Spencer Bolson raised concerns about stormwater drainage during a public hearing last week on Aase Haugen Properties’ request to rezone property for a housing project.
After the hearing, the Council approved the first reading of the ordinance rezoning the property from H-M Hospital Medical and R-1 single family residential to R-3 multiple family residential in order to build eight duplexes for a total of 16 “patio homes” near the Vennehjem senior living facility solar array. Patio homes are units of several houses attached to each other with shared walls between units. The square footage for the homes will range from 1,700 to 2,000.
Bolson told the Council last Monday he already experiences significant water runoff from the Vennehjem development and the hard surfaces it created. He said he’s concerned the stormwater from the proposed development will funnel more water into the same drainage system.
“There will be more water coming down than we can handle. It floods with a two-inch rain,” said Bolson, who owns property on College Drive west of the proposed development.
“I got so much water down at my place this spring and whenever we have a big rain,” he said.
Any construction in the area near Vennehjem will affect the properties along College Drive below, Bolson added.
“I’m wondering what’s going to be done about that … Given all the water that comes through my property, it’s going to bother other people too when that much building goes on up there,” he said.

Stormwater plan
City Manager Chad Bird said his plans do show a stormwater management area for the new development.
“The intent for the developer is to capture as much (water) as possible in the management area, downstream of the development,” Bird said.
City Engineer Lindsay Erdman said the drainage from the proposed housing development would not go in the same direction as Vennehjem's.
“The housing proposed is south and east of the large Vennehjem building and drains to a ravine that goes through the Luther (College) woods,” Erdman said. “All of this (the runoff) from the proposed development will go into new drainage that isn't going in your direction,” Erdman said.
“It would be a relief if it doesn’t,” Bolson said.
Bolson added the drainage from the Vennehjem facility was intended to flow into an existing pond below it. However, the stormwater runs into a ravine below the pond and ends up on his property.
“If it could be changed to discharge into the pond instead of below the pond, it would be a big help,” Bolson said.
Erdman said it’s possible the pond needs some maintenance to accommodate the Vennehjem runoff.

Neighbor impact
Council member Dan Bellrichard asked if the city follows up on stormwater retention plans for new developments to make sure they are working.
Bird said in development preplanning meetings with department heads, and the engineer, developers are required to submit their stormwater plans and calculations on what storm event they’re building for.
Bird said if it’s a concern, the Council might want to discuss if structures needs to be built to accommodate more severe weather events.
“Last August was a 500-year plus flood. It’s hard to design for that,” he said.
“It’s really important to make sure it’s (the development) not a net negative for surrounding neighbors, as far as stormwater retention and runoff,” Bellrichard said.
Council member Chuck Lore said he’s been impressed with what the developer has proposed.