Storm water, floodplain public hearings upcoming

By Jennifer Woods -

Public hearings will be held for two different issues at the Fayette County Commissioners’ Office.

The first public hearing is for storm water management and sediment control. There will be two hearing dates, one on Oct. 26 and the other on Nov. 2. Both are at 9:30 a.m. in the commissioners’ office.

According to commissioner Tony Anderson, stormwater retention is a widely-accepted program across the state.

“It encourages us in Fayette County to get closer to the Waters of the US Federal regulation that was put in several years ago, and it makes commandments over incoming businesses,” said Anderson. “The re-seller, the developer of the property, has to put into place a working program that maintains the integrity of the downstream property owners. There may be a 100 acre property out there that grows crops, and a lot of that water is retained in the field for crops. If a developer comes in and a new [area] is built, that developer will have to meet the engineering standards to still retain the same amount of water — and in some situations that may be a meandering stream, that may be a retention pond that allows it to fill up and then release.

The public hearing will allow those in the community to voice opinions or concerns.

“Every real rainy season there are any number of issues to contend with out in the county that homeowners feel that they have not been treated well by a lack of these regulations. So, there would be some, I would suspect, if this would have been in place when they bought and built, there will be some that are property owners that will hopefully sell their property as a development that will not want these regulations to be so erroneous as to dramatically increase the costs of the sale on the property,” said Anderson. “They will lose some of their sellable property just in order to retain and slow down the flow of that water to the downstream residents.”

The second public hearing is for revisions to a floodplain resolution. There will also be two hearing dates for this issue, one on Nov. 2 and the other on Nov. 9 at 10 a.m.

“The floodplains manager used to be our chief building officer, and that seemed to be the kind of fit that made sense,” said Anderson, “but what we are doing now is moving the floodplain management out to our local Soil and Water Board, and those folks will be helping manage the more clearly defined floodplains. So, if I’m wanting to build a house or any other structure that requires flood insurance, I would have to comply with the floodplain which would disallow me from putting any structures where it is floodplain. It can go ahead and be used as parking lots.”

Parking lots, according to Anderson, cause other issues with flooding that would have to be considered as they don’t absorb water the same way land would.

“Sometimes, we all drive by and say, ‘gosh that’s awful, that structure’s flooded out,” said Anderson. “We’re trying to prevent that in the future and trying to mesh that in with the more current, heavier rainfalls.”

He further explained that areas that previously didn’t flood have been experiencing flooding with changes in rainfall.

All of the public meetings will be held in the commissioners’ office, which is located on the fourth floor of the County Administration Building, 133 S. Main St. in Washington Court House.

“Anytime there is something like this that’s going to impact the public, there is a requirement of a public hearing,” explained Anderson. “We’re just trying to help the public be aware that these regulations are not meant to prohibit things that the public may want to do, it’s just that we are recognizing and obligating the developer to make certain that just because the developer wants to do something, it’s not going to impact the folks that are downstream.”

In other recent news, three contracts were approved at a recent commissioners’ meeting.

The first contract was entered into with Lindsey Precast for bridge materials for the Matthews Road Bridge project. The cost is $65,463.

The second contract is with Encore Precast for bridge materials for the Bush and Bonner Road Bridges. The cost is $30,466 per bridge.

The third contract is with Weller’s Plumbing and Heating for the labor and materials to repair the compressor on the HVAC system at the Fayette County Courthouse. The cost is $4,361.

There were two resolutions accepted.

The first resolution authorizes Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth to purchase an inmate clothing vacuum sealer from Clearwater Packaging. The sealer is to be used at the Fayette County Jail. The total cost of the unit and accessories is $21,340, which is to be paid using part of the county’s coronavirus relief fund.

The second resolution awards funding from the county’s coronavirus relief fund to the following entities: Leading Edge Technologies ($10,000), WCH 1309 Inc. ($10,000), Deb’s Pet Salon & 4D’s Red Woof Inn ($6,102), and Jim Moore’s Towing ($6,480).

Anderson also addressed two other major topics. The first is voting in the 2020 general election while the second is the elevation of local COVID cases.

“We strongly encourage people to get out and vote,” said Anderson. “The Board of Elections I think has been pretty busy, but I don’t think there have been any notifications to our office on extremely long wait times. You may wait longer than you are accustomed to, but I think the office set-up is extremely efficient, and I am very comfortable with how it’s working.”

The commissioners have been conducting conference calls every Monday with local elected officials and department heads. During these phone calls, although various topics are touched on, COVID is also discussed as needed.

“Our elected officials phone call last Monday provided an opportunity for each elected individual and department head to manage their offices how they feel comfortable and see fit. We offered the opportunity for them to close their offices down and utilize the drop boxes outside or call ahead. We’re trying to do the things that, in insurance terms, are usable, customary and reasonable — but we don’t know what any of that is today, so we’re trying to not force it upon the public from a command-type system but to allow different offices and departments to utilize what they think provides the employees with the most safety and the public with service. To my knowledge, we have not had anyone close an office that way yet,” explained Anderson.

Anderson noted that many doors have signs on them pertaining to mask usage.

“I would rather they not say, ‘you must wear a mask.’ I would rather they say, ‘we would certainly appreciate it if you wore a mask,’” said Anderson. “At the same time that the county has the obligation to provide service, we have an obligation to make sure that our employees stay in a safe situation. So, we kept that opportunity open and will continue to. We just ask that the public be aware and if you, like a lot of us, are not a huge fan of the mask and it does not make a lot of sense, just put it on for five minutes, just get done what you got to get done, and go back outside, take the mask off, and stomp on it — it makes us feel better.”

Currently, the county remains at the red alert level due to the increase in local COVID cases.

“There are so many situations that just doesn’t follow common sense, but maybe we don’t know as much about COVID as we think we do. It seems that the scientists have varying viewpoints on it,” said Anderson. “They make the rules, pass out the orders, and we have to try to comply. We try to do the best we can and still get the service to the public.”

Stay with the Record-Herald weekly for more updates from the Fayette County Commissioners. The Fayette County Commissioners’ Office is located at 133 S. Main St., suite 401 in Washington Court House, and their office hours are Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. They can be reached at 740-335-0720. Condensed minutes from the meetings are available on the county website.

Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @JennMWoods.

By Jennifer Woods