Board Approves Water Retention Pond

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MTT News's picture
Kevin Murphy

TOWN OF MIDDLETON–Town board supervisors last week approved construction of a storm water retention pond, contingent on reaching an agreement with Stonebrook Estate residents unhappy about its location.

By a 3-2 vote, with Supervisors Denise Schmidt and Brent Renteria dissenting, the board awarded a $375,591 bid to MJ Excavating, of Johnson Creek. The bid not only came in well under the town engineers’ pre-bid cost estimate of $543,239 but construction can begin either this fall or next spring.

The Stonebrook residents have opposed the planned storm water retention pond to be dug in an out lot of the 66 residential lot subdivision. They have contended that the town’s easement on the out lot doesn’t permit a storm water pond there. They also say they weren’t consulted about the project until well after planning began and they aren’t protected against accidents occurring on their property.

The town board selected a 40-acre out lot between Ellington Way and Stonebrook Circle for the detention pond and has an easement recorded on the subdivision’s mid-1990s final plat which officials have stated, allows the town to “manage storm water.”

The final design deepens a swale, leading to a retention basin, to four feet. Town Engineer Rod Zubella, of Vierbicher, Inc., has said that depth is needed to prevent a graveled recreational trail crossing the out lot from being washed out again as it was during the August 2018, 100-year flood event.

Supervisor Tom Stemrich’s motion called for the town and the residents to reach an unspecified agreement which the parties are negotiating, said Town Attorney Eileen Brownlee.

“I can’t say…what issues are open for discussion,” Brownlee told the board on Sept. 24, but felt an agreement could be reached within a few weeks.

Timing becomes important to getting the project built this year. If it takes a month to take reach an agreement, it will take another few weeks to obtain two necessary permits delaying construction until early November. Good weather would allow completion of the project that month but a wet November could prevent construction from occurring.

The Stonebrook Homeowners Association must sign Dane County’s erosion control permit

After the board meeting, Stonebrook resident Ed Pardon said if town board proceeds with the storm water pond before securing an agreement “it will be at their legal peril.”

Pardon said the problem with the project was the town didn’t seriously consider a runoff solution other than a pond. A grassy meandering swale may have accomplished the same result without having a permanent six-foot-deep pond for residents to contend with.

“Engineers are inclined to build something…that’s their mindset,” said Pardon, so it comes as no surprise to him that a more engineered solution would be recommended to the town board.

Town Chair Cynthia Richson said Monday that town officials followed Dane County grant criteria in developing and approving a storm water facility at Stonebrook.

“I’m sure that had there been three or four options that would have met grant criteria we would have considered them,” she said.

Jeremy Balousek, manager of the county’s Water Resources Division, said grants are awarded based on how well a certain facility will perform and not necessarily on its design. Retention ponds have been the most cost-effective facility for lowering levels of phosphorous and total suspended solids in storm water.

The project creates a storm water runoff pond that should advance the town within four percent of the Environmental Protection Agency’s requirement of an 82 percent reduction in Total Suspended Solids, said Sarah Church, project engineer for Vierbicher, Inc., the town’s engineers.

A Dane County grant funds 75 percent of the project’s cost if completed by October 2020.

In other action, the board: appointed Katie Mace, a former teacher with the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, to a vacancy on the Park Commission.

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