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R.A. Smith National, Inc. Knowledge Blog

Grassroots Effort Brings Municipal Water to Bayside

by John Bruggeman 2. May 2016 09:33

John Bruggeman

As a traffic engineer, I don’t deal with water issues on a daily basis. However, as a resident of Bayside, Wisconsin, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in a voluntary project that will provide municipal water access from the Mequon Water Utility to over 550 homes in the village.

The project started as part of a grassroots citizen effort over the past few years, initially focused on a small area of the central village, which spread to encompass large portions of eastern and northern areas of the village. Most of the homes in the project area were served by private or shared wells. Several smaller citizen-led projects, including the most recent in 2013, provided the framework for this project. I served as a block captain to inform residents in my neighborhood and encourage participation in the project. Most of our information sharing was by word of mouth, so it gave me an opportunity to get to know my neighbors better, listen to their concerns and answer their questions. Several project volunteers, including project leader Penny Goldman, dedicated countless hours to the effort.

The Village of Bayside (which took no official position on the project) served as the conduit between the project and Bayside residents, offering numerous public information sessions, newsletter articles and information booths at local events. The Village also provided financing options to residents to pay for the project over a 20-year term.   
 
After 2-plus years of hard work in planning and design, the project was constructed in summer 2015. Construction started in June and was substantially complete by late fall. Final restoration and punch list items will be completed in spring 2016. The final totals included the installation of nearly 14 miles of water main, 106 fire hydrants, and 127 mainline valves for over 500 new Mequon Water Utility customers. With this project, over 85% of the Village now has access to municipal water. 

Connecting individual residences to municipal water is a costly endeavor. This project provided an “economy of scale” by getting a large group of residents to connect at one time and provide a more cost-effective solution. It is believed to be the largest project of its kind in the state of Wisconsin.

Mequon Water Utility distribution system
Image showing a portion of the Mequon Water Utility map showing the homes to receive municipal water access thanks to this grassroots effort. View the entire map below as a PDF.

Mequon Water Utility.pdf (351.49 kb)

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Municipal

Regulation of the Invasive Species Takeover

by Theran Stautz 25. February 2016 13:14

Our native landscape is our home, the little world we live in, where we are born and where we play, where we grow up, and finally where we are… laid to eternal rest. It speaks of the distant past and carries our life in the tomorrow. To keep this pure and unadulterated is a sacred heritage and noble task of the highest cultural value. 
— Jens Jensen, landscape architect, 1860-1951

Theran Stautz, ecologist/project manager

Invasive species, both animal and vegetative, are becoming an increasingly large problem in the United States. Nationally, billions of dollars are spent every year by private landowners, municipalities, non-profits and state agencies to control the spread of these species.  In Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources alone spent approximately $11 million to control invasive species in 2013 (WDNR Invasive Species Report, 2013).

Two examples of recent invasive species issues are the attempts to prevent Asian carp from becoming established in the Upper Mississippi River and the Great Lakes, and the infestation of Phragmites on the south and west shores of Green Bay. Those of us who enjoy camping know firsthand how the State Park System rules have changed in the last several years in regard to firewood and the spread of the emerald ash borer.

Phragmites patch overtaking a stormwater basin.Phragmites patch overtaking a stormwater basin.

The Wisconsin Legislature established “the Invasive Species Rule” in 2009, making it “illegal to possess, transport, transfer or introduce certain invasive species in Wisconsin without a permit” (Wis. Adm. Code ch. NR 40). A list of regulated species can be found at the WDNR’s website.  Additionally, in 2013 the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council created a statewide strategic plan for 2013-2016, highlighting objectives and goals to guide stakeholders in the process of establishing invasive species control plans.

If you are interested in helping with these efforts, please contact your local Prairie Enthusiasts chapter or The Nature Conservancy for more information.  In addition, other local organizations such as Wild Ones, Pheasants Forever and State Parks “Friends” groups provide educational opportunities and other volunteer events.  You can also contact any one of our ecologists at R.A. Smith National.

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Ecology

The Prayer Gardens of St. Dominic

by Tom Mortensen 29. October 2015 11:46

 

Over the past 10 years, I have been involved
with the design and installation of the Prayer Gardens of St. Dominic, part of St. Dominic Catholic Parish in Brookfield, Wis. One of my daughter’s teachers at St. Dominic Catholic School approached me back in 2005 with the idea of creating a special place on the parish campus, and I saw this as a way to give back to the community of friends and families by sharing my talent and passion for landscape architecture in a positive, meaningful way.

