By JESSICA WILLIAMS
Officials from the Town of Ossian received some direction Monday morning from the county’s surveyor and drainage board on two items.
Ossian Town Manager Luann Martin, Rose Barrick of the Ossian Stormwater Board, and Jim Breckler from Engineering Services turned to the Wells County Drainage Board first for guidance on replacing a potentially undersized culvert at Wood Creek Drive near Sandalwood. The project would also call for guardrails to address safety concerns, as well as riprap to be added near the culvert.
According to drainage code, the entity that owns the public road is responsible for paying the cost of replacing the culvert. Surveyor Jarrod Hahn also recommended the Ossian officials to send a letter of notification to the Department of Natural Resources since the project is near the Eight Mile flood way.
After the meeting, Hahn said after the engineering firm makes a recommendation on the new culvert’s size, he will review the methodology.
The three representing Ossian also discussed with the county drainage board their desire to make a 130-acre drainage area near Rose Ann Heights a county regulated drain. The area straddles the Ossian town limits and the nearby railroad right of way.
Hahn advised the trio of their options, the first of which includes getting every affected property owner to sign a petition requesting it become a county regulated drain, Hahn’s review of the area to make sure it meets specified standards, and then the action of the county drainage board.
Another option is that the town can petition without all the signatures, which would require a different public hearing process. A notice is sent out for the hearing, which is held within 30 days to hear evidence regarding whether the benefits outweighs the cost of the project. The drainage board then makes a decision on whether the area would become a regulated drain, which could then be followed by a request from an involved party for judicial review.
This makes sure due process is given to those affected by it, Hahn said, and “affected” is defined by every property owner in the drainage area.
Hahn said the chances of everyone signing the petition is small. Furthermore, affected property owners within the area will be the ones who pay for any reconstruction – those who are benefited by it pay for it.
The group – including drainage board members Blake Gerber, Kevin Woodward and Tamara Robbins – discussed particulars of the project such as easements for utilities and sewer before moving on to other business.
Also Monday, the board unanimously approved confirming the price of 9 cents per linear foot of spraying open ditches in a contract with Right of Way Management. The price is the same, but due to a contract extension the company was confirming its continuing price.