The City of Rushford Village has been grappling with storm water issues in South Rushford for some time, but this spring’s rapid thaw problems spurred the city look for options at mitigation. Derek Olinger, engineer for Bolton & Menk, was on hand at the Tuesday, May 7 council meeting to discuss a study proposal.
The plan is to define and work with a drainage model, after collecting topographical conditions, to better understand the current level of service. “Obviously, we all understand it’s poor,” stated Olinger. Once the study is completed, the city can work with engineers to determine improvement plans. This could be in the form of culvert upsizing, ditch mitigation, diversion of water flowage, or any number of price range of other options. The cost of study is not to exceed $18,000. “It’s difficult to chew on, but realistically this is trying to put together some options.”
“High water is getting more and more common. We owe it to the citizens of South Rushford,” noted Mayor Gordon Johnson, who has worked with the council to assure residents they are weighing concerns.
“There are some alternatives that are going to cost a lot of money, we all know that, but there might be some things that cost less that can have a real impact,” added Olinger. Preliminary work now will also aid in any future residential building in the area.
While the city has made it well-known that they’re seeking out any and all possible financial assistance, Olinger noted storm water grant funding almost non-existent unless it’s related to the treatment of storm water runoff. “There’s not a lot out there for conveyance of water, but we have people at Bolton & Menk that continue to track funding options,” he stressed. In addition, the city is partnering with Community Economic Development Associates to seek out options.
The council unanimously approved the proposal. Once surveying is done, it’s likely the analysis could be ready by the end of June or early July.
Olinger also spoke to the council in regards to a planned Highway 30 upgrade. Initially, the highway, from Rushford and west, had been earmarked for a larger project in 2022. With the road’s condition rapidly deteriorating, Minnesota Department of Transportation has now determined the road will be milled and overlayed. Work is scheduled to start this summer.
“They made it sound like at one point there were detours planned and culvert replacement, but, now they’re just looking at just overlayment and patching areas,” stated Olinger, which drew a chuckle from one on the council who suggested that hopefully, enough people would read the minutes and call their representatives to voice their concerns.
In planning and zoning news, the city has received the conditional state-approved floodplain ordinance from the Department of Natural Resources. The next step will be a public hearing on the ordinance. It will then be sent back for final approval. Without the ordinance’s approval, the city will lose any opportunity for affected property owners to obtain Federal Emergency Management Agency flood insurance. The date for the hearing is May 21.
Zoning Administrator Jon Pettit also shared with the council that a recent letter to the city was petitioning for a amendment to the city’s zoning ordinance for Oakview Loop subdivision only. An earlier application from a resident was denying by the Planning and Zoning Board for not meeting ordinance requirements. The property owner then spoke with legal counsel who directed the resident to write to the city requesting the ordinance amendment.
Rushford Village Attorney Tom Manion questioned whether or not the lot was unusual, in relation to others within the subdivision, creating a need to address practical difficulties. Pettit noted the lot is unique based upon only where the home was constructed on the lot. Due to water flow, Pettit indicated a small area on which the property owner could construct a garage, due to water flow, but that in doing so it would create the need for another driveway and crossing of underground private utility. The Planning and Zoning Board will take the matter under further review.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Tuesday, May 21, at 7 p.m., at the Village Hall. The public is encouraged to attend.