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Carol Beach Unit 2 Storm Water Drainage
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Carol Beach Unit 2 is a portion of the Village bounded on the east by Lake Michigan, on the west by the Union Pacific railroad, on the North by Tobin Creek, and on the south by 116th Street. Unit 2 consists of just over 100 lots. Roughly 60 of those lots have been developed with residential homes. Portions of Carol Beach Unit 2, for many years, have been prone to flooding and standing water.
Because residential development in Unit 2 (first platted in 1947) predates the Pleasant Prairie planning and zoning ordinances, the area does not have an overall grading and drainage plan, or any improvements, for the management of storm water runoff. Coupled with the fact that topography in Unit 2 is relatively flat and level with Lake Michigan, and the fact that the area has sandy soils and a high water table, the issues of flooding and standing water have been difficult to address. Add to these circumstances the fact that the area is interwoven with preserved and protected wetlands and prairie (portions of the Chiwaukee Prairie).
With all of these factors in view, one can begin to see the challenges that are present when attempting to achieve an effective and acceptable solution between all of the parties involved, from residential property owners with varying opinions to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and others. In 1985, a land use management plan was prepared by SEWRPC. The Chiwaukee Prairie Plan was presented as a compromise between numerous public and private, federal, state, county, and local agencies; Technical Advisory Group members; conservancy groups; and individuals.
All of the interested parties received approval for the Land Use Plan that recognized certain high quality wetland and prairie areas to be preserved and protected, and recognized others as developable areas that could be built upon. The Land Use Plan recommended that the area be served by all-weather streets with roadside ditches, culverts and skeletal storm sewer systems. The area, however, still lacked an overall drainage plan. Without an overall plan, each new home that was built had, and still has, the potential to negatively impact existing, surrounding properties.
During the mid-1990s, the Village passed a temporary moratorium halting residential development in the area until a complete drainage plan could be created. The Village enlisted the help of an engineering firm to complete a detailed topographic study on which to base a storm water drainage plan. Upon completion of the study, a proposed solution to the drainage issues in the area was developed. The proposed solution included the use of both ditches and concrete pipe to convey storm water to natural waterways during average rain events. This proposal was turned down by the Wisconsin DNR and residents.
A modified detention basin solution was presented to residents of Carol Beach Unit 2 in 1997. This proposal was also turned down. In 2005 and 2006, a smaller plan was approved by the DNR but was again turned down by residents in Unit 2. Residents did not agree that the solution was viable and necessary, and no resolution was reached.
With recent snowmelt and rainfall, the area is once again experiencing problems with storm water drainage. A public informational meeting and public hearing was held on April 24, 2008 to revisit the topic and consider input from residents related to storm water system improvements in portions of Carol Beach Unit 2.