Drainage and grass clippings fill Shippenville session

By Samantha Beal

CLARION NEWS Writer

SHIPPENVILLE

Knox resident Mike Guntrum spoke to members of Shippenville Borough Council on behalf of his mother, borough resident Oanh Guntrum. Oanh Guntrum who lives on North Third Street has been experiencing heavy water drainage onto her property.

"We're having problems with an open storm drain up on Second Street that feeds onto her property," explained Mike.

The issue, according to Mike, has been happening for several years.

"It's completely washing her whole yard out," said Mike. "She's dumped hundreds of dollars in for her landscaping (and) fill. Probably three quarters of her backyard can't even be mowed because it's just complete swamp."

Council president Linda Duffee noted many borough properties have had water problems this summer.

"We understand that there's all this extra rain," said Mike.

Mike argued Oanh's property is a special concern because a drain empties onto it. He explained, recently it's caused water to run about three feet deep across Oanh's property and has even flooded a crawl space under her house. Mike provided pictures of the issue to council.

Council vice-president Craig Lewis said he's seen some of the damage.

According to borough records, the previous property owners asked the borough for permission to fill an open ditch that would have diverted the water. The borough agreed the owners could do it if they maintained the ditch.

Duffee said having three feet of water running over the property is hazardous.

"What would your suggestion be?" she asked.

Mike said the water from Second Street needs to be able to reach a drain on Third Street.

"They have to connect," said Oanh. "They have to go someplace."

Mike agreed reopening the former ditch would "be a simple solution." Lewis said he and maintenance man Russ Rennard could look into adjusting the ditch.

Councilman Chuck Knight recognized building up the ditch might not fix the issue.

"But we can try to resolve the problem," concluded Knight.

Duffee asked if Mike could maintain the ditch if the borough opened it. Mike said he would. Council agreed to consult Rennard about the problem.

"I appreciate the help," said Oanh.

Grass on streets

Council again discussed property owners who have been mowing grass onto the street. Duffee stated clippings make roads slippery and leaving them on the road is illegal.

"If somebody gets hurt a motorcycle slides out from under somebody going around one of our streets it comes back on us," said Duffee.

Knight added grass clippings on the road also ends up in the storm system and blocks drains.

Citing other maintenance issues, like keeping bushes trimmed, council decided to generate a checklist letter that can be used to notify property owners if they have any issues with property maintenance.

Other business

lCouncil identified three areas to add to a CDBG community plan: Main Street sidewalk updates, storm water system renovations and maintaining vacant housing.

lCouncil received a letter from borough legal counsel Andrea Stapleford regarding a property at 108 Second Street in violation of the nuisance ordinance.

Stapleford continues to search for the entity responsible for maintaining the property.

lCouncil voted to have Jefferson Paving paint crosswalks for an estimated $2,500 for work and flagger services.

Council members Rose Schreckengost and Dutch Robertson were absent during the proceedings.

Council next meets at 7 p.m. July 24 in the borough building.