Stormwater Information Timeline
Two visitors spoke at the Park Board Meeting. The complete minutes are attached below.
Stormwater Management Discussion
Executive Director Rogers disseminated to the board a copy of the City of Elmhurst Public Works and Building Committee's memo addressed to the City Council "recommending that the extension of the Park District use of the City garage be extended to 2108" to further an intergovernmental agreement allowing the use of Golden Meadows and York Commons parks for stormwater detention. Alderman Honquest amended the recommendation to include other parks (East End, Crestview, Wild Meadows Trace/Pioneer) and the City Council approved the recommendation with the amendment. As the Park District has not vetted the other park sites for stormwater detention, the subcommittee recommended that the other parks not be included, at this time, in the initial intergovernmental agreement (IGA) and the other park sites be negotiated separately for a final IGA to encompass all considered components. Commissioner Graf stated that the use of a pilot park site allows the District to preview and analyze the effects of stormwater detention thus preserving green space in a landlocked area such as Elmhurst. Rogers added that the Park Board defer the consideration of recreational uses in the York Commons Park detention basin to review how it operates as a 5-year rain-event detention basin. Rogers informed the board that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) will be consulted to advise on restrictions for the other parks (East End, Crestview, and Wild Meadows Trace) as the District received grant funds from IDNR to acquire those properties as well as to learn potential phase-in conversion options. The City agreed to include a “Whereas” clause committing to accomplishing recommendations within their flooding plan for the remainder of the Southwest Study Area. Both the City Manager and Executive Director Rogers will continue to examine the terms of an IGA draft after further discussions commence. The next public stormwater management meeting will be held on July 23, 2015 at City Hall.
The stormwater subcommittee met with the City on Thursday, July 9 in City Chambers to continue discussions concerning the City’s request to use parks for stormwater detention.
Approximately 50 residents attended the meeting and 18 spoke during public comment, most imploring the City, Park and School districts come to agreement(s) in order to start helping residents affected by flooding. The meeting format closely followed the agenda attached below wherein during agenda item 4, the Park District took the opportunity to go through the attached presentation providing a background on our discussions with the City and specifically, the Park Board’s position on York Commons and Golden Meadows parks and the request to extend the term length of the Maintenance Facility lease. this included an overview of the long history of collaboration and cooperation initiatives between the Park District and City to benefit the community when the City has requested the use of parkland for municipal purposes.
The negotiations were productive and the following points of agreement were reached:
- The City’s subcommittee will recommend to the Public Works Committee and City Council an extension of the Maintenance Facility lease to 2108, per the Park District's original proposal.
- Both parties are in agreement over the use of the west lobe of York Commons per the Park District's latest letter to the City. The City presented some slides showing potential recreational uses of the west lobe which they asked the Park Board review. Copies are attached and will be brought to the July 22 meeting of the Park Board for discussion.
- An intergovernmental agreement will be developed to include a “Whereas” clause that speaks to the City’s commitment to accomplish the recommendations within their flooding plan for the remainder of the Southwest Study Area.
In regards to the use of Golden Meadows Park, it was agreed that, after receipt of the City Council’s commitment to the extension of the Maintenance Facility lease, a joint meeting with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) will be held to determine potential options to phase in a conversion of the site. The Mayor indicated the City is “happy” to purchase that portion of the property, but suggested a potential phase-in of the process to bring stormwater assistance sooner. This means, the Park District will try to find a way to allow the City to utilize the west portion of Golden Meadows Park sooner rather than later, while protecting the Park District’s interests and relationship with the IDNR. This might involve the property being converted to a detention basin with some recreational function while still in Park District ownership, until such time as replacement property could be acquired. The City’s engineering firm, Burke, prepared some conceptual drawings for this as well; copies are attached.
The City Manager and Park District Executive Director will begin to re-examine the terms of a draft IGA.
Discussions will begin on additional park sites under consideration at the next subcommittee meeting on July 23.
July 13, 2015 The City’s Public Works and Buildings Committee discussed the extension of the Maintenance Facility lease and approved a report recommending it go to City Council for consideration on Monday, July 20. The results of the City’s consideration will be brought to the July 22 meeting.J
The Stormwater Subcommittee meetings are open to the public and available for viewing on the City of Elmhurst website.
