01/30/04 — City working on ditch

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City working on ditch

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on January 30, 2004 2:01 PM

Goldsboro's city manager said