01/29/04 — Drainage trouble

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Drainage trouble

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on January 29, 2004 2:01 PM

Goldsboro's planning board is urging the city to do something about a flooding problem on Berkeley Boulevard for the second time in six months.

The subject came up Wednesday during a review of a subdivision plan in the area behind Lowe's Home Improvement Store, which includes a 14-screen theater and upscale apartments (see "Theater moves ahead in race to Goldsboro").

While the planning board was satisfied that this particular development would not add to the existing flooding problems in the area because of retention ponds, members said that the current situation still needed to be addressed.

"I have a continued concern for drainage," said board member Chris Boyette. "There are problems that exist in the area."

Concerns about flooding were brought to the attention of the planning board more than six months ago by citizens in the area.

The planning board passed those concerns on to the city manager in a letter six months ago, but said Wednesday it had never received a response.

Earlier this week Boyette obtained a copy of a letter from the state Department of Transportation to N.C. Sen. John Kerr regarding the issue.

The October 2003 letter, which was copied to the city manager's office, responded to Kerr's request for the state's help in stopping a severe drainage problem between the Central Heights and the Stoney Creek areas.

According to the letter from DOT Division Engineer Anthony Roper, the drainage pipes under Berkeley Boulevard are "marginally adequate" for the current land use.

The DOT recommended that the pipes be replaced with larger ones, but only after it becomes necessary to replace them due to deterioration.

Boyette wondered how long that would take. "This could be years," Boyette said.

The state said it would consider replacing the pipes earlier, but only if an agreement to keep the ditches in the area clean were in place. It is not the state's responsibility to keep the drainage ditches cleaned out.

Roper said he would propose that the DOT replace the pipes under Berkeley Boulevard as part of its maintenance of the drainage system that affects the Adamsville Baptist Church, which had complained before about potential flooding.

Roper said the entire project would cost $100,000, which is more than the state plans to pay for its part. Roper said that the remainder of the ditch maintenance would have to be funded and accomplished by others, such as the city, land owners and developers.

He said he wouldn't pursue funding until he had a commitment from the other parties for ditch maintenance.

Because planning board members see that as a high-growth area, they believe the city should spearhead an effort to get the ditches cleaned out.

"I'm all for development," Boyette said, "but we can't have one teacup more of water from a development where there are already problems. We need to get a game plan together. "

Planning board member Bill Lane said he thought the effort would have to come from the city.

Jimmy Rowe, assistant planning director, said he would bring the matter to the city manager's attention.