KALIDA — Doug Rampe, son of local developer Roger Rampe, and John Remlinger attend this past Monday’s meeting of Kalida’s village council. Their attendance was in relation to the residential development proposed on Broad St. along Plum Creek. This development was part of the lawsuit brought against the village by residents Ed and Michelle Knueve whose property along the south side of Walnut St. is immediately adjacent.

At a hearing held on Wed., Dec. 18, 2019, the court approved an agreement involving the presence of an embankment built by Roger Rampe on the property intended for development. Per this agreement, the court ordered the village to facilitate the “necessary modification and/or removal of the elevation or embankment” by today, January, 8, 2020. And further, that the property will fully comply with the village’s floodplain ordinance no later than March 31, 2020.

Doug Rampe was there to confirm that the work conducted on the embankment met the threshold for “necessary modification” as ordered by the court. To answer that question, village officials then turned to Greg Bockrath of Bockrath Engineering to offer his opinion. The firm often contracts with the village to plan and manage development projects.

Mr. Bockrath stated that he had not been out to the property to view the modification or take any measurements. He then referenced a study by his firm that indicated that the minimum sized pipe needed to move water through embankment (assuming it had no opening) would be 36-inches, plus an additional area for spillover referred to as a “Drainage Checkpoint.” If lacking a Drainage Checkpoint, the pipe (or open area) would need to be larger.

“For now, for the January 8 [deadline],” Mr. Bockrarth said, “If I was going to recommend something, it’d probably be about a six or eight-foot flat bottom, and then just take the side slopes back, at a three-to-one, or four-to-one slope. That should be sufficient for Jan. 8.”

“I think the bottom flat opening is roughly five feet,” said Mr. Rampe. “It’s a minimum of four for sure, but I think it’s five.”

Whether the opening is 48-inches or 60-inches (four or five feet), or more, it is larger than the 36-inch pipe that Bockrath’s studies indicated would be the bare minimum required. Village officials asked for the size of the opening to be confirmed, with the consensus of officials seeming to be that the current opening was likely sufficient to meet the demands of the court order.

Conversation then turned to the March 31 deadline for a final resolution. Meeting this deadline requires the developer to resolve a “net fill” issue involving dirt brought into the site. According to a property survey, approximately 2,000 cubic yards of dirt is in the development that should not be. However, Mr. Rampe contended, and village officials seemed to agree, that this amount of excess dirt being on the property is impossible.

“We know what was hauled in, we have records of that,” said Mr. Rampe. “We know what was moved out of the bottom, and where it was moved. We know where we dumped…That’s why we’re going to get an attorney and go through the ordinance. We didn’t haul-in that amount of dirt, period…When you bring-in 667 cubic yards, you didn’t lose 1900.”

Complicating this assertion is the fact Roger Rampe hired the surveyor, who presumably followed the elder Mr. Rampe’s directions. While village officials seemingly agreed with the younger Mr. Rampe’s common-sense assertion that this amount of dirt could not possibly be “lost,” it remains his and his father’s responsibility to explain the discrepancy produced by their own surveyor.

And, this discrepancy must be resolved before a plan can be formulated and implemented to comply with the end-of-March deadline. To allow ample time for any such plan to be reviewed and commented on, it was requested that Doug Rampe present the plan by Feb. 3, the village’s first regular meeting in February. Referencing his intention to hire legal counsel of his own, Mr. Rampe would not agree to this date, but did state that he understood the need to move quickly in order to comply with the court order.

“I want to say one thing,” added John Remlinger, who had sat with Mr. Rampe throughout the meeting. “I want to tell you what Roger Rampe has done for this town. All he’s ever wanted to do is beautify this town. And, he starts down there at the Stechschulte’s property, to try and do something nice. And the neighbors have done nothing but [explative] on him. One lady yelled at him, and said he wasn’t a Christian, for moving dirt on that property.”

“He paid money to get the property surveyed with survey stakes. And, I don’t know the law on that, but the one neighbor just pulled them up threw them in the grass. He didn’t even know what they were, and they got flags on them. He said they were in his way. It’s Roger’s property, why would it be in his way?”

“Another guy comes running out of his house, while Roger is working on his property, moving dirt, doing what he wants to do, with a video camera. [He] puts it in Roger’s face and yells at him, ‘I got you now. I got you on videotape.’ That’s the kind of neighbors that he’s putting up with out there. Unbelievable in the Village of Kalida. I’ve lived here for 66 years, and it’s unbelievable what he’s putting up with out there.”