going to handle it. The people of our community couldn’t believe how hard your guys worked.”

“We tried to pay it forward,” Ensign added. “After we’d gotten cleaned up, we went to Demotte to help them. One hand washes the other.”

 

Posted 6/28/2011