County Planning Commission works on storm water ordinances

By Megan R. Harrell
Star Staff

   Members of the Carter County Planning Commission on Tuesday considered developing ordinances for storm water run-off in the county in order to be in compliance with state law. In December, the General Assembly passed legislation requiring counties to develop comprehensive storm water ordinances.
   As a result, Carter County must have a Storm Water Phase II permit filed by March 2003. Chris Scheuttler, Director of Planning and Zoning for Carter County, stated that his office has completed about 75 percent of the ordinances for the county.
   Scheuttler and Planning Commission Chairman, Bob Hughes, have been looking into how other areas are working with Storm Water Phase II regulations. Hughes attended a workshop sponsored by North East State Technical Community College which provided valuable information on how other areas deal with erosion and sanitation problems.
   "The main area that was addressed was how to avoid getting run-off water into our streams," Hughes said.
   In addition to the ordinances, the federal government mandates that all counties adopt a storm water education program. Scheuttler traveled to Georgia and was able to observe the type of education programs available to students there.
   "It was the first full storm water education program I have ever seen," Scheuttler said.
   In the program, kindergarten through high school students are involved in presentations and field trips that allow them to actually see the effects of storm water run-off on the environment.
   Scheuttler would like to see a similar education program adopted in Carter County. "It could make the difference between dad dumping oil down the drain, to the child saying, 'maybe we should not do that'," Scheuttler said.
   Scheuttler stated that he would like to hold a series of storm water education workshops for planning commission members by December. The commission would then present an education program to all commissioners in January 2003.
   In other business, the commission made final approvals for two subdivisions in the county. The George and Katie McKinney Division, Powder Branch Rd., and the Tryree Division, Garland Branch Rd., were approved.
   The commission also approved the design of the Shell Mobile Home Park, Morgan Branch Rd. Final approval is pending until results of soil samples and the installation of two light poles are complete.
   The commission denied approval of the Vival Tolley Property Division, Jim Elliot Rd. Commissioners cited the fact that the property was still in violation of county regulations as the cause of the denial.