The gardens are a very special place and projects such as this don’t come along too often in one’s career. 

The installation of the gardens spanned the past 10 years and was funded by generous donations from members of the parish community. A local studio owned by another parish member created sketches and designs of the various shrines throughout the gardens. The maintenance of the gardens is being donated by a landscape contractor who is also a parish member. Parish pastor Fr. David Reith was the guiding force that provided the ongoing leadership, involvement and support that made this project a reality.

Read more about the garden project in “Landscape Architect and Specifier News” (below) and on our firm’s website.

 Prayer Gardens of St. Dominic.pdf (405.24 kb)

 

 

 

 

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Landscape Architecture

New-Tech Parking Meters Simplify Payment Process

by John Burgan 12. October 2015 12:01

The Wisconsin Chapter of AWPA (American Public Works Association) recently published its October 2015 newsletter. Take a read through all of the informative and interesting articles, including the article from the Engineering & Technology Committee on page 11.

Because of my interest in municipal parking, I chose to feature parking meters and the technology currently used for those operating in the City of Milwaukee. Also of note are mobile parking payment apps. Read on to learn more.

New-Tech Parking Meters Simplify Payment Process
APWA Wisconsin Chapter October 2015 Newsletter

 

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Municipal | Technology

2016 Land Title Survey Standards

by John Casucci 1. October 2015 07:50

What you need to know about the new ALTA Survey standards.

The revised ALTA Survey specifications are scheduled to take effect February 2016.  The below commentary itemizes the significant changes to survey specifications, responsibilities and requirements.

1. The Survey will be known as an ALTA/NSPS LAND TITLE SURVEY. The title has been revised to reflect the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS), which is the legal successor organization to the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM). All references to ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys must be changed to ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys.

Revisions affecting Table A

2. Complete revision to Item 11 – depicting evidence of the location of utilities.

a. Table A, Item 11A – Observed evidence – has been eliminated and is now written into the specifications as Item 5E(ii)-5E(v). All ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys are required to depict surface indications of underground utilities, including ditches, manholes, vents, valves, pedestals, utility poles, etc. 

b. Table A, Item 11 has been revised to: utilities existing on or serving the surveyed property as determined by:

• Observed evidence
• Evidence from plans...
• Markings from utility locate

c. Additional narrative has been added, acknowledging that surveyors must rely on third party locating services (Diggers Hotline), which routinely ignores, or provides inadequate, utility marking. In these cases, the surveyor will note as such on the survey and the client is advised that excavation or a private utility locating request may be necessary.

3. Table A, Item 6 – Zoning classifications and setback requirements have been revised and rewritten to require a zoning letter or report be provided to the surveyor as a condition of depicting the information on the survey.

4. Table A, Item 8 – has been revised to include the depiction of substantial features and uses, including substantial areas of refuse.

5. Table A, Item 18 – Observed evidence of site use as a solid waste dump, sump or sanitary landfill has been eliminated.

6. Table A, Item 18 has been rewritten to identify the location of wetland delineation flags, if a delineation has been conducted. If a delineation has not been conducted, a note stating that no flags were observed shall be noted on the survey.

7. Table A, Item 19 has been changed to depict any plottable offsite easement or servitudes disclosed in record documents.

8. The requirement of setting monuments at the corners of the offsite easements or servitudes has been eliminated.

Revisions referenced in the Specifications

9. Per Section 5 (B)(ii) of the specifications: for abutting public or private roads, the width and location of each edge of the traveled way, including divided streets, must be depicted unless the recorded documents disclose there is no access to the road(s).

10. Per Section 5 (C)(ii) of the specifications: the location of trees, bushes, shrubs or other natural vegetation does not need to be located unless they are deemed by the surveyor to be evidence of possession.

11. Per Section 5 (G)(i) of the specifications: the location of springs, ponds, lakes, streams, ditches, swamps, etc. running through or outside, but within 5 feet of the boundary of the surveyed property, must be depicted. 

12. Per Section 6 (B)(x): the survey must note if there are any areas on the boundaries of the surveyed property where physical access within five feet was restricted.

The 2016 specifications continue the revisions of 2011, which state the survey shall bear only the specified certification and preparing a new legal description is to be avoided unless deemed appropriate by the surveyor and insurer.

Please note that the above is a partial list, and may not reflect the final version scheduled to become effective February 2016. Please contact John Casucci at john.casucci@rasmithnational.com with any questions or for an update on the status of the revised ALTA Survey specifications.

 

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Surveying

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