Highway Department smooths problems for citizens

Photo by Dave Boyd
Roy Nave describes to Highway Deparment members problems he is having with ongoing logging above his property which is causing runoff onto his land.

By Lesley Jenkins
star staff
The rain has slowed over the past month, so the Carter County Highway Department wasn't bombarded with too many residents complaining about flooding roads and ditches at its monthly meeting.
One resident came before the committee with a problem stemming from a neighboring land owner cutting timber up the mountain from his house. Roy Nave, 3044 Siam Road, said Bill Hyder has been clearing timber and building a new road up the mountain, and runoff storm water has been affecting neighborhood houses. He said the area could turn into a flood zone if something was not done to control the excess storm water.
"If something isn't done about it, it's going to turn into a real big problem," said Nave.
Carter County Planning Director Chris Schuettler advised Nave that Hyder can continue logging the land because he is the property owner and followed the proper procedures and obtained a storm water permit for the logging.
County Commissioner Jack Buckles said, "This is not necessarily a county problem. This is a problem of somebody not being responsible with what they are doing with their property. This is someone throwing water down on you."
Chairman Jerry Pearman said, "Chris (Schuettler), is there any way that they can put a settling pond up there and prevent it from coming down on these people?"
"There is a possibility they can put a settling pond up there," Schuettler replied.
"Settling ponds and holding ponds are all right as long as you have a light amount of rain to where the pond can hold it. But if you build a pond up there to hold all the rain we have had this year, it would take the whole ridge," said Nave.
Nave also expressed concern about Hyder being able to build a road without consulting the neighboring landowners. "Did you ask any of the landowners up there if it was going to interfere with their property? No. Now there's mud running down in the road. We have got to get some control over this or we're gonna have more trouble."
Buckles said, "If he has a right-of-way on his own property he can open a road up. He doesn't have to tell nobody. The owner is responsible for the control of this, not the county, but the owner."
Linda Becker, 105 Sunshine Circle, asked the members when Jack Perkins, County Highway Superintendent, could install a tile. "We have a water problem and when we get a lot of rain, it comes down and ponds in my driveway and runs over on my neighbor lady and she can't use her bathroom."
Becker pleased the highway department when she said she already purchased the tile and the gas and water departments have already marked the location of their lines.
"I just need to know before we have another big rainstorm and she washes away," said Becker. Pearman told Becker that the highway department would be there sometime next week.
Commissioner John Lewis introduced Bill James, 126 Pine Ridge Road, who is having problems with ruts and deep grooves in his driveway which is making his road almost impassable. James was concerned that since nurses have to visit the family to make house calls that the road is getting almost un-driveable. Perkins informed the board that Pine Ridge Road is not a county road and that the highway department cannot do anything for James.
Lewis said, "Whether it's a county road or not. He is still a citizen."
The road might also be an access road for the National Forest Service, so the board advised James to contact the forest service and see if they can do anything.
Martha Brooks, 119 Warrior Lane, asked what else could be done to control speeding near Happy Valley High School. The speed limit has already been reduced to 35 mph. The Carter County Sheriff's Department and constables have monitored the area and issued citations to speeding motorists, but, according to Brooks, drivers are still speeding through the neighborhood.
Perkins said he could not install speed bumps because state law prevented speed bump placement. He also said he would not place speed bumps anywhere in the county because of snow plowing in the winter. "How are you going to push snow? You can't. I am not going to put a brand new truck out there and hit the speed bump and take the blade off the first time I go around."