Residents worry about flooding from development

2013-08-28T14:35:00Z 2013-08-28T19:44:05Z Residents worry about flooding from developmentPhil Wieland, (219) 548-4352

VALPARAISO | Sewer plans for the Preserve at Grande Oaks did not convince David and Jennifer Lawson the Valparaiso development would not make their flooding problems worse.

The couple appeared at Tuesday's city Utilities Board meeting to ask for further study of the plans for the 18-acre, 152-unit apartment complex on Glendale Boulevard just east of Roosevelt Road. The Lawsons live at the west end of Eisenhower Avenue, which will be extended through the development to Roosevelt.

Jennifer Lawson said the developer told them a year ago he couldn't develop the property because he couldn't afford the drainage system needed to prevent flooding of adjacent properties. Now the project is ready and she wondered what had changed.

"We have a permanent lake next to our home that the city said they couldn't do anything about," she said. "All the residents in our area are against it. If we had any notice of this meeting, it would be filled with people."

Utility Director Steve Poulos said the city has done some sewer relining work in that area and removed 80 sump pumps illegally connected to  the sanitary sewers, which eliminated a lot of the stormwater flow into the sewer system.

The new development will be graded so it drains to a pond in the middle of the property before being outletted to the storm sewer system.

Board Attorney Michael Langer said the plans have already been reviewed and approved by the city engineers. Langer said the existing flooding problems are a separate issue, and he said city stormwater engineer Adam McAlpine should meet with the Lawsons to see if anything could be done for them and their neighbors.

Jennifer Lawson said, "I just wanted it on the record so that when the flooding does get worse, and it will, I want to be able to come back here to point that out."

McAlpine said he would meet with the Lawsons.

The board approved the sewer plans and accepted an easement from Porter Regional Hospital for a sewer the hospital installed behind its facility adjacent to the Grande Oaks development so the sewer can be taken over by the utility.

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