Water mysteries continue

By Kathy Helms-Hughes
STAR STAFF
khelms@starhq.com

   The rain came down in buckets Thursday outside the offices of the Carter County Highway Department, while inside, residents who had had their fill of clogged tiles and stormwater runoff from their neighbors' properties came to complain.
   Frances Howard, who lives on Hope Street near Hunter Elementary, said her water problems started about four months ago. She told Highway Committee members that she now has 6 to 8 inches of water in the basement of her home all the time.
   Highway Committee member Jack Buckles, who also is a member of the Stoney Creek Volunteer Fire Department, told the group that the fire department had been to Howard's home three to four times to pump out the basement.
   Everyone who has inspected the water problem in and around Howard's residence is mystified as to the source. Buckles said there was no water flowing through a nearby tile, but the water "bubbles up in the basement like a spring."
   Highway Committee Chairman Jerry Pearman said he visited Howard's home on two occasions a week ago, "and there was 6 inches of water in the basement. She had two sump pumps going."
   Robert Lewis, a neighbor who lives on the opposite side of the street, complained that he had water flowing through his back yard, but he believes that his problem stems from a nearby church parking lot.
   Howard's home is located near Howard's Landing subdivision.
   "They didn't have a problem until they put that subdivision in there. That's why I didn't sign off on it," County Highway Superintendent Jack Perkins said.
   Pearman and County Planning Administrator Chris Schuettler will take another look at the neighborhood next week to see what can be done, Pearman said.
   Johnny Hobbs, who lives on Siam Road, said he is plagued by water coming out of nearby Webb Hollow. Hobbs said there previously had been a tile and a ditch there to divert stormwater from his property, but when new apartments and a parking lot were built nearby, his water problems began.
   "I've had several cars off in my field and yard when the water freezes," he said.
   Marvin Griffith of King Springs Road in Carter County said newly installed curbs which stretch about two-tenths of a mile near his home are now channeling water from his neighbors' property to his.
   "I feel like everybody is putting their water off on me. When the curb wasn't there, everybody got their share," he said. "I feel like I'm being used and abused."
   The Highway Committee will revisit some of the above problems at its next meeting, while some will be taken up by the Carter County Planning Commission at a future date.
   Also on Thursday, the committee proposed naming a road that veers off of U.S. Highway 19E at Hampton High School for Rachel Clawson, who died last June while working as a flagger on the U.S. Highway 91 construction project. Clawson was a 2000 graduate of Hampton High School, and a member of the girls' basketball team.
   Pearman said the road proposed to be named after Clawson is now unnamed and would require no residential address or 911 changes. The matter will be submitted to the Carter County Commission for approval at its April 21 meeting.