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Lyons waits one more month for drainage agreement

August 11, 2010 | 08:53 AM
Lyons Township — Next month for sure. They hope.

For one last time, the Lyons Town Board voted to table a final settlement with the Bourdo family over a drainage dispute that's dragged on for seven years.

The Town Board is waiting for two property owners to the west of the Bourdo property to agree to an easement so the town can install a drainage ditch.

According to Town Clerk Karla Hill, those easement agreements are to be signed by Aug. 23. Town Supervisors James Shimeck and Bill Henningfield said they didn't want to sign the settlement if there were any chance that the easement agreement might go unsigned.

Town Board Chairman William Mangold agreed and the issue was tabled for one more month.

In 2003, Phillip and Kimberly Bourdo claimed that drainage problems on South Road and the Hegeman and Lyons Hillside subdivisions caused their house to flood in March that year.

They claimed, in court documents, that the flood cut their property value by $50,000.

In reply, the town claimed the couple neglected their own land, never mitigated any of the alleged damages, and the land is on a flood plain that is beyond town control.

In testimony taken from town officials, it was said that there has always been a depression in the land on the northeast corner of 1727 South Road, and excess water would usually pool there.

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Developments in the area had apparently also cut off drainage tiles and buried culverts that diverted runoff to the White River.

Disagreements arose between the town and some town residents over whether the drainage problems were improved or made worse after the Lyons Hillside and Hegeman subdivisions were put in.

The town tried to have the case thrown out in 2004 for lack of facts supporting the Bourdos' claim.

But the motion to dismiss failed.

Walworth County Judge James Carlson said the facts in the case point to an inadequate culvert with the road acting as a dam.

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However, Carlson also said the experts didn't believe it resulted in an unreasonable collection of water. The judge said he believed suing for damages wasn't appropriate, but the town wasn't immune from blame, either.

The two sides entered in negotiations and in April 2007, and the town and the Bourdos agreed to the basics of a settlement.

The agreement then would require the town to build a drainage system with the Bourdos contributing to the project. The town would have to pay for the balance of the project and also to other property owners for easements.

The town has experienced difficulties obtaining those easements.

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