5/23/13 Second District Appellate Court Hearing – Oral Arguments

Thursday morning, May 23rd,  the IL 2nd District Appellate Court invited attorneys representing Kerry Friedman and those representing the City of Lake Forest and the 27W homeowners (the Bhalala’s) to deliver oral arguments regarding our complaint filed December 2, 2011 where we sought a Temporary Restraining Order and Stop-Work Order for the 27W Onwentsia development.    If you would like to read what the Judges had to review, click through the following link
It will give you an idea of just how many different ways this hearing could have gone.
Also, if you wondered how the experimental engineering project featuring “Smart Vents” handled the big rains of April 17-18th.  Here are a couple pictures for you. The first one shows our east side yard flooding as a direct result of their project.  The second one shows the two front retention ponds – even the driveway itself was flooded.  The third picture shows how full the ponds got.  The last picture is just as described during the BRB appeal to the City Council September 6, 2011 “like a castle with a mote”.
27W driveway drainage failure causes flooding of the east side yard

27W driveway drainage failure causes flooding of the east side yard


Retention ponds and Driveway
ComEd Damaged Line location
Rear lot floodingSo, that’s what has been happening.
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Quick Fix: When a Damaged 600V ComEd Line Meets Mother Nature

Contractor-Created 'Little Chernobyl', Meet Mother Nature

The white wall is a 7′ concrete retaining wall designed to create a mote around the 27W residential structure being built 20′ from the watergarden in 51W Onwentsia’s backyard. If you look closely about where the water level approaches the beginning of the wall, you’ll see a red paint mark. That’s the location where the 600V Commonwealth Edison service line was damaged by the contractor on December 1, 2012.

Rather than wait for a qualified electrical contractor to repair the damage according to ComEd safety standards, the contractor covered the damaged line with a plastic sleeve and proceeded to encase the damaged electrical line in concrete – knowing the intention was for the retention pond to fill with water when the Spring Rains would come.

They’re Here!

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The Best Laid Plans …

edit// This post was originally drafted April 27, 2013 but wasn’t published.  Upon further reflection, it probably wouldn’t have made any difference in the final outcome of all the legal proceedings challenging the building of a house where two wetlands once stood, along with 70 trees and 33,000 cubic feet of floodway soil.  The wetlands, trees and floodway soil were eliminated in order to provide “onsite compensatory storage” for all the stormwater runoff drainage from the  neighbors east of us, all uphill.   Regardless, it is what it is.  And, We The People ~ well, we tried to be heard.  From this point going forward, whatever negative stormwater runoff impacts to the adjacent neighbors, well, that is on the City of Lake Forest.  Shame on them.
This past September, much of the Atlantic Coast was radically changed by Hurricane Sandy, especially the areas between New Jersey and Connecticut. Then, during this winter, many of the same areas – some still without basic utilities like heat and/or electricity were hit by consecutive Blizzards.  During the February 8th storm, total snowfall in Boston, Massachusetts, reached 24.9 inches, the fifth-highest total ever recorded in that city. New York City officially recorded 11.4 inches of snow at Central Park, and Portland, Maine, set a record of 31.9 inches. Hamden, Connecticut recorded the highest snowfall of the storm at 40 inches.
If you wish to point out that this was a larger than usual rain event, I would be the first to agree with you. I will also point out that it follows the most significant and enduring drought since the dust bowl of the 1930’s.
At 5:30 a.m. the morning of April 18, 2013, water backed up on to my property from two directions.  The experimental drainage system at 27 West Onwentsia was tested for the first time and failed.
Both forward reservoirs filled to capacity flooding my garden and the east side of my property. It even partially submerged the driveway at 27W. Retention ponds and Driveway
The giant catch basin fashioned out of the floodplain and the floodway filled beyond capacity pushing water into my backyard.
In the past, in times of high water, when the river ran over its riverbanks andonto the floodway, the water moved with a current.

Current flowing into floodway

Current flowing into floodway

This time, when the river overflowed onto the floodway, it was different.  The river’s flowing current into the newly re-configured floodway – stopped being a current and ceased to flow.
The new house does indeed resemble a castle with a mote.
This scenario was foreseen by me and many of my neighbors.  In fact, it’s been over two years since ten of us signed a petition opposing this project and submitted it to the City’s Community Development Director, the  Building Review Board Chairman and its Members.
Much the same way, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” …
Weather is what you get when you’re expecting something completely different.
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Reflection of Lost Privacy to the 27W development

Reflections of Lost Privacy to 27W

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Reflections of Lost Privacy to 27W




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Living with Wetlands (a homeowners guide in northeastern Illinois)


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Caution: Building in a Wetland Can Be Hazardous to Your House – National Wildlife Federation

Caution: Building in a Wetland Can Be Hazardous to Your House – National Wildlife Federation.

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