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Stormwater improvement proposal looked at in Hobart

By Ben Rodgers

HOBART – Bill Schwanke told the Hobart village board at its Tuesday, Sept. 15, meeting he doesn’t know what to do. Luckily for him and others in his situation, the village may soon have an answer.

Schwanke said he is concerned about stormwater on his property and how after it rains, he gets standing water in his yard that prevents him from mowing until it goes down.

“I’ve had the issue before, but I’ve been living with it and it’s not getting any better,” he said. “It’s getting worse. The water is getting deeper, and it’s lasting longer, and I understand it less. I don’t see any reason for it to back up.”

Schwanke won’t get his help immediately, but the village board heard a proposed ordinance from Village

Administrator Aaron Kramer which could help and be the first of its kind.

“We’ve been seeing this with more frequency this year, where people have had stormwater issues, but it is on private property,” Kramer said. “We originally thought about it and called our neighbors to see what they have. Their response was they don’t have anything, but if we come up with anything, they’d love to see it.”

Kramer presented a rough draft of an ordinance where the village would split the cost of improvements related to stormwater issues on private property 50/50 with the property owners if they met certain requirements.

“The biggest thing we’re trying to avoid is ‘You did it for them, why aren’t you doing it for me?’ and ‘I can’t get my neighbor to agree to fix something, so we’re going to have the village pick up the tab,’” he said. “There’s a lot of scenarios where we could get into a can of worms here. The other option is if it’s not public, we’re not going to do anything.”

To stay out of the worms, Kramer devised a plan where projects can be denied for five reasons, including; if the stormwater plan for the property is not compiled with; if a property owner had made altercations to any previous improvements to cause the issue; if the village is not granted easements for the property; if the stormwater conditions do not create a health or public safety issue, or has created any damage to private property; or if the village is not financially able to provide the improvements.

The board directed Kramer to codify the proposal and present it at a future meeting for a first reading.

“It’s dried out this fall, so we’re not being inundated – no pun intended – with requests,” Kramer said. “We saw this a lot in spring with runoff issues, but we want this now for the spring of 2021.”

Land swap may finally take off

It’s been 16 years since three current board members in attendance last heard the issue, but the village has learned a land swap with Austin Straubel International Airport might finally have some wings.

Board members Rich Heidel, Dave Dillenberg and Tim Carpenter were there 16 years ago when the board held a public hearing regarding the possible vacation of Lonesome Road and West Adam Drive after a proposal from the airport.

However, it turns out the proposal never went past a public hearing, and nothing ever happened to the land.

Kramer said now the airport is open to a possible land swap with those lots, which total 4.598 acres, for three lots on Golden Lane the airport owns, totaling 4.162 acres.

The board directed Kramer to draft a letter to Marty Piette, airport director, in favor of the swap, plus asking for two additional lots on Golden Lane.

Kramer said the trade would give Hobart land connected to the current village hall that could be developed in the future for a possible law enforcement and public works buildings.

“It’s been 16 years,” Kramer said. “I hope I can tell you tonight the eagle is about to land.”

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