In the Northfield News today:

Northfield’s responsibility for impacts of drainage is nothing new

To the editor:

Due to complaints of flooded basements, the City of Northfield is looking at its responsibility for drainage and impacts. The City Council, Planning Commission, Engineering, and City staff need to know that drainage issues are not new. Much of Northfield is built on swampland.

Over 20 years ago, when Presidential Commons was proposed and platted, the plan was to move “Grant Park” and build townhouses over the swale and Grant Park. Grant Park was supposed to have been deeded to the City, a green space condition of approval of a prior development, but that parkland dedication didn’t happen. Next, the developer wanted to build over the park, which the City allowed. This platting would move the park, change drainage patterns, and have a significant impact on pre-existing homes.

Thankfully, an affected homeowner challenged that plan, exposed the Grant Park move and detailed impacts of building over the drainage swale. The City and developer withdrew two lots on the north end of the development and added a berm and walkway to direct drainage toward the pond in the new Grant Park.

Now the City is again looking at drainage issues, mostly in terms of mitigation. Northfield, take a broader view. Based on past experience, it’s a systemic planning issue. The City needs to adequately plan for drainage, and must also revise the city’s process for review of development proposals and plan infrastructure updates necessary to address weather extremes. Has the City been platting where homes don’t belong, without adequate consideration of drainage needs and water issues?

As the City addresses these material drainage problems, the City must establish preventative planning and platting to avoid this need for costly mitigation.

Carol Overland

Red Wing