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Marion asks for access to clear drainage jam

News editor

When it rains, it pours, and the overgrown, debris-clogged drainage basin east of the Country Inn Motel that runs behind Eastmoor Addition can’t adequately handle the flow.

And the city can’t do anything about it, city administrator Roger Holter told Marion city council Monday, because there is no easement to allow access behind nine residences along the east side of the basin.

“The city has 250 feet of right of way, which is where our storm drain system drains from the north side of Main, and it also pulls water from Carlson’s and Aunt Bee’s. All of that water drains into it,” Holter said. “Over the years, the construction of the Sports and Aquatics Center, the drainage from the elementary school, and water we’ve routed from development, we’ve forced an appreciable amount of additional drainage through there.”

Because the Eastmoor lots were platted without easements, those nine homeowners are legally responsible for maintaining the drainage basin behind their homes, Holter said. The increased flow has created small dams, and small trees and vegetation have flourished, complicating maintenance.

“Each major event is adding more debris in the basin,” Holter said. “When we get heavy storms, one of the property owners said the water backs up within 10 feet of her house,” Holter said.

While the city has no legal responsibility for the basin, city attorney Susan Robson said the council should look beyond that.

“Let’s be honest, part of this has been created because we’re running all the water from that end of town through there,” Robson said.

Holter said the best solution would be to get all the homeowners to grant the city 30-foot drainage easements on their properties so city crews could remove debris and grade the basin. Residents would retain ownership of the property and continue to be responsible for routine maintenance, such as seeding and mowing.

The council authorized Holter to contact the nine affected homeowners, with the understanding that all must agree to the compromise for the city to move ahead.

An offer from Mark Evans to purchase two lots adjacent to his Airstream restoration business in Batt Industrial Park was met with skepticism over the difference in price between his offer and the asking price for the lots.

Evans proposed paying $1,000 for each lot, but the list price for each lot is $12,000. Economic Development Director Terry Jones presented the proposal, but recommended the council decline it based on criteria to compute incentives for potential park tenants.

Heitschmidt moved to table the discussion, and Jones was instructed to work with Evans to develop alternatives for the council to consider at a future meeting.

In other business:

  • The city will re-submit a proposal to the Kansas Department of Transportation for improvements to Marion Airport, including a new airplane parking apron and taxiway.
  • The council authorized Jones to develop cost estimates for changing nine city billboards to uniformly display a new city promotional design created and donated to the city by Eric Meyer of Hoch Publishing Co.
  • A proposed ordinance for standardizing guidelines for city right-of-way maintenance was introduced and discussed, and will be acted on at a future council meeting.
  • Jones was instructed to make a final offer to the fledgling Independent Baseball League wanting to place a team in Marion, indicating requested field improvements were acceptable, but league minimum seating requirements were not.
  • Paula Flaming of Goessel, a former Goessel city employee, was appointed municipal court clerk.

Last modified Oct. 1, 2014

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