Chestnut Grove concerns now joined by Quail Run

Posted 1/17/19

Drainage concerns were among the top areas for discussion during Tuesday’s meeting of the Bradley County Commission's Road Committee.

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Chestnut Grove concerns now joined by Quail Run


Drainage concerns were among the top areas for discussion during Tuesday’s meeting of the Bradley County Commission's Road Committee.

Chairman Kevin Raper first wanted to address a drainage issue in the Chestnut Grove subdivision that has been discussed by the full county commission and the Road and Finance committees.

Raper said commissioners recently heard a legal opinion from the County Technical Advisory Service on public road departments working outside of rights of way. Bradley County Attorney Crystal Freiberg also shared her opinion, and commissioners are waiting for an opinion from the state attorney general.

"As far as I'm concerned, if (Bradley County Road Superintendent) Sandra Knight says it's not part of the roadway, I don't see a need of voting on it," Raper said.

No dissenting opinions were shared by committee members.

Raper said the Finance Committee tabled this issue until county officials hear from the state attorney general on a request for an opinion. In addition, Raper said the county commissioner who asked that this issue be discussed by the committee has withdrawn that request.

The issue at Chestnut Grove centers on erosion threatening a roadway and public utilities placed outside the right of way. Knight maintains her department cannot work on a failing retaining wall in the subdivision because it is on private property. The legal opinions from Freiberg and CTAS support Knight.

While commissioners are in wait-and-see mode on Chestnut Grove, a new drainage issue in the Quail Run subdivision was referred to the Road Committee by Commissioner Thomas Crye, who said two property owners have complained.

The latest concern came from resident Kelly Poppel, who said she has owned her property for about three years but more recently discovered a "very large erosion issue" on the edge of the property.

"The electrical lines were actually exposed," she said, adding she looked at the drain and saw water coming out fast, "like a fire hose."

Poppel said some work was done in May to install a ditch to help direct stormwater runoff, but the ditch was damaged by stormwater in September. She said she needs help to determine where water needs to flow "to not destroy property." Poppel shared videos of damage caused by stormwater, and of drainage grates near curbs that appear to be undermined by erosion.

Raper asked if the area of Poppel's concern is in the county right of way. Knight said it's not, but the drainage tile under the road is in the right of way.

Poppel said the contractor she hired recommends digging a deeper, wider ditch. However, the ditch can't go deeper because of utilities, she said.

"I can't have my property continue to erode like this," Poppel said.

Poppel added she found on the county's website a note that the Road Department can ask for a temporary easement to do work outside the right of way. Knight said the Road Department has used that before, to go on private property in order to access areas in the public right of way that need to be worked on, but not to work on private property.

Knight added the existing drain pipe is not overflowing.

"The drainage seems to be working the way the drainage was designed to work," she said.

Knight said the drainage grate may need to be replaced with an open inlet, and she will look into that.

Commissioner Dennis Epperson said this past year has seen a lot of rain, that has resulted in more drainage issues being reported.

Commissioner Louie Alford asked Knight if the Road Department could change the grates "to help solve some of it." Knight said she’ll look into it.

Poppel asked if she can get permission to buy drainage pipe and connect to the existing drainage tile. Knight said that can be done if there is also a manhole for access, with a structure that doesn't actually connect with the existing drainage tile.

Poppel said overflow from the ditch is now flooding another property.

"As the homeowner I'm trying to do the right thing," Poppel said.

Knight said the property owners need to go back to the original developer and engineer.

Also, Poppel asked the county to review what it can do to help homeowners in the entire subdivision.

"We'll look at that," Knight said.

Poppel asked if it is possible to install another stormwater drain to help alleviate the issue. Knight said the existing drain is the size required by the engineer on the subdivision project.

"We'll go back and pull everything and look at it," Knight said.

The other Quail Run property that has previously been discussed by the Road Committee was also mentioned.

Crye asked if there is a way for the property owner to get permission to install additional drainage infrastructure near the driveway, or for the Road Department to expand the curb. He asked Knight to look into it.

On a side note, Knight suggested residents call the Road Department with issues related to the roads rather than calling their county commission representatives. She said the Road Department can open a work order and move on it more quickly than if the request comes through a county commissioner as a referral to the Road Department.

The Road Department can be reached at 728-7006.

After the lengthy meeting with updates from Knight, committee members thanked Knight for her work.

“Ms. Knight, you don’t get enough thanks for what you do,” Raper said at the end of the meeting.

Knight gave credit to her staff for their hard work.

Epperson and Commissioner Tim Mason also expressed their appreciation to Knight.

The Road Committee’s next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 25, at 10:30 a.m., in the Louie Alford Commission Conference Room at the Bradley County Courthouse.


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