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Township could face daily fines in stormwater dispute

Published: Friday, Oct. 11, 2013 11:30 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Oct. 11, 2013 11:35 p.m. CDT

CRYSTAL LAKE – A dispute between a Crystal Lake resident and the Nunda Township Highway Department soon could be resolved.

How costly it will be remains to be determined.

The Nunda Township Highway Department could face daily fines likely ranging from $750 a day to $1,500 a day if the McHenry County state’s attorney finds the department acted improperly when it worked on a culvert and diverted stormwater runoff without obtaining the proper county permits.

County engineer Cory Horton, who sent a letter in July to the township warning of potential fines for failing to follow the permit process, informed Douglas Mann – the resident who brought the complaint – that discussions with the state’s attorney were ongoing this week to determine the next step.

Mann, of 3007 Garden Lane, said his home stands to be harmed most by the unauthorized work and hopes to come to a resolution. Mann said he knows the potential fines could be damaging to the township, so he is hopeful an in-person meeting with Highway Commissioner Mike Lesperance on Tuesday can end the dispute.

“I wish the county would have been a little more aggressive in pursuing this, but I’m glad it is moving forward,” Mann said. “We will see how the meeting goes, and what the state’s attorney says.”

The disputed project started after flooding issues arose from the June 26 storms when easements on the north and south side of Running Iron Drive were overwhelmed and caused damage to some property on the east side of Garden Lane.

Although Mann said that issue is important to fix, he added that Lesperance’s decision to divert the flow from the easement on the north side of Running Iron Drive to the one on the south side would result in all floodwater pounding his property and only transfer the problem.

Lesperance never provided proof of engineering, and Horton eventually warned the township it violated two county ordinances: developing in a flood-prone area without a permit and changing the direction of stormwater runoff without a permit.

Lesperance, who has refused to discuss the issue in the past, was unavailable for comment Friday. He will not return to the office until Tuesday, when he is scheduled to meet with Mann.

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