Approximately 35 residents attended the meeting and 13 spoke during public comment. The Elmhurst Park District expressed appreciation to the City for approving the extension of the Maintenance Facility lease, while also indicating that the Park District could not, at this point in time, agree to incorporating East End, Wild Meadows Trace/Pioneer and Crestview parks into an agreement because they have not been vetted by the Park Board. The Park District explained that they understood the spirit of what was being suggested and that the best way to proceed was to begin developing an IGA while simultaneously discussing the three other sites. The City was also informed that the Park District was not interested in having any recreational components included in the plans for York Commons due to the need to first see how the stormwater basin functions and how frequently it takes on water. As regards to Golden Meadows Park, the Park District indicated their willingness to work cooperatively with the City in discussions with the IDNR. There were no discussions about the other sites.
There were four visitors who spoke at the Park Baord Meeting. Complete meeting minutes fromt he meeting are attached below.
Stormwater Subcommittee Report
· The Park District approached the City to hold a subcommittee meeting on Monday, June 22 in attempts to progress further with stormwater management plans.
· At the meeting, the subcommittee discussed the lack of property options to replace Golden Meadows Park and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' (IDNR) restrictions in allowing the conversion of the land to stormwater detention. The Park District is waiting for the City to provide required information to pass on to IDNR. The subcommittee provided a historical background on how the City's maintenance garage is part of the original agreement for the City's fire station lease extension of York Commons Park. The Park District's lease to the garage was not extended for the same period. The meeting clarified the reasoning behind the Park District's interest to extend the lease to the maintenance garage to City staff.
· Executive Director Rogers stated that the City is preparing a revised consideration as it relates to the garage. A meeting was scheduled tentatively for July 9. Mayor Morley requested the subcommittee meet every two weeks, meetings be made open to the public, and moved to the City's council chambers.
Board President Ubriaco stated that the City originally asked for overhead flooding relief for 50 to 100-year rain events, but when the Park Board learned that the City's stormwater sewers could only accommodate a 5-year event, it offered the City York Commons Park space to build a detention basin for everyday water. To date, the park district has done all it can in aiding to improve stormwater management.
Park District Commissioners Spaeth, Graf and Executive Director Rogers met with Mayor Morley, Aldermen Polomski, Honquest and Kennedy (attended via phone), and City Manager Grabowski to discuss the City’s Public Works and Building (PWB) Committee report entitled “Response to Park District Letter – Use of Parks for Stormwater.” The discussions included a comprehensive review of the background of the agreement between the City and Park District concerning Fire Station #2 in York Commons (presentation attached below) and the District’s use of space in the City of Elmhurst’s Public Wroks Facility and a review of the current proposed terms concerning use of York Commons and Golden Meadows Parks for stormwater detention. The City is now preparing a revised consideration as it relates to the Park District’s potential future use of the PUblic Works Facility past the current 2029 expiration date. A discussion also took place concerning working with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to potentially expedite a conversion that would allow for the use of Golden Meadows Park.
President Ubriaco read correspondence received from the City of Elmhurst giving an update on the City's progress regarding stormwater detention on District property. The letter from the City of Elmhurst is attached below.
No discussion regarding stormwater management
There were 5 letters received and read as part of public comment in addition to thirteen visitors who provided comments to the Park Board. To view a transcript of these letters and comments please click on the Complete Meeting Minutes below.
Unfinished Business – Stormwater Management Discussion
Commissioner Spaeth made a motion that the Board of Park Commissioners maintains its current position in regard to the use of York Commons Park for stormwater as communicated in writing to the City of Elmhurst on October 29, 2014. Commissioner Kies seconded the motion.
Commissioner Howard stated the use of the east lobe of York Commons Park is the right thing to do as 8 inches of stormwater is a huge difference for a home threatened by flooding. Commissioner Kubiesa said the large homes built in the City should never have been allowed as they have contributed to the stormwater issue; improved infrastructure is the solution. Commissioner Kubiesa made a motion that the Park Board of Commissioners authorizes the Executive Director to negotiate an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Elmhurst that is consistent with the general terms 1 and 2 but that is contingent upon conditions A and B as listed. (1) Usage of the east lobe of York Commons Park for no more than 12 acre feet of water retention; consistent with the Board's current 3-part standard (2) such other terms and conditions as the Executive Director deem reasonable and necessary to carry out the intent of this motion; and the conditions are (A) The City of Elmhurst shall seek voter approval with a referendum which approves the issuance of General Obligation Bonds or issue bonds through their home rule authority to finance stormwater infrastructure improvements for the entire City of Elmhurst system; and (B) The people/residents of Elmhurst shall approve a referendum question which asks whether any future Elmhurst parks should be permanently modified to assist the City with stormwater retention. Commissioner Morissette-Moll seconded the motion.
