Rushford Village engineering study to address drainage problems

By : 
Scott Bestul

Derek Olinger is getting to be a regular attendee at City of Rushford Village City Council meetings. Olinger, the Bolton & Menk engineer, joined council members for a tour of village roads prior to their May 7 meeting. When the council called the regular meeting to order, Olinger  presented plans for an engineering study that would address the drainage of water during rapid-thaw events and heavy rains.

Tackling drainage issues

Many village residents were affected by a combination of drastic thawing, combined with heavy rain, during a March episode. Olinger told the council his plans to submit a letter that would address these issues, which Mayor Johnson described as “ongoing, and getting worse.”

According to Olinger, the first step would be to assemble a model of existing conditions, then propose methods for mitigating or resolving these problem areas. Olinger said that a combination of diversions, culverts and ditch-grading would likely take care of most of the critical spots, but he’d know more after completing the study.

Naturally, such improvements don’t come cheaply, but Olinger felt capping costs at $18,000 would likely address most, if not all, of the problem areas.  Council members asked Olinger about the possibility of grant monies to pay for the improvements. “Unfortunately, most grants are used for reducing pollution and treatment of contaminated water,” Olinger replied. “There’s very little money for simple conveyance. However, Bolton & Menk does have people who do nothing but track grant dollars, and if they come across something it will be forwarded immediately to Mary (Miner).”

Mayor Johnson thanked Olinger for his input, and noted the council would also work with CEDA (Community and Economic Development Associates) to look for other payment options. “People in south Rushford are entitled to know considerations and possible improvements” Johnson said. “And we’re going to do our best to make that happen.” Olinger noted that surveying of the affected areas would be completed soon, with a more detailed analysis of the problems and potential solutions to be ready by early July.

Highway 30 update

Olinger noted that work on State Highway 30 will not begin until late summer. “The first reports that I heard called for the installation of some culverts and a couple of detours that would allow for more major improvements, but now they are looking at a simple mill overlay,” he said.

The highway, which has been rapidly deteriorating for several years, has been an object of concern for the council for several months. While a larger project/reconstruction was originally scheduled for 2022, that plan seems to have been scrapped for a more expedient patch job.

Council members were clearly skeptical, and joked that hopefully enough residents would read this meeting’s minutes and be inspired to write to their representatives and ask for a more thorough repair.

Zoning updates

Planning-Zoning Administrator Jon Pettit reported that the village’s revised flood plain ordinance had been approved by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “The next step will be for us to hold a public hearing on the ordinance,” Pettit said. “After that we can return the ordinance to the DNR for final approval.”

Pettit informed the council that, minus the revised/updated ordinance, the village and its residents would not be eligible for any insurance plans offered by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency).

Council members scheduled a public hearing for the revised ordinance to be held May 21 at 6:40 p.m. at the City of Rushford Village City Hall.

In other zoning matters, Pettit reported that village resident Terry Hubbard had filed a request for the amendment to an ordinance that prevented him from building a shed on his property.

Hubbard, who has approached the council with this issue in a previous meeting, wants to erect a shed between the home and the road (Oakview Lane). Since this construction would violate a village ordinance, Hubbard’s attorney had advised him to seek an amendment to the ordinance that would allow construction.

City attorney Thomas Manion asked Pettit if the property was unique or unusual enough to amend an ordinance, or if granting a simple variance would address the matter. Pettit replied that water flow/drainage issues do make the property a challenge, noting that he’d identified a small area where the shed could be situated, but that such construction might then require a second driveway be constructed. After some discussion, Pettit said that his planning and zoning committee would continue to address this issue at their next meeting.

Roads/Water/Sewers 

Travis Scheck reported that the continued wet weather had made it difficult and often impossible to grade or improve roads affected by the severe winter weather. He expected to be able to work on roads as soon as the weather improved. Scheck also noted that he’d replaced a grinder pump for an expense of $2,800.

Schedule

The next meeting of the City of Rushford Village Council is scheduled for May 21 at 7 p.m. Prior to the regular meeting, at 6:40 p.m., there will be a public hearing devoted to the revised Flood Plain Ordinance.