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June 21, 2004 Tape #012

The White County Drainage Board convened at 10:55 A.M. in the Commissioners’ Room of the White County Building, Monticello, Indiana with Board Members Ronald A. Schmierer, John C. Heimlich and O.D. Ferguson, Attorney George W. Loy, Surveyor Dennis W. Sterrett and Secretary Romana Kiser in attendance.

Also attending were Charles E. Mathew, Dan Colvin, Chad Reynolds, Robert Thomas, Jim Milligan, Mike Bunnell, Mrs. Bunnell and Charles Mellon.

Chairman Schmierer called the meeting to order. Surveyor Sterrett presented drainage plans for the Monon Community Church new construction for approval. Surveyor Sterrett stated, “Todd (Engineer Frauhiger) looked at it and he took the computations back and checked them out and said that they are alright. (Showing drawing) Here is the school (Monon Elementary) and there is a 24 inch tile that comes down here and then goes across here. The town put it in to drain the west side over there where the Doctor’s office is. We pulled manholes and it was running good the day we were there. Todd said to go ahead and approve it.”

Board Member Ferguson made a motion to approve the drainage plans for the Monon Community Church new construction project east of the elementary school on the north side of SR 16 in Monon Township. Chairman Schmierer seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Chairman Schmierer recognized Charles Mathew who addressed the Board with a drainage concern on his farm at the west edge of Wolcott. Mr. Mathew stated, “I didn’t know where to start at it, but it comes out of the field and it used to be a natural waterway that would run east and then it would go into an open ditch just south of the veterinary office and that got closed up and now it stays in the field.” Chairman Schmierer asked whose property the waterway is on. Charles Mathew answered the Ora Mathew Estate.

Chairman Schmierer asked, “Is it a natural waterway or one that we’ve had put in, is it a regulated waterway?” Charles Mathew said it has been a natural. He said, “I was born and raised there. We used to farm where all the houses are at now, but that was a natural waterway. It would run east there, and then it goes under a culvert under Fourth Street. Well see, the water doesn’t even get there now. It does get into the ditch. It is blocked on my place.” Chairman Schmierer asked if it goes into the road ditch. Charles Mathew said it goes into the road culvert. Chairman Schmierer said, “But how does the water get there (to the ditch), is there a road ditch or something?” Charles Mathew said, “No, it’s a natural waterway. It just flows to the east.” Surveyor Sterrett said it is close to that County Tile. Charles Mathew said, “Yes, there’s a County tile that goes in that as I understand. We had the farm, about thirty years ago, tiled and there’s a big tile (Chairman Schmierer said County tile) that runs on an angle under the veterinary complex. But, this was for surface water to just flow to the east and then go into a ditch.”

Chairman Schmierer asked, “Are they farming it, is that what is causing it to go shut?” Charles Mathew said they made a nice yard out of it, it’s pretty, they mow it and all that. Board Member Heimlich asked if they hauled dirt in. Charles Mathew answered yes. Surveyor Sterrett said, “You can’t tell anything now about how it looked before.” Charles Mathew said, “You can see when the water is in the field there it just does not go east and you know by where the ditch is at that the water always ran that way. Then there is a culvert under the road also, under Fourth Street that goes into the Town Park... So you would know that there was a natural waterway there.”

Board Member Heimlich asked the Town of Wolcott employees if they knew anything about it. Robert Thomas answered, “We don’t know anything about the filling in of it, but we know the people that own the properties. It goes through; the first person would be Moseley. That would be adjoining the field. Then it goes past Ron Deno’s house. Then right across the road of Fifth Street, Ron purchased the property across the road from his house and you can see the waterway where it goes through it and then where he said it goes through the pipe right south of the vet and then it goes under Fourth Street to the park.” Chad Reynolds said, “It wasn’t truckloads of dirt hauled in recently, it accumulated over the years. It wasn’t dirt that they just hauled in, leveled out with a grader and planted with grass seed.”

Former County Surveyor Jim Milligan stated, “Actually the vet building is blocking the water. They built right over the drain. I’m not sure how they got that done.” Bob Thomas said, “South of the vet building he must have rerouted that natural waterway or something because there is a ditch along there and then it goes under the road to a culvert. That might be how he got the building built where he did.” Chairman Schmierer asked, “So, it is drowning your farm ground out?” Charles Mathew said that’s right. Board Member Heimlich said we wouldn’t have any jurisdiction over it. Chairman Schmierer said it is not a regulated waterway; we wouldn’t have any jurisdiction over it. He said he didn’t know how you’d go back and solve it.

