Backyard flooding issues again a concern for Markle Town Council

Backyard flooding issues are again under consideration by the Markle Town Council, this time involving a resident who is also a town councilman.

At the council’s regular meeting on Wednesday, June 17, Councilman Nick Lund excused himself from the desk and presented a plea for help with flooding on his property and others in the neighborhood, which includes Woodfield Court and Tracy Street.

“I’m the newest of these four properties that have all signed this document,” Lund said, presenting a petition from neighbors asking the town to fix the problem. “Builders and contractors have put the grade back to where it was before, and what it amounted to is we have standing water in my property.”

Lund said the water pumps from the north and doesn’t have enough grade to pump to the south. A photo of one of the town’s sewer and water drains sets the grade, but needs to be lower than what it currently is, Lund said.

Lund added that he talked with Northstar Development, the developer of the neighborhood, and they came out and fixed an issue that he says helped fix drainage to about a third of the property. However, water is still left standing in areas, including an easement on his property.

He recommended installing perforated tile to drain the water and rework the easement to allow better flowage. He asked residents be allowed to hook up sump pumps and downspouts into the edge of the easement, adding that two residents have already asked to tie their sump pumps into it.

Lund talked to Wolf Excavating, which quoted $3,000 for 250 feet of perforated tile, two risers and a backfilter that would route the water to the end of the property.

Town Assistant Mike Grant said there was a similar situation recently on Conifer Court that was rectified by installing drainage  tiles.

Town Supervisor Rick Asher said there may be backfill dirt available from the Novae utility expansion project, but added that it’s not the town’s responsibility to supply residents with a sump pump to get rid of water.

Councilman Matthew Doss said if the town contributed to the damage it should be their responsibility to fix it.
“I know one of the concerns is that standing water issue, and I know the Board of Health is concerned about that,” Doss said. “If the landowner hadn’t changed the characteristic of the land to cause that condition, then the county picks up its steps to control for mosquitoes and things like that.”

Council President Aaron McClary said he was in favor of partnering with homeowners to partially pay for the project.
“I don’t know any other precedents outside of the Mercury-Girvin area project, if we’ve dealt with this in the past in other areas,” McClary said.

Following his presentation, Lund, commenting as a councilman, said the town should make a practice of getting a topography or drainage map before they sign off for a developer’s plan.

The council tabled the item to give them time to see if they can do anything to help alleviate the water issue and whether it’s feasible to contribute to the project.

On another item, Ordinance 2020-4, which allows for the vacation of a portion of a platted easement on Karen and Stephen Jeffers’ property at 315 E. Morse St., was unanimously approved after a public hearing was held in which no one from the public spoke.

The council also gave the go-ahead to sell the property at 480 N. Clark St. Grant had obtained two very different appraisals on the property. One was for $57,000 and another was for $80,000.

The property will be advertised in local newspapers for bid with $65,000 as the minimum bid. The town has a 60-day window to take bids, but has set a bid deadline of July 14, the date of the council’s next regular meeting.

Grant told the board there is interest in the building.

The architecture bid for the town’s new storage building project was awarded to Project Design & Management, which submitted a fee of $14,750. The bid was higher than the only other bid submitted, by DLZ, which would have charged $11,500. However, Grant said PDMI offered several additional services that would be needed during the project. Grant noted that DLZ’s hourly rate is higher than that of PDMI.

The new, 6,000-square-foot, single-story vehicle storage building has a construction budget of between $200,000 and $250,000.  

On another matter, Clerk-Treasurer Stephenie Hensley announced the town hall office is back open to the public, following closure to comply with COVID-19 restrictions.

Town officials also wish to notify residents that mosquito fogging began last week, and is aimed at keeping the mosquito population to a minimum inside town limits.