Thursday, July 21, 2011
Developer agrees to build retention pond
By SUE WATSON
Terry Fortwengler wants to build a house on a lot he bought in Carriage Manor Subdivision.
Developer Dean Long and his partner Doug Stalling want a hold on building permits in their 58-acre subdivision lifted by the Marshall County Board of Supervisors.
The problem of about a year and a half standing has been flooding of yards in the western side of the subdivision because of heavy runoff waters when it rains – flooding caused by developers who take off the topsoil, trees and other water-slowing natural devices when they scrape off a lot to build a new house.
“I have a large investment in this,” Long said. “There were four of us when we started out. Times are not good for developers right now.”
After much discussion at the July 11 meeting of the board of supervisors, a solution seems to be at hand. County engineer Larry Britt will specify the size and location of a retention pond that will be expected to hold back heavy runoff and subsequent erosion in the west side of the subdivision. Long said he and his partner will build it so he can keep his development going.
Supervisor Keith Taylor, who does not want to see either empty lots or receive complaints from disgruntled homebuyers, said he wants to see the permit embargo lifted on Long’s development.
“Holding up permits was just a way to deal with the water problem,” he said.
In order to ease some of the pressure, the county installed a larger culvert under DeSoto Road and cleaned out some ditches but it was not sufficient to handle the water, Taylor said. Some homebuyers have filled in the ditches in front of their lots so they can mow the lawn to the edge of the road, he said. That is causing water to stand in the yards, and the culverts to the lots are half-filled in with silt, he said.
The runoff was also causing flooding of some streets, houses and yards in DeSoto Farms subdivision.
“It’s the hardest thing to do to control water,” said supervisor Ronnie Joe Bennett.
“When you change the natural flow, you change the speed and volume. When you start disturbing the natural ground above (the elevation of someone’s lot), you are responsible for that water and where it goes.”
Taylor said there are always two sides to a controversy and he has to be fair to both (the folks whose yards are flooding and to the developer).
“We don’t want to put stress on you, Mr. Long; we want to make sure...” said Bennett.
After Long agreed to build a retention pond to the engineer’s specifications, the attorney said the hold on permits should be lifted entirely.
“We build good houses and have been here for years,” Long said. “We want to do the right thing.”
The board approved the permit for Fortwengler to build his house on Lot 14 since it was not on the side of the subdivision affected by the flooding.
Supervisors said they will lift the hold on building on all lots in the Carriage Manor subdivision after Long builds his retention pond.
Beale Road bridge
State engineers opened a single bid for replacement of the bridge on Beale Road – now redesigned to meet federal earthquake guidelines. State engineers estimated the cost of construction of the seismic-designed replacement bridge to be about $972,974, according to district engineer Jerry Gilliland. But the sole bidder, Talbot Brothers Contracting Inc., of Nesbit, came in at $1,601,642.
Gilliland said this bridge is the first one bid under the new seismic-design requirements in this area and possibly in the entire state. The cost estimate went up $400,000 when the bridge was redesigned to meet federal seismic standards, he said.
State engineer Brooks Miller will have to look at the overall budget before deciding on whether to accept or reject the bid, Gilliland said.
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