Charles Mathew said, “Well, that was a wide waterway, probably twice the size of this room (width), and of course they filled that in, but if there was just more like a little waterway where water could run from the field on through, it wouldn’t need to be all that wide. It could be like a small ditch or something. Just to cut it through there to come from the field on to the east and then it goes across the road, it goes across Lee Street, which when they blacktopped that they did allow for that, they came down for that. Going on east then there’s a ditch right south of the veterinary office. I don’t remember when I was a kid that that was prominent like it is now. But the culvert going under the road has always been there since I was a kid. So I know that that is a natural waterway and that is the place for it. The problem I’ve got is, I’d say from the Deno house and just south of that on out to the field, which is about a block, that has been filled in somehow or the other. It wouldn’t take much to get it down so the water would go out, the water is still in the field yet, there’s nothing going across to the ditch. If it was down maybe six inches it would probably drain my low spot there. The water from the west flows in toward the east there.”

Chairman Schmierer asked Attorney Loy, “He wants a waterway. He wants to go across a neighbor’s property. Would that be a private treaty he’d have to do? (Attorney Loy answered yes.) That would be something you would have to negotiate with people that own the property, see if you could come across there with a waterway of some kind, because that is private property.” Charles Mathew said, “But see, they built there and they filled that in, which they’re not supposed to do.” Chairman Schmierer said, “I don’t know what we can do about it at this late time, if it’s been done for a long time. I’d almost say it is a civil matter. (Attorney Loy said it is.) It’s not a regulated drain. If it was a regulated drain we could go back in and open it up. But not being a regulated drain, we don’t have much to do and I realize it is a problem for you because you need to drain it.” Charles Mathew stated, “When they did that it was a year ago in November. It will be two years come November when they filled it in and I didn’t realize what they were doing at the time.” Attorney Loy asked, “It is backing water up on you? (Charles Mathew answered yes.) If you consulted your private attorney, he or she could advise you as to what kind of private action you might have against your neighbor. The Drainage board doesn’t have jurisdiction over that kind of matter.”

Next on the agenda Chairman Schmierer recognized Town of Wolcott employees. Robert Thomas stated, “We have a concern. A couple of years ago we had Emonds Drainage dredge the ditch by Dwyers plus they fixed that tile that went under that willow tree. They dug that there and I think we need more dug out along there because the park is filling up even worse now than it was before." Chairman Schmierer asked if we vacated that tile for them. Robert Thomas answered, “Yes, you took that willow tree out.” Chad Reynolds said, “What Bob is referring to is along the County Road where it turns to go down toward 900 Dwyer. That ditch is filling in there and their tile and stuff, there’s just that much more water coming into the park now and it is not getting anywhere and it needs cleaned out a little bit.”

Board Member Heimlich said, “He’s just talking about the road ditch I think.” Bob Thomas said, “Yes, the road ditch, the one that goes out to the Stoller ditch.” Chairman Schmierer said that is something we would have to talk to Steve Brooke (Co. Highway Supt.) about. Surveyor Sterrett said the County tile runs under that side ditch for a ways. Chairman Schmierer asked if it is down deep enough that he can dig the ditch out. Surveyor Sterrett said he didn’t think so. Chairman Schmierer said to tell him that there is a County tile in the ditch; he might have to get Denny to go out there with a probe to find it as he goes.

Bob Thomas asked, “Our next question was, is the natural waterway that flows out to where the Schwab property is that goes to the ditch out there, are they supposed to be farming that waterway or is it supposed to be grass? It’s not farmed right now because the water washed all of their corn out.” Board Member Heimlich asked if that is a County regulated waterway. Bob Thomas said he would guess it is because our ditch turns into that waterway and ends up at the Vern Schwab property and into that ditch and there are two big cement culverts there. Chairman Schmierer asked who is farming that. Chad Reynolds answered Bruce and Vernon Furrer farms it. Bob Thomas said when he was coming to Monticello for Area Plan a couple of weeks ago he was looking at that and there was a high spot. He said you could see water on one side and water on the other and then the high spot. He said that’s what could be some of the problem. That waterway has been farmed and the dirt is raised up, it needs to be fixed also.

Chairman Schmierer stated that he and Surveyor Sterrett would get over there some day this week and take a look at it. Board Member Heimlich said there are not a lot of those waterways that are regulated. Surveyor Milligan stated that he thinks that one is regulated. Bob Thomas said, “I would guess it is since it starts at the open ditch and turns to a waterway, I wouldn’t think that you would want that open ditch turning into just nowhere. It would have no where to go.” Chairman Schmierer said we will look at the records on it and try to get over there next Thursday.

