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FOREST CITY | Officials are considering changing Forest City's sump pump ordinance to prevent water from pooling on the streets and damaging the concrete.

The current ordinance states buildings with sump pump systems to get rid of water that infiltrates the basement or crawl spaces must have a surface discharge point no closer than four feet from the curb if there's no subdrain. 

City Administrator Barb Smith told the city council last week some communities are requiring the discharge point to be no closer than 18 feet from the curb. 

City Councilman Ron Holland said this would create a hardship for some residents, noting the water could just run back into their basements.

Mike O'Rourke, street and sanitary superintendent for the city, said changing the allowed distance to 15 to 18 feet from the curb is "not going to be a popular decision."

However, the city is spending $3 million to improve its streets and officials don't want them to be damaged by citizens pumping private water onto them, he said. 

O'Rourke noted in some neighborhoods people are getting together to do tiling so the water from their sump pumps doesn't go into the street.

He said that could be an option for other residents if the city decides to increase the distance requirement for surface discharge points. 

Holland asked if there could be a "happy medium" between four and 18 feet.  

Smith said she would be fine with a 12-foot requirement. 

However, "we would need to put some teeth into it" so residents can't just have the sump pump discharge go into their driveways and still end up in the street, she said. 

Upon Smith's recommendation, the council agreed to consult the street committee before reworking the sump pump ordinance.

In other business, the council:

• approved a resolution allowing the city to enter into a general obligation corporate purpose loan agreement not to exceed $2.3 million to fund the 2018 street and utility improvement project. 

• approved a resolution allowing the city to enter into an electric revenue loan agreement not to exceed $3.95 million to fund the first phase of the electric distribution improvements project.

• approved a resolution allowing the city to purchase the Forest City Motel property with an internal loan using Tax Increment Financing funds.

Last month the city entered into a purchase agreement for the property to turn it into a development project that will include a new hotel. 

• set a public hearing for 7 p.m. on July 2 at City Hall for an Urban Renewal Plan amendment.

The amendment includes expansion of child care services at the YMCA; the 11th Street improvement project; and improvements to John K. Hanson Drive from J Street to Crystal Lake Road. 



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