Waterfall sounds at home: When is flooding too much?

Published 3:38 pm Tuesday, June 9, 2020

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Sounds mirroring a waterfall greet Timothy Hall when it rains outside his home.
He said during such rains, he is left to comfort his mother who is fearful. 
“She is 86 years old, and just broke her hip,” he said. “I’m having a hard time taking care of her and doing the county’s job. It’s really affecting her because those gushing sounds are from her bedroom window.”
According to Hall he has lived on Bishop Circle in Elizabethton for most of his life. During this time, he and his father, who died 15 years ago, have actively worked to address flooding in their neighborhood. 
“I don’t know how many nights my dad and I sat up, just hoping and praying water wouldn’t come in the house,” he said. 
Hall said his father attended numerous meetings to address the issue, which is affecting at least eight other homes in the neighborhood as well.
The pair also worked around their home to find ways to alleviate the flooding, through digging as deep as they could go, concreting a ditch to increase the flow of water and ultimately creating two walls, which is the greatest expense.
This added in with the cost of labor and materials have all been out of pocket. 
“I’d be afraid to add up how much I’ve spent,” he said. 
Hall said he has reached out to Chris Schuettler, Director of Planning and Zoning, Roger Colbaugh, Superintendent of the Highway Department, and Mayor Rusty Barnett, as well as other commissioners, for assistance in addressing the issue, but so far no resolution has been met. 
When asked about communications, Schuettler explained that retention ponds, which serve to alleviate flooding in the area, need to be cleaned out.
He said he believes the lack of maintenance to these, which he said were last cleaned in 2003, in addition to the work Hall has done to his property to reduce flooding, could be making the situation worse.
Schuettler said he is not in charge of maintenance, and instead said the Highway Department is. 
When Colbaugh was asked about maintenance of the retention ponds he said that he has no comments other than needing Schuettler to show him where they are located.
He also said that two other aspects he would need are knowing if the retention ponds have drainage easement and if the county owns the property. 
On May 26, Mayor Barnett came to Hall’s property to see the issue, which Hall said was for the first time. He has not spoken to Hall since. According to Barnett, after the initial meeting with Hall, he called Schuettler and Colbaugh with suggestions for a resolution.
He said he passed it along and hopes to resolve the issue.
“It’s ongoing and it’s still going, I wish I could change the rain,” he said. “Hopefully we can take care of it, I’m going to try and see what we can do. I do know about it and I am concerned about it.”
Until a resolution is met, Hall is fearful of the dangers flooding could have to the area and those around it. 
“It would be cheaper to do this than to buy a whole subdivision,” he said. “What’s in the water? Is there malaria in it? Is there diseases in it? I don’t know if it’s run out of cesspools, and I’ve seen kids playing in it.” 

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