Zoning ties county's hands in flooding complaint

By Thomas Wilson
STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   The county commission's Highway Committee discussed how to alleviate storm water run-off problems from two lots in the Colonial Acres Subdivision -- despite a lack of zoning enforcement authority by the county.
   Committee member Larry McKinney said he had received phone calls about water created by sporadic heavy rainfall spilling onto property by residents living near the lots on Bunker Hill Road.
   However, the county cannot enforce a zoning ordinance in an un-zoned district.
   "With a lack of zoning, we have a lack of control over those projects," said Chris Schuettler, county planning director.
   The 6th District is not bound by county zoning standards such as requiring building permits or construction regulations for commercial or residential developments.
   Schuettler said a federal mandate regarding storm water run-off would go into effect through the state Department of Environment and Conservation in March. That law would require a permit process for property development that created storm water flooding onto neighboring property.
   The owner of the two lots, Gay Triplett, said she was willing to do anything to solve the problem.
   "I'll be glad to do whatever because I certainly don't want to create a problem," she said. "The most important thing is we do not make a mess. I went up there one Saturday and took a shovel and hoe and cleaned it up."
   County Highway Superintendent Jack Perkins told the committee he had been to the property and viewed the red clay mud across the roadway. The property is comprised of two lots with a significant slope toward Bob Little Road.
   "They need to put some hay bales up there and a silk fence," said Perkins. "That's the biggest problem they have up there now."
   Triplett said she had made contact with a neighbor approximately one year ago when torrential rainfall flooded the county. She said she had not heard of any new water troubles since talking to her neighbor one year ago.
   "I told her I'd be glad to do anything to not create a problem," said Triplett, who indicated the run-off trouble only occurred during periods of heavy rainfall.
   Triplett said she had told Dave Parlier -- who she said had done the dozing and the grading work -- to do whatever was necessary to prevent run-off in the event of heavy rainfall.
   She also said she had intentionally left a strip of trees along her property line to act as a natural buffer against water run-off.
   Triplett said a ditch had been dug near the base of the lot and a silk fence had been placed near the middle of the property. A silk fence extended across a portion of the property near Bunker Hill Road on Monday afternoon.
   In other business, the committee voted to recommend naming a county bridge on Ensor Cemetery Road the "Weldon and Hazel Davis Memorial Bridge" after receiving a petition signed by 75 community residents requesting the naming.
   The full commission will hear the recommendation at its regular meeting on July 15.