Based upon the Columbia County Public Works Committee meeting of Nov. 14, I have concerns regarding the proposed sewer line which is planned to bisect my property on Deer Run in Evans.
Residents' concerns that "we would rather not have the line" were being interpreted as proponents of the project. Civil, polite and reserved demeanor have been mistakenly taken as support for this project. Personally, I now have to enunciate my lack of support for this proposed project and in fact will risk stating that I am against this sewer line.
I say "risk" precisely, as I was threatened (it was clearly intended as such) that should I not cooperate on this proposed project, my land would be condemned under eminent domain and the project would proceed without regard to preserving the pristine, old-growth forest on my property. This intimidation was reinforced when an individual made some general project inquiries on my behalf and was grilled as to why, how and for whom this was being done, with demands that my name be identified.
The lack of consideration of alternate solutions and the promotion of a single solution lacks rigorous analysis one would hope for in a project of this magnitude. The sewer line proposed some years ago, which was to be on west side of Betty's Branch in Silver Lake failed, perhaps most due to a county commissioner (Jim Whitehead) not wanting it in his neighborhood. Looking at the aerial views from Columbia County Web site, most of the houses west of Betty's Branch (in Silver Lake) seem further from the stream bed and thus more suitable for a sewer line.
Additionally, the budget shown provides for only $1,000 easement relief to each property owner, if divided evenly. The consideration for damage to the forest and stream bank destabilization (for which the state and county decline responsibility) and the decrease in property value are woefully insufficient.
Commissioner Steve Brown's comments, that "the stream bank is an environmental disaster it is in need of stabilization" after inspecting Betty's Branch, belie the supposition that an environmental impact study is not warranted.
The Columbia County commissioners should consider alternate solutions before endorsing this sole "solution." My past communications to the Board have gone unanswered. It is hoped this disregard for residents' input will not continue.
Dr. S.M. Black
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