Chairman Schmierer recognized Mr. and Mrs. Mike Bunnell who addressed the Board with a concern about their house flooding on the Guy Williams Drain in Carroll County. Mrs. Mike Bunnell stated, “Back approximately 1987 or 1988 we had a flood out in the field where Rick Roach owns. It automatically wanted to flow its own way into the creek. It had to go through our yard. In the process it washed out a huge chunk of the hillside. So we went and hauled in rip rap and grouted it and it worked great for years. That’s where the water always wanted to go. Then in 1994 George Milligan (former White County Surveyor) had them come through and dredge, I live in Carroll Co. just one mile down, the creek and in the process, I didn’t realize at the time, and they weren’t supposed to take out our rip rap and they did. That (barely audible) soil from being dredged ….on top of our hill….and now when the water tries to flow through it , that has been built up so now in the process now backs up into the whole yard. The White County Surveyor agreed to come in and put in two drains, one in the front and one in the back yard along the edge of the creek to catch that. It’s still not enough. We have flooding; our house is flooded last year and again this year. I don’t have insurance, I can’t get flood insurance. Carroll County won’t help us.”

Mike Bunnell stated, “That house was built in 1952 and never flooded that I know of. Plus, the neighbor has lived there all his life, it was their house and it never flooded up until the point of that last dredging. What it is, they have built it up a foot taller than it used to be. The water used to just come through and go right into the creek and we never had a problem with it. We’re probably draining forty acres; it is all coming in to my .83 acre.”

Chairman Schmierer asked if the Guy Williams Ditch is on maintenance. It is on maintenance. Surveyor Sterrett said he has a picture of it last year. He said, “We went over there last year, the surface drain washed out and we had it repaired.” Board Member Heimlich asked, “You live in Carroll County? So it is a joint drain?” Chairman Schmierer answered “yes”. Mrs. Bunnell stated that White County is in charge of it. Surveyor Sterrett had pictures showing a surface drain washed out. He said he had it repaired (last year). Chairman Schmierer asked if the surface drain is washed out again this year. Mrs. Bunnell answered ‘’no’’. Board Member Ferguson asked where their house was located. Mr. Bunnell said it is right across the street from Bernfield’s house.

Mrs. Bunnell said she had to go out during the night and pull the drain off because it gets covered up with debris, cornstalks and stubble. Mike Bunnell said, “It still would not take enough water. There is just so much water comes through there. The rocks used to work.” Mrs. Bunnell said, “This whole field runs in our yard because when it hits….inaudible….to the edge of the creek it is built up almost six feet. There is no where on our whole property that the water can ever get over there…..inaudible…..it all comes to our property…….inaudible…..the tile has all broke down, as the water is coming through the underground tile….inaudible….we have like 8 or 10 blowholes putting water into our yard. So we get the underground surface water.” Chairman Schmierer stated that Surveyor Sterrett said he sent them to Soil and Water Conservation. He asked if they went there. Mrs. Bunnell said yes, they really hadn’t gotten with them; the guy was gone to National Guards for two weeks. Chairman Schmierer said that he and Surveyor Sterrett would go out and look at the situation on Thursday around 9:00 or 9:30 and they will get with Carroll County on it if they have to. Mrs. Bunnell said that Dennis Sparks came and looked at it and felt that the spillway needs to be put back in.

Dan Colvin of Colvin Builders, Inc., Columbus, Indiana addressed the Board. Mr. Colvin stated, “I was hired to build a new Lakes Federal Credit Union out by the Drive-In Theater. There is approximately 2 ½ acres with an existing home and we don’t have an outlet to drain into. Jim Milligan and I did a little research and there is one a couple of lots down.” Jim Milligan said, “About six hundred feet or so, in front of Betty Hornback’s house. There is a tile there but it’s across the road.” Chairman Schmierer wondered if it is still hooked up because they did a lot of work on that road. Jim Milligan said they put tile in. Board Member Ferguson said they put a lot of dirt in there. Jim Milligan said, “Yes, but they did put tile in there before they filled it in.” He said, “There is a tile just the north side of the Sunoco Station, almost on that property line, of course that means crossing the street. Of course the other way I have two property owners to cross probably, I don’t know if there’s room in the street’s right-of-way for any more utilities or not. I think the telephone comes through there and maybe a water line. I haven’t checked all of that.”

