Lincolnshire considering stormwater fee to raise millions for flood prevention projects

  • Part of Lincolnshire Drive was under several feet of water in 2017 after the Des Plaines River overflowed its banks.

      Part of Lincolnshire Drive was under several feet of water in 2017 after the Des Plaines River overflowed its banks. Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer,

 
 
Posted8/25/2020 5:30 AM

Lincolnshire officials are developing a plan to raise millions of dollars for local flood-prevention efforts through a stormwater utility fee that would be assessed on all properties in town.

The fee could vary depending on whether a property contains a single-family house or is larger, like those occupied by apartment buildings, office buildings and retail centers. Larger properties with more impervious surfaces -- like paved parking lots -- could pay more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Trustees and administrators discussed their options Monday night in a committee-of-the-whole meeting that was held remotely because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Flooding in Lincolnshire has become more common and has worsened in recent years.

The Des Plaines River overruns its banks after heavy rains or snow melts, leaving nearby residential streets flooded and water in some basements. Staff and guests at the Marriott Lincolnshire Report have twice had to flee the hotel in the last two years because of severe flooding.

Lincolnshire also is part of the Indian Creek watershed. The West Fork of the North Branch of the Chicago River runs through town, too.

Old, inadequate sewers are partially to blame for the town's flooding, a consultant reported earlier this year. Additionally, because Lincolnshire's various developers protected mature trees and ecologically sensitive areas rather than bulldoze areas flat, low-lying areas are left with standing water after storms.

The consultant suggested several possible solutions. The biggest calls for expanding the town's storm sewer capacity with larger pipes, building a water pump station and making other infrastructure improvements. That could cost nearly $19 million.

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The consultant also suggested improving local detention basins. That could cost $2.4 million to $4.7 million.

The consultant recommended drainage improvements on private properties, too. That could cost the village about $3 million.

Officials want to include funding for the projects in the budget for the 2021 fiscal year, which begins Jan. 1.

Trustee Julie Harms Muth on Monday wasn't keen on creating special taxing districts that would result in only some property owners' being charged. Although some parts of town flood worse and more often than others, more and more neighborhoods are affected, she said.

Trustee Mark Hancock said all residential property owners should have to pay the same rate.

No final decisions were made Monday. Assistant Village Manager Ben Gilbertson, who heads a committee studying the issue, said his team will develop possible fee structures for a meeting next month.

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