Town Crier Articles

Retention Pond Repairs and Reconstruction on the East Side of Village Walk
Posted on May 1, 2023 7:22 AM by Jack Espinal, Board President
There are two Stormwater Management Best Management Practices (BMPs) (commonly referred to as retention ponds) - numbered BMP-04 and BMP-06 - east of Village Walk as shown in the aerial photograph below. They have never been given full approval by James City County (JCC). The BMPs are solely owned by Settlers Market LLC. JCC only gave interim approval for the use of the two BMPs after their construction years ago. However, numerous problems with these BMPs have been identified by JCC and are pending correction.
BMP-04 and BMP-06 were not constructed in accordance with the original developers proffers and County approved specifications. As a result, Settlers Market has been directed to repair, reconstruct and provide maintenance to both of these BMPs. This corrective action must take place before JCC provides formal approval and accepts both BMPs and releases any bond funding. The following deficiencies and needed modifications/repairs have been identified:
  1. The current 4-foot-high fencing around the BMPs must be replaced by fencing 6 feet high as called for in the original BMP specifications.
  2. Piping for water outflow in both BMPs was not built to the required specification and will have to be corrected.
  3. BMP-04 must be modified by removing the existing wall and replacing it with a new retaining wall that will be offset 5 feet from the original wall.
  4. Some of the BMP retaining walls appear to be moving which require survey stations to be installed on the brick wall to monitor any future movement.
  5. Down drainpipes were not installed at the proper elevation and that has to be corrected.
  6. There are areas of subsidence that will have to be repaired.
  7. There are severe areas of erosion in the barrel pipe outflow areas that require attention.
  8. A down pipe was not installed with a positive slope to the riser structure and this has to be corrected.
  9. Proper riprap (layers of large stones that prevent erosion) was not placed properly in the pond areas and that will have to be addressed.
  10. Volunteer vegetation has grown over the years and must now be removed.
Settlers Market LLC is solely responsible for all of the work that is required to bring both BMPs up to standards. They have contracted with AES Consulting Engineers to develop a plan to mitigate the problems identified by JCC. 
The new Settlers Market management company, located in Florida, wants to have all work on the BMPs completed by late December 2023. Considering the magnitude of the work needed, this date is very ambitious and the mitigation work may take longer to complete. Once JCC approval is received for the plan, bids for the project will go out potential contractors, probably sometime in June 2023. The anticipated time frame for completion of all work is between 180 and 220 days after the contract is awarded.
There are two major BMP construction activities that will have the most impact on Village Walk residents.
The first major activity will be the replacement of the existing 4-foot-high steel fence around both BMP-04 and BMP-06 with similar 6-foot-high steel fencing. The associated work has the potential of damaging some of the NTRA shrubbery that is located near the top of the walls on the west sides of both BMPs. If damaged, the shrubbery will have to be replaced by Settlers Market.
The second and much larger construction activity will be the removal of 580 feet of retaining wall along the north side of BMP-04. After this wall is removed a new retaining wall will be built, offset by 5 feet from the existing wall. This work will include the removal of the existing brick/concrete wall and a large amount of earth.  All of the brick, concrete, debris, and earth will have to be transported out of the area through the Village Walk neighborhood using a short section of Trailview at the edge of the Village Walk neighborhood closest to Shirley Park. The contractor’s vehicles will probably also be using part of Settlers Market Blvd for access to the construction site. We will encourage Settlers Market and the contractor to make good use of all the nearby, usually empty, shopping center parking lots for the staging of materials and parking of their construction equipment and vehicles.
Once the existing wall and earth have been removed a new retaining wall will be constructed. Building materials for this new wall will also have to be moved through the Village Walk neighborhood and be staged in the or near the construction area. Finally, fill dirt will have to be trucked in to backfill the area behind the new wall. This is a very big construction project.
Both BMP ponds will have to be drained and it is likely that significant amounts of sediment will have to be removed from both ponds so that the existing piping can be regraded and repaired. The sediment will also have to be moved through the Village Walk neighborhood. Additional maintenance work in and around the BMP ponds may also be required because both BMPs have not been adequately maintained by Settlers Market since their initial construction.
The costs for all of this repair and reconstruction will be borne by Settlers Market LLC. A site plan has been submitted and a construction plan will be presented to JCC in the very near future for approval. Once the construction plans are approved by JCC, bids from contractors will be requested and a contract will be awarded. The total cost for the project is not currently known but considering the magnitude of the repairs, maintenance, and the reconstruction of one retaining wall, it is likely to be a multimillion-dollar project.
Since the repair work for both BMPs will impact the NTRA, the NTRA will also be required by JCC to approve the construction plans. In order to protect everyone involved, performance bonds for the completion of all work on the BMPs will be required and each entity, including the NTRA, will be included in the contractor’s liability insurance policy.
When the work on the BMPs is completed, inspected, and approved by JCC, the maintenance responsibility for both BMPs will pass to the New Town Commercial Association (NTCA). At that point in time the users of the retention ponds will become responsible for all future maintenance. The cost for this periodic future maintenance will be shared, based upon the amount of stormwater flowing into the ponds from each area.
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