PITTSBURG — The Silverback Landing housing addition has been a hot topic of conversation at the past several city commission meetings, and has now caught the attention of not only concerned residents, but the Crawford County Commission.
At Tuesday’s Pittsburg City Commission meeting, Crawford County Commissioner Carl Wood attended and requested more information on plans for stormwater runoff from the city commission and the engineer assigned to the Silverback Landing project, Pete Earles, of Earles Engineering. The matter had been brought to the county commission by concerned residents last week.
The proposed housing development is located south of Rouse on Centennial.
After consulting with county employees, commissioners found the development is surrounded by a floodplain, which empties into county-controlled areas. Commissioners were concerned that — with the development’s houses in place — there would not be enough open land to soak up the stormwater during a heavy rain as it does now.
Wood requested several times that the engineer for the project look into the possibility of putting in retention ponds into handle the runoff. Earles responded that the developer would be responsible for following the rules and regulations of the city. He stated the developer does have a plan for water retention but it does not include retaining ponds.
“I don’t disagree with you,” Earles said “But I’m telling you the developer is going to go by the city regulations today.”
Reached later for comment Pittsburg City Administrator Daron Hall said the stormwater plan would be submitted to the state for review, and doing so would be the engineer’s responsibility.
“We don’t do a lot of these so we are taking it at a pace that is driven by the engineer,” Hall said. “This is not a city project.”
Hall said that he considers the concerns of the citizens to be important and something he takes seriously.
The developer for the Silverback project Mick Vena was reached by phone Wednesday for comment.
“I’m content with the decisions of my engineer,” Vena said. He said he was unaware of Wood attending the meeting, or that the county had concerns about stormwater.
Reached later for comment Wood said he has a responsibility to look out for the people in the county who live downstream of the project, who may be affected by runoff.
“My concern is for the people of the county downstream from this development,” Wood said. “We have to consider where the storm water is going to go, and currently it’s going to go into county areas.
“We have approved a doctor's office in the county that may very well be affected by that water.”
Several residents of the Bitner Housing Addition were on-hand at the meeting as well. Reached later for an interview they expressed joint concern about the storm water.
Jan Allai who has been a resident of the Bitner Addition since 1974 said that she is not against the development, but rather wants it to be done correctly.
“I just want to make sure that all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed, and from what I have seen that has not happened yet,” Allai said. “I just want everyone to do what they are supposed to do for all the residents, the new houses and the existing ones.”
Cheryl Brooks, another longtime Bitner resident said her home is very close to East Cow Creek and already sees high water with just normal rain cycles. She expressed concern that with covering the neighboring ground with houses and not providing proper runoff plans that her home could be flooded.
“We knew what the situation with the water was when we moved there,” Brooks said. “We built up the ground, we do preventive maintenance to lessen the risk, but that may not be enough if they put a lot of water in that creek.”
Pittsburg State University Professor of Construction Management William Strenth, a fellow Bitner resident said that there have been several issues with his project, and the proper process has not been followed.
“What I’m saying is let's do things right,” Strenth said. “Whether its parking, or alcohol, or storm water, lets just do it right. The storm water situation here is not being done right.”
— Keesha Hervey is a staff writer for The Morning Sun. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org