Frequently Asked Questions

Swales and Berms

(Q): What if there is an obstruction in a swale or major canal?
(A): Contact the District Office and report the location and problem as soon as possible.

 

(Q): Why are my swales full of water?
(A): The District is designed to manage stormwater through a network of swales and canals. The swales are doing their job - holding stormwater that runs off from surrounding homes, driveways, yards, and roadways - and allowing it to filter through the soils into the ground below.

 

(Q): Years ago there was not as much water in the swales. Why is there more now?
(A): The reason is development. Years ago there were many natural areas in the District that held water. As lots were developed, these natural areas were filled in and homes, patios and driveways were built on the property. This creates impervious surfaces that create additional runoff.

 

(Q): What if my driveway culvert if blocked or damaged and water will not drain during heavy rain events?
(A): Landowners are responsible for inspecting and maintaining their driveway culverts and keeping them free from sediment and debris. They should be cleaned as needed. If damaged, they should be replaced. Contact the District office for more information.

 

(Q): Can we ride our ATVs on the canal berms/banks?

(A): No. Canal maintenance berms are not designed for motor vehicle use and they are prohibited. Use for any other purpose, such as walking or horeseback riding, is at your own risk.

Voting, Petitions and Ballots

(Q): I wasn't asked to sign a petition for a roadway improvement. Doesn't everyone of the roadway need to sign?
(A): No. The current requirement for improvement petitions is set at a majority (over 50%) of the petitioned area. The District does post signs to notify those on the roadway that a petition is being circulated. Once petitions are verified by the District Engineer and presented to the Board of Supervisors at a Board meeting, they will be posted on this website and and published in the District Notes & News, which is mailed to all landowners.

 

(Q): Do all landowners who have received a ballot for a referendum have to cast a ballot for a referendum to pass or fail?
(A): No. If a majority (over 50%) of the landowners in the affected area vote in favor of the project, it will pass. It does not need to be 100%.

 

(Q): Will the assessment to maintain my dirt road go away if the referendum passes and the road is paved?
(A): No. That assessment cost will be used to maintain the improved road in the future when it needs resurfacing. The referendum cost is only for construction of the roadways.

 

(Q): What if I've lost my ballot or did not receive one?
(A): Contact the District for a replacement ballot. If a duplicate ballot is cast, the first ballot received is the one that is counted.

 

(Q): What if I have a question about a ballot?
(A): Please contact the District office. We'd be glad to answer any questions you might have.

Road Paving

(Q): What are the District plans for additional road paving?
(A): There is no District initiative for additional paving. Roadway improvements are limited to those initiated by landowners.

(Q): How do landowners initiate road improvements?
(A): The first step is a petition. If a majority (over 50%) of the affected landowners request that their road(s) be considered for upgrade, the District may initiate an engineering study.

(Q): What does the engineering study consider?
(A): Many things are evaluated in an engineering study. The conditions of the current dirt road, the traffic situation, structural considerations of the roadway base, drainage considerations, cost, impact on the community, and many other issues may be considered in the study.

(Q): How is the engineering study used?
(A): The study defines the project. It will define the specific road (or roads) recommended for paving and it will define the benefited area (those landowners that will benefit from the improvements). The study also defines the technical details of the proposed project such as base and sub-base requirements, road surface material specification, roadway elevation, and so forth. And, most importantly, the study will define the cost.

(Q): Then what happens with the engineering study?
(A): If the Board of Supervisors accepts the results of the study, it can be put to the landowners for a vote in the form of a referendum. If the referendum passes, then the Board of Supervisors may direct the District Engineer to prepare an Engineer's Report and Plan of Improvements. Once the Engineer's Report and Plan of Improvements have undergone a public approval process, the District may construct the improvements as defined in the plan and levy a special assessment against the benefited landowners.

(Q): Can the cost of these improvements be financed?
(A): Yes, and the estimated cost per parcel per year would be presented in the referendum.

 

(Q): Can the cost of these improvements be paid up front?
(A): Yes, landowners may pay for the improvement up front if desired.

(Q): What roadway surfacing materials are currently available to landowners and what about other roadway surfacing or stabilization materials?
(A): The District has researched and evaluated a number of alternative road surfacing materials that may provide an improved surface at an affordable cost. Open Graded Emulsified Mix (OGEM) material has been evaluated and approved by the District as an alternative to hard-surface asphalt (built to Palm Beach County pavement standards). The OGEM material has been chosen by a number of landowners for their roadway because it provides a good, durable surface at significant savings. It is currently being successfully used by Palm Beach County and other counties in the state, as well as this District.

(Q): How frequently are the unsurfaced roads graded?
(A): A detailed work schedule is available at the District Office. On average, the major roads in the District are maintained at least once a week. Traffic volume, weather conditions, mechanical failure, priority emergencies, or personnel availability may alter the schedule without notice.

 

If you have any additional questions, please see our other pages or contact the District office at 561-747-0550 or sirwcd@sirwcd.org.