Chicory’s Plat 18 in trouble

Plat 18, the flood plain area of the Chicory Hills subdivision, was under water during the end of May. As of June 3, half the water had subsided, but big pockets remained, and many involved in the political process of granting possible zoning approval were amazed at how easily developer Jeff Petry’s Plat 18 became part of the swirling, dangerous Rock River. Some wondered whether Petry’s own bulldozers were partly responsible for the water’s wild inundation.

Roscoe’s zoning engineer told me in April that nearly all of Plat 18 was flood fringe, and only flood fringe would be flooded during a 100-year flood. Granted, we’ve had nine inches of rain in May, but March and April were average, and the last two years were drought-like. So, if even your “flood fringe” is flooded in a not-really-so-wet spring, then what happens if the rains really let loose?

Meanwhile, at the June 3 Roscoe Town Council meeting, a dozen in attendance opposed to the flood plain development were shocked to hear the meeting’s agenda had been changed. The council had scheduled discussion and action on Chicory’s Plat 18, but it was put off for two weeks until the next meeting. On June 3, other Petry business was to be dealt with in the category of Hawks Pointe, another of his developments. The council voted not to vote on approval of a bigger retention pond that, in the minds and words of Petry’s lawyer and his engineer, should solve all the collateral damage from the Rock River’s unrequested wetness surplus.

The June 3 meeting was under the scrutiny of Robert’s Rules of Order in the presence of an expert on the subject hired by Roscoe Mayor Ward Sterett to help keep procedural order. A few balked at the cost of hiring such a person, but the mayor deemed it needful as town meetings have been swollen with concerned Chicory Ridge residents and a possible flash point between the mayor and an alderman who was secretly demoted from being parks commissioner by the mayor.

After the meeting, I drove over the Rock River on Bridge Road south of Roscoe. The swollen river had pushed 300 to 400 yards into adjacent farm fields. Though it meant trouble for the farmer, it was an inspiring sight to see the power of a river doing what it was meant to do. I never cry over wet corn, but you should hear me when I come upon a man-damaged river.

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