Rhine approves pond improvement request

by Sabrina Nucciarone
Review Correspondent

RHINE - A request from Brock and Lynn Brownrigg to “make alterations and improvements to their existing pond,” tabled during the December meeting, was brought back before the Town Board at their Jan. 2 meeting.

The board expressed concerns in the December that there was not enough information for them to make an informed decision. The Brownriggs were instructed to provide the information to the board.

Having been forwarded the information via email and hard copy by the Brownriggs’ chosen pond management developer, The Pond People, the board was able to review the scope of the project.

Opening the discussion up to public comments, the Brownriggs’ neighbor, Terri DeMaster, had two major concerns in the event of water overflow: the silk fencing that is erected during the re-development of the pond and an adjacent berm that is part of the design of the pond.

Scott Schara of The Pond People was present to address any issues.

“The silk fence is only required if you disturb more than an acre. The purpose of the fence is to prevent dirt from going into public water. The water going through the fence goes across existing sod. The berm, regarding overflow, is purely esthetic. The six-inch overflow pipe would handle any significant rain event,” Schara said.

DeMaster, still concerned about significant overflow, didn’t seem convinced.

“(The) odds of water flowing across the land is negligible, as it would be in any situation. The water held in frost will be absorbed or will be minimal flow,” at the melting point, Schara said.

The board approved the plans for the project as presented.

In an ongoing project still in the preliminary development stage identified as Trackside Homes, a multi-unit housing venture, the board discussed a predevelopment agreement.

The proposal also involves the Little Elkhart Lake Rehabilitation District, the town of Plymouth, the town of Rhine, various committees, contractors and more. However, the discussion was based on what those board members present and Paul Boocher, town of Rhine Comprehensive Planning Committee member, could comment upon.

It is the board’s understanding that one attorney is representing certain facets of the development. Since the construction project would straddle the border of the two towns, it was thought that having one attorney involved may be a conflict of interest.

Town Chair Ronald Platz disagreed, saying one person with legal expertise could view each town’s governance for its merit as far as the project is concerned. However, the situation remains in the predevelopment stage.

“We are not committing to anything, but everyone involved would have to give permission,” Platz said, before the project moves forward.

Boocher wanted to know if it is for the contractor to pay for the sewer charges as it effects each town entity as the development progresses.

“The owner and developer, they are responsible for any studies,” Platz said.

Supervisor Allen Feld agreed with that statement, adding that with an escrow account, the owner and/or developer could use monies for studies or liabilities incurred by the project in its entirety. “I have no problem with a pre-development agreement and that town of Rhine should incur no costs,” he said.

Noting that there is a border agreement between both towns regarding this building project, there was a brief misunderstanding about the town borders - the border of the towns have not changed even though the project straddles the borderline.

“The border, it is an issue,” Boocher said.

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