GENEVA TOWNSHIP – Roger and Sara Kubitz said their house on the 38W200 block of Berquist Drive in Geneva Township was their dream home.
They moved into their new home Oct. 1, 2008, in Shodeen Development’s Mill Creek subdivision, which backs up to Geneva Park District property.
Everything was fine, Roger Kubitz said, until two things happened: The park district stopped renting its land out for row crops and last fall put in native prairie plants instead.
Then, a spring thaw in March flooded his backyard.
Photos of the backyard over a five-hour period shows a mass of water and ice within a few feet of the back porch.
“We had zero problems in five years,” Roger Kubitz said. “I went from having 200 gallons of melt on my property to 50,000 gallons coming from their [park district] property through my backyard. What am I supposed to do, make a new river in my backyard?”
He is seeking some resolution to the water problem, because according to Kane County topography maps, his property’s elevation is at the highest point on his block,
“I am nine feet higher than the lowest part of the street,” he said. “If I’m having problems at [the] highest part of the street, what about the lower part?”
He said the row crops allowed water to be released slowly into drainage swales built between the houses to bring runoff into a retention pond.
He asked the park district to create a small berm, five or 10 feet wide, at the edge of the property to redirect runoff to the swales instead of his backyard.
Geneva Park District Director Sheavoun Lambillotte said the park district is not responsible for Kubitz’s water woes, and it would not build a berm.
“It sounds like a simple solution,” Lambillotte said. “But redirecting water out of his yard without having an engineer involved. ... It is the opinion of someone who does not have to do the work or not be responsible for it.”
Lambillotte said that housing being developed in Mill Creek is the more likely cause.
“We have made no changes – no earth moving, just replanting,” Lambillotte said.
Dave Patzelt of Shodeen said the rows from the crops created a washboard effect, allowing water to get caught in each channel and slowing down the progression of the water.
Kubitz also turned to Kane County Water Resources Director Paul Schuch, who suggested that Kubitz regrade his property – which Kubitz said he would not do because it would affect his neighbors – or that all parties cooperate so the park district would agree to put in a small berm with a swale.
Schuch said it would involve using a plow to create a new furrow and a small berm on the park district’s property “to guide water through the furrow to [nearby] Morrill Drive and back to the pond that is there to retain water.”
“It would be very helpful if people could sit down at a table and discuss this,” Schuch said.
Kubitz said he is working with his neighbors, and if park officials do not eventually agree to help control the water flow, they will be looking for an attorney.
“I have no interest in taking this to court,” Kubitz said. “My immediate neighbors said, ‘Whatever it takes.’ “