Chairman Schmierer asked how big of a building they are putting up. Dan Colvin answered, “3,860 square foot and approximately thirty thousand square feet of parking lot.” Chairman Schmierer said it comes under the County Drainage Ordinance. Attorney Loy stated they would have to have a drainage plan. Chairman Schmierer said, “I suppose plan to go to one of the drains, Jim. I don’t know what else you would do. You’re going to have to have some retention because the tile isn’t going to carry it that fast.” Jim Milligan said, “That’s true. There does not seem to be any problem with water standing at the present time. It is pretty sandy out there and I think it gets away pretty quick. But, putting that much under blacktop and building will take up a lot of the absorption. It will be built pretty much to the west side of the property, but right on the highest part. And the lowest part of that piece of ground is right behind that house. It looks like everything flows to that corner and then if there was enough water for any to run it would be going across the drive-in theatre property and into the Betty Hornback property. Probably never gets to the….inaudible…” Board Member Ferguson said, “The one place where they filled all that dirt in is across from Betty Hornback’s.”

Chairman Schmierer said, “I would say that you have to hire Jim to draw you up a drainage plan with a retention pond and everything and apply for a drainage permit because you have to have it to get a building permit.” Dan Colvin said he has everything passed from the State. Jim Milligan asked if there was any way Mr. Colvin could start building without a drainage permit. The answer was no. Chairman Schmierer said we have a meeting in two weeks and we will get it as quick as we can for you. Surveyor Milligan said he is reasonably sure they will have to have a small retention pond and an underground drain to an outlet somewhere. Chairman Schmierer said they will probably have to get right-of-way across there. Surveyor Milligan said he prefers street right-of-way but he doesn’t know if there is room in the street right-of-way or not. He said it wouldn’t be good to go around back through all that brush, it would be best in the street right-of-way if they can get it in there.”

Surveyor Sterrett reported that the A. P. Gladden #1 Tile Drain is plugged up again. Chairman Schmierer said the drain is on the Buschman property that Phersons farm and it goes through the addition up there. He said, “They had the vac truck out there trying to go through it and they got 100 feet one way, came out and they got back 100 feet the other way, so it’s plugged someplace in there.” Surveyor Sterrett said that right now the tile is in debt but by the end of the year it will have $1,500.00 in the maintenance fund. Surveyor Sterrett said the tile goes through Mr. Phelps’s yard. It goes between his garage and his house. Chairman Schmierer thinks there is no choice but to fix it. He asked if it can actually be dug up where it is blocked. Surveyor Sterrett answered, “Yes, it is in Mr. Phelps’s yard. It made a mess two years ago but he realizes it.” Chairman Schmierer directed Surveyor Sterrett to go ahead and get it fixed. Surveyor Sterrett said we have two air wells, catch basins so we can get in to it. Board Member Ferguson thought they would get roots out. Surveyor Sterrett said all they got was soy bean stalks. He said they got through it twice and then the third time they tried to go through it they couldn’t. They went 215 the second time and the third time they couldn’t get 100 feet.

Surveyor Sterrett reported that he and Board Member Heimlich walked the Lane Ditch (Faris Ditch) down by the airport on the unregulated end of the drain. He said it is a natural waterway. Chairman Schmierer asked if it had trees down in it. Board Member Heimlich said no, this is closer to where it empties into the lake. He said, “This is what Underhill called about, because of the bank caving in and all of that silt, I suppose it is accumulating by his property down there and properties next to him where they fill in that area there by the lake. And it is, there were several places where the bank just keeps caving. Chairman Schmierer said we need to contact the DNR; they’ve already been contacted haven’t they? Surveyor Sterrett said not on that part of the ditch. Board Member Heimlich said, “No not on that part, this is different. I don’t think what was in here is holding any water back, but there’s so much fall in that area.”

Surveyor Sterrett said, “It looked like Darrell Diggs down there at the outlet almost, he dug a hundred foot long trench probably, I don’t know how deep it was, but you can tell that 30 or 40 feet of it already is silted in to back where it was.” Board Member Heimlich said it would be an expensive project. Board Member Heimlich said, “Diggs isn’t the one that contacted us, Underhill is the one.”

Charlie Mellon said there was something in the paper about Darrell Diggs where the DNR did something and they were thanking him for donating some right-of-way to do something across his property down there by the Lane Ditch. Board Member Heimlich said that would have to be about the silt trap.

Chairman Schmierer asked what we should do. Board Member Heimlich said, “I don’t know what we can do. We could contact Soil and Water and have them look at it and see if there is any kind of project like they did on the Buss Ditch. There are a couple of places that, it just keeps getting worse, where the bank just keeps caving. But I don’t know how to even get back in there with equipment because it is pretty wild in there.”

Board Member Heimlich reported, “On upstream from this then, where the Lane Ditch crosses Freeman Road, to the west side of the road there was a call from Steve and Linda Tolley that this Thomas Clifford had filled in the ditch back there and he has. He just bulldozed trees and stumps and everything else right in the ditch so the water had to come back around on the yard and was getting up in their yard. Chairman Schmierer said he got in trouble with DNR on that. Surveyor Sterrett said “Yes, they’re still working with him. John Hall with Fish and Water called me this morning and they are still dealing with him, and what he wants to do needs a hydrographic study, which he doesn’t have. John Hall talked like if he would just remove the obstructions and rip rap the bank that they would allow him to do that. But what he wants done needs more study. I don’t know how they could rip rap that slope without the rocks falling into the ditch

Board Member Heimlich said, “The reason he is doing it is because the slope in the side where his house is steep. He decided if it was eating away the bank he’d just move the ditch the other way. It was all trees on the other side and he just bulldozed all of that into the ditch.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “Now the water when it gets up it is hitting that debris and moving out toward Tolley’s house.” Board Member Heimlich said, “And you can see the silt starting to drop out over into that yard, too. Then there’s also a couple of obstructions, I suppose that is on the Smith property, there were trees across the ditch there and you could see the water had been up high enough that the trees were holding it back.” Chairman Schmierer said, “We can legally take them out.” Board Member Heimlich said, “I would think that any of that would be an obstruction of the outlet for our regulated ditch. So I think we could take it out.”

Surveyor Sterrett stated, “He (John Hall of Fish and Water) said that ‘you do what you want to do, what you have to do’. I said we didn’t want to step on your toes or anything, I just wanted to report to the Board what we can do.” Chairman Schmierer said, “He said we could take the obstructions out of there.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “Yes, without interfering with his business.” Chairman Schmierer asked if he thought we could take them out. Surveyor Sterrett said he didn’t know if we can get back in there or not. Board Member Heimlich said he thinks right now you’d have to wait until things dry out a little bit, that ground is saturated. Surveyor Sterrett asked, “Can we do that even though it’s not regulated?” Board Member Heimlich (and Chairman Schmierer) said, “It’s our outlet, the thing is can we charge him for it? That’s not something that happened accidentally, he put them in there. He should be the one that should have to take them out.” Board Member Heimlich explained the situation to Attorney Loy. Board Member Heimlich said that Mr. Clifford applied for a DNR permit after the fact so they are still involved with him. He said, “What we’re talking about, it is an outlet for our regulated drain (Farris) so we can remove obstructions. It shouldn’t be up to the people up here to pay for it. It wasn’t an accident.” Chairman Schmierer said, “Our question is, being an outlet, that guy shoved that in there and we need the outlet, can we bill him back or notify him to get it out of there or we are going to bill him?” Surveyor Sterrett asked if we can use the Indiana Code for Obstruction of Ditch.

Attorney Loy stated, “I was going to suggest that, yes. Through a private attorney they can use that obstruction statute, if somebody is obstructing water and it is building up on somebody else or varying somewhere else from the natural flow you can initiate your own civil action. It may end up here (Drainage Board) if they can’t agree.”

Chairman Schmierer stated, “That is obstructing our legal drain so we can be the ones to initiate that can’t we?” Surveyor Sterrett said that is really not our legal drain. (The regulated part ends up above the houses on the west side of Freeman Road.) Board Member Heimlich stated, “Since it is an outlet for our legal drain can’t we do anything to start proceedings? Our legal drain ends here (indicated on map). The rest of that is our outlet.” Chairman Schmierer said, “Clear down to the lake.”

Attorney Loy said, “I think that is beyond our, I think we are ‘off the reservation’ that far down. Who is complaining?” Board Member Heimlich responded that it is Steve and Linda Tolley. Attorney Loy said, “I think the quickest thing for them to do is pursue the obstruction statute.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “They send a certified letter and in thirty days if they don’t get an answer they petition the Drainage Board. I already told Mr. Gordon Denton the process. He has a problem on 650 South at 300 East. Somebody put sod in the natural water course. There’s a surface drain under 650 South and on the south side of that he came in there and put sod.” Attorney Loy said he obstructed a natural water course. Surveyor Sterrett said, “That’s what I told him. He is sending, it is a bank that owns the ground, so he will be sending them a letter.”

Surveyor Sterrett said he would talk to Steve and Linda Tolley and tell them the Indiana Code for obstruction of water. Board Member Heimlich said, “Actually they could be not only on that, but also on (Glenn) Smith for those two trees because those are backing up water. Surveyor Sterrett said the reason Ron Hall from Fish and Water was out there was because of that pipe. Tolley’s had called DNR about the outlet that was way up high and he said that was out of their jurisdiction.

Board Member Ferguson made a motion to approve the minutes. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Chairman Schmierer adjourned the meeting.