October 2, 2014

Elyria
Sunny
58°F
test

Discussion continues on ditch at Twin Lakes

ELYRIA TWP. — The merits of a petition filed with county commissioners seeking to alleviate flooding woes at Twin Lakes Mobile Home Park by cleaning a ditch that flows through the property will be the subject of another meeting this week.

The proposed cleaning of the Straw Haag Ditch will be further debated during a 9 a.m. meeting Tuesday at Elyria Township Hall at 41416 Griswold Road.

Those behind Tuesday’s meeting hope it will shed more light on the issue to help commissioners toward a decision on the petition, which was the focus of lengthy discussion during a public hearing at this past week’s commissioners’ meeting.

“We hope this meeting will put a lot of information into that meeting,” John Abraham said, referring to a Feb. 27 continuation of last week’s public hearing.

Abraham, an Amherst Township resident, owns two parcels of land in the area affected by the ditch when it floods. He was among some 40 to 50 people who packed the commission meeting.

While most agreed the ditch needs to be cleared of debris so stormwater runoff can flow more freely and ideally avoid flooding the Albrecht Road park as well as nearby properties, opinion was clearly split over who should pay for the clean-up and the extent of the work to be done.

“Everybody knows it needs to be done,” Abraham said. “The big hang-up is figuring out the proper way to do it.”

Some residents complained they were already being assessed for other area ditch maintenance, and that Twin Lakes would derive the bulk of benefit from a clean-up while they’d be footing the majority of the bill.

Others complained that the petition as currently worded does not call for the ditch to be widened or deepened, which they said would make water flow even better following storms.

Hopes are that a plan can be designed that will do the job the right way the first time, even if it costs more than the county’s initial estimate of $134,000, Abraham said.

Assessments are based on state law which uses a formula to affix costs based on the acreage that benefits from the ditch cleanup.

As it now stands, the ditch would be cleaned of silt, tires, logjams and other debris from Chadwick Drive south to Russia Road. The ditch flows across the back of the Twin Lakes development near the West Ridge Green development.

Twin Lakes owners would pay a portion of the cleanup costs, co-owner Kim LeMaster said.

County officials planning to attend the Tuesday meeting include Chief Deputy County Engineer Bill Holtzman and Assistant County Prosecutor Gerald Innes.

County Commissioner Tom Williams was also invited and initially planned to attend but was advised not to by Innes, who said it would not be appropriate for commissioners to be part of any discussion of the ditch project since the commissioners will ultimately approve or reject it.

Elyria officials were also invited to the meeting, as the Twin Lakes development is on land inside the city.

Elyria Law Director Scott Serazin said the city agreed to split the $1,500 costs of preparing paperwork and filing the ditch-cleaning petition with Twin Lakes.

Cleaning the ditch was originally discussed in the 1990s and early 2000s, according to Serazin.

“The ditch has been the source of problems for a long time,” Serazin said. “There has been a lot of discussion about who was responsible for it and how far (distance) it should be cleaned.”

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.