City hears plan for West Winds

The Hillsboro City Council heard during its June 3 meeting the city engineer?s initial plan for addressing residential storm?water drainage problems on the city?s west side.

Bob Previtera, from Reiss & Good?ness Engineers, said the key challenge is finding a way to manage the water coming off the 65-acre watershed that drains through the West Winds housing development.

Because the land is relatively flat, runoff from heavy rains drains east through West Winds and toward the houses along Floral Street as a sheet, rather than flowing through natural channels that are present when land is undulating.

The challenge is exacerbated by Oak Street, an elevated gravel roadway running north/south through the development that actually acts as a dam when the water flows eastward. The ditch that runs along the west side of Oak is inadequate to handle the quantity of water that arrives with a heavy rainfall.

Previtera said the long-term solution would be to build a retention pond in the West Winds development. But given the rate of development in West Winds, that project would not be feasible in the near future.

Previtera said there is ?no real good? short-term remedy for the problem, but the best approach would be to deepen the west ditch along Oak, and install a sufficiently sized culvert at D Street that would allow water to escape before it hits Floral.

That plan also would require enlarging the south ditch along D Street and adding a second large culvert under the roadway that serves as the entry point to the Sports Complex.

The engineer said the new culverts would handle 100 cubic feet of water per second; the drainage structure that currently handles the overflow is rated at 5 cubic feet per second.

As has been the case, Previtera said the water would be channeled south through the fairgrounds ditch that runs into the golf-course creek. The additional culverts would divert water from overflowing through residential yards along Floral.

Asked what impact the plan would have on the flow of water through the golf course, Previtera said the quantity would be the same as before, but the new drainage structures would actually moderate the rate of flow more evenly.

The council approved the strategy in principle, and directed Previtera to acquire cost estimates.

That raised the accompanying question: How and when will that expense be covered?

Mayor Delores Dalke said capital-improvements funding for a ?short-term? solution would not be available until at least 2009 or 2010, given the city?s other maintenance priorities.

An accompanying issue to be explored is the extent to which the costs can be assessed to residential property owners in the ?benefit district,? and how large that district might be.

The council was told the dynamics of the drainage challenge could change if residential lots currently for sale along Oak Street would be sold and developed.

City Administrator Larry Paine said a city does have the authority to declare a moratorium on development in a prescribed area if it is deemed necessary.

The West Winds area is one of several locations where residents have complained about stormwater drainage. The council is reviewing each location with the intent of developing an overall strategy that is coherent and financially feasible.

Other business

In other business, the council:

n affirmed a suggestion from Councilor Shane Marler that the city consider an ordinance against blowing lawn clippings onto city streets. He said not only is the practice unattractive, it creates issues for stormwater drainage as clippings accumulate in city drains and pipes.

n agreed to solicit proposals from companies interested in serving as the city?s official financial adviser. Because the city?s long-time company, Gold Financial Services, has been acquired by a larger company, and recent changes have occurred in personnel, Paine said it would be in the city?s interest to review its options.

n reviewed a proposed schedule submitted by Paine for developing the 2009 budget by the end of August, as is prescribed by state law.

n was notified that the city had received a dividend of $9,525 from EMC Insurance Companies as a result of its safety record.

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