Commissioner Spaeth stated that all decisions made by the Park Board were based on data collected from Burke Engineering’s reports and analyzed by V3. The York Commons Park west lobe proposes to provide relief for 38 homes while the east lobe provides a small benefit to that area; whereas improved infrastructure could provide relief for 222 homes. The cost of the project over the course of 7 years is approximately $22 million. The park district is not causing the City’s expenditures to escalate, that was the cost from the beginning. The City should not delay on seeking approvals for infrastructure improvements. The improvements will increase EAV and property values.
Commissioner Moll spoke in support of improved infrastructure. Commissioner Howard stated that the Board owes it to residents to pose the question through a referendum. Originally, the detention basins were described as pilot projects. The west lobe is a good and legitimate pilot area to see how the detention functions. The Park District can ask the City to go to referendum but that is something that the City needs to determine for themselves as that is their core responsibility. Board President Ubriaco requested Commissioner Spaeth provide a clear explanation/comparison as to the impact of the infrastructure costs to the detention basin. Commissioner Spaeth explained that the Stormwater Subcommittee requested the City provide an estimate of additional costs incurred should the east lobe not be used for stormwater detention. The information was peer reviewed by V3 Engineering. V3's peer review revealed that the east lobe provided very little benefit to homes in that area to compel the Park Board to allow use of the east lobe. V3 engineer Greg Wolterstorff stated that the east lobe's 8 inch lowering would remove 14 homes out of the flood plain but with the potential of 7 to 8 feet of water still in the basement. The difference is a matter of how much rain falls over a given period of time.
Commissioner Howard stated that the east lobe was not thoroughly discussed by the Board. Commissioner Pelosi stated that he stands by his vote. Commissioner Kubiesa said that the Board never voted on the east lobe.
Board President Ubriaco called to question Commissioner Kubiesa's motion by roll call vote: Ayes: Commissioners Howard, Kubiesa, Morissette-Moll, and Ubriaco. Nays: Commissioners Pelosi, Spaeth, and Kies. Motion passed to vote on Commissioner Kubiesa motion as stated that the Board of Park Commissioners authorizes the Executive Director to negotiate an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Elmhurst that is consistent with the general terms 1 and 2 but that is contingent upon conditions A and B as listed. (1) Usage of the east lobe of York Commons Park for no more than 12 acre feet of water retention; consistent with the Board's current 3-part standard (2) such other terms and conditions as the Executive Director deems reasonable and necessary to carry out the intent of this motion; and the conditions are (A) The City of Elmhurst shall seek voter approval with a referendum which approves the issuance of General Obligation Bonds or issue bonds through their home rule authority to finance stormwater infrastructure improvements for the entire City of Elmhurst system; and (B) The people/residents of Elmhurst shall approve a referendum question which asks whether any future Elmhurst parks should be permanently modified to assist the City with stormwater retention. Ayes: Commissioners Howard, Kubiesa, and Morissette-Moll. Nays: Commissioners Spaeth, Kies, Pelosi, and Ubriaco. Motion failed with 4 nays and 3 ayes.
Commissioner Spaeth called to question his motion. Commissioner Kies seconded the call to vote. The Board was polled for the call to question. Ayes: Commissioners Spaeth, Howard, Kies, Kubiesa, Morissette-Moll, Pelosi, and Ubriaco. Nays: None. Motion passed to call to question Commissioner Spaeth’s motion that the Board of Park Commissioners maintains its current position in regard to the use of York Commons Park for stormwater as communicated in writing to the City of Elmhurst on October 29, 2014. The Board was polled. Ayes: Commissioners Pelosi, Spaeth, Kies, and Ubriaco. Nays: Commissioners Howard, Kubiesa, and Morissette-Moll. The motion carried with 4 ayes and 3 nays.
Commissioner Kubiesa added that she would like the Park Board to seek assurance in writing from the City that infrastructure improvements will be completed. Commissioner Kies stated that it is not within the Park Board's realm to seek assurance from the City. Commissioner Morissette-Moll stated that she would not want the Park Board to continue to relinquish precious parkland unless the City has presented a referendum to remediate completing infrastructure improvements. Executive Director Rogers reminded the Board that the letter sent to the City on October 29, 2014 requested a commitment from the City to improve infrastructure; the challenge is that the Park Board does not have authority over the City. Commissioner Kubiesa suggested that the Park Board eliminate the City's portion of her proposed request because, in good faith, the Park Board has not received a response from the City yet, but would like the Park Board to address the idea of a referendum that would be under control of the park district pertaining to use of park district land.
There were 5 letters received and read as part of public comment in addition to seventeen visitors who provided comments to the Park Board. To view a transcript of these letters and comments please click on the Complete Meeting Minutes below.
Unfinished Business – Stormwater Management – York Commons Park
Commissioner Kies made a motion that the Board of Park Commissioners review the information in the board packet and the V3’s presentation, and that, given the magnitude of the request for reconsideration, no motion be made, or vote taken, until the February 11, 2015 Park Board meeting after all Board members have had the opportunity to thoroughly review the information. Commissioner Howard seconded the motion. The Board voted to bring the discussion to the table. Ayes: Commissioners Morissette-Moll, Pelosi, Spaeth, Howard, Kies, Kubiesa, and Ubriaco. Nays: none. Motion passed unanimously. Executive Director Rogers summarized the process in developing a cost comparison of using the east and west lobes of York Commons and introduced Greg Wolterstorff of V3 Engineering, who presented a slideshow illustrating the information and figures provided by Burke Engineering comparing the number of homes benefiting from the proposed detention sites at York Commons Park. The presentation was videotaped to be posted on the Elmhurst Park District website (www.epd.org). Comparisons included the number of homes relieved of flooding in a 100-year storm event, the cost of mitigation per home with the use of the west lobe only, both lobes, the east lobe only, each lobe separately or together with improved infrastructure and the use of Madison School property. The comparisons showed that using the west lobe of York Commons Park only with sewer expansion, pump expansion, and compensatory storage would provide relief to 222 homes at an increased cost of $21,600 per home when compared to using both lobes and the same expansions with compensatory storage. The Board discussed the difficult position in choosing which homes should be relieved of flooding. The cost of using the west lobe was significantly less than the east lobe as it does not have as much infrastructure and amenities, has a smaller facility and contains lower volume. Board President Ubriaco was surprised that the use of both lobes did not have a significant impact on Washington Street and asked if there was any way of knowing which homes on Washington Street would be relieved of flooding. V3 Engineer Wolterstorff did not know but made an assumption that it would be homes in higher elevations or near the perimeter. Commissioner Howard stated that a reduction of 8 inches in water levels would be welcomed by residents in the Washington area because that would be the difference of water in the front yard or the foundation. Commissioner Spaeth added that he would want to help all of the homes that are flooding and improved infrastructure would increase property values as opposed to detention areas. The impact of improved infrastructure to the number of homes is significant. Board President Ubriaco reiterated for clarification that the change in infrastructure costs would be either zero or possibly $1 million in savings if the west lobe was not used and infrastructure improvements pursued. Mr. Wolterstorff confirmed that Madison School was not included in the calculations based on the information for just the infrastructure assuming that the York Commons Park east lobe basin occurs then the additional cost is $600,000 to $1.5 million. If Madison School is rolled in, the cost decreases. If property acquisition is required for the storage, then another estimated $3.5 million would be added to the cost (based on the 13 lots required to make up the volume with an estimated $250,000 per lot). Madison School has not been part of the equation, does not change the number of homes impacted but its use shows a very slight decrease in incremental costs. Commissioner Pelosi asked if both engineering firms were interlocked with the information presented. Mr. Wolterstorff confirmed that the information presented was valid. Commissioner Morissette-Moll stated that her concern was that Washington Street residents will remain severely impacted by a stormwater event because they will not be able to eradicate to the level it needs to be eradicated because the concentration of the water depicted in the slideshow will help only homes in the perimeter of the Washington Street area. President Ubriaco said if both lobes were used 52 homes would be removed in an inundation zone in a 100-year flood but 188 would remain. If infrastructure upgrades were completed, 222 homes would be removed. The change in infrastructure to help 222 homes instead of 52 might be between zero and $3.5 million if Madison School is included and necessary property acquired for storage. Board President Ubriaco found the difference in cost and impact by using the detention basins only saddening. Commissioner Kubiesa recaptured her conversations with other Illinois park districts in cities facing the same stormwater issues. Most cities/suburbs have sought a referendum to help their community and the same was said at the national conference. She added that even if the park district would reconsider the east lobe, it would only help 52 homes. In a 50-year rain event, 80 homes at Vallette and Swain will still flood even if both lobes were used for detention. Board President Ubriaco observed that the City's prioritization list has Vallette and Swain lower on the list. Board President Ubriaco stated that she could not sleep at night knowing that she had contributed to a decision that allowed flooding to continue for a cost differential of zero to $1.5 million. The park district took on the stormwater management project because the status quo was unacceptable and wanted to help its constituents. Upgrading infrastructure is the best solution. Commissioner Morissette-Moll concurred that the City needs to go for a referendum.
It was determined that it would take the City 2 to 3 years, including the required permits and use of the west lobe at York Commons Park, to implement the improved infrastructure. The City can start now, but the true spending cost is 2 to 3 years away because of designs and permit applications. Commissioner Howard reminded the Board that the Burke report is from 2011, it flooded in 2013 and again in 2014. The City is willing to make a $15 million investment on infrastructure if the Park District allows use of the east lobe and can start immediately accelerating a benefit to 14 homes. Executive Director Rogers stated that the east lobe does not start the clock ticking on the rest of the infrastructure. Commissioner Pelosi questioned the City’s delay in applying for permits since improved infrastructure was part of the solution. Commissioner Spaeth stated that infrastructure is the only solution for these homes. The Park Board ended discussions of the proposed York Commons Park detention site to continue on to the next proposed park detention site.
Unfinished Buiness - Stormwater Management Discussion– Golden Meadows Park
Commissioner Howard made a motion that the Board of Park Commissioners review and discuss the latest information provided concerning Golden Meadows Park and maintain its current position as regards to use of the park per the City’s request. Commissioner Pelosi seconded the motion. The Board voted to bring the discussion to the table. Ayes: Commissioners Pelosi, Spaeth, Howard, Kies, Kubiesa, Morissette-Moll, and Ubriaco. Nays: none. Motion passed unanimously.
Executive Director Rogers gave a brief explanation of the status of the Park Board’s position on use of Golden Meadows Park for stormwater detention. In December, a notice was received from the IL Dept. of Natural Resources confirming that the west lobe of Golden Meadows Park that was purchased with IDNR grant funds can be used as an off-site storage detention so long as the site retains its recreational use. Prior to the Park Board approving the use of the west lobe, a matrix was provided to help the Board make a decision. On Oct. 1 at a public meeting, the Park Board was considering the east and west lobe at Golden Meadows. Some of the rationale for the west lobe at Golden Meadows Park was for perpetual use and to allow the City to use the property as it saw fit by deeding over the property. Using the west lobe is not easier but the Park Board agreed to help residents who flood on Pine Street despite the fact that it goes against the District's mission. The Park Board could have decided not to allow the city to use parkland at all but instead decided to because the Park District wants to be part of the solution which would be half of Golden Meadows Park. It is feasible to move 75 garden plots, which are a community amenity not a neighborhood amenity that can be distributed to create garden plots in various parts of the city. Relocating a full-sized soccer field is not as practical. If there was room for another full size soccer field in another, it would have already been built. East Court residents’ concerns about the loss of using the park can walk a short distance to the east lobe. No matter where the detention basin is in Golden Meadows it will still back up to homes whether in the east or west lobe. The Park Board would prefer not to have athletic fields serve as detention basins if at all possible. Board President Ubriaco commented that not one area in any of the parks would be easier than the other. Commissioner Kubiesa stated that the Park Commissioners are representative of an entire not just one area and must do what is best for it entirety. Commissioner Howard suggested residents take a look at the area in front of Courts Plus as a representation of the basin’s slope. The Board consensus was that decentralizing the garden plots was a great idea for distributing the amenity across the city and the best concept for those on Pine Street to alleviate flooding. The Park Board values the garden plots and the benefits to the community as a whole. Commissioners Kies, Kubiesa, and Spaeth concurred. Board President Ubriaco concluded the discussion.
Copies of the January 28 V3 Presentation and spreadsheet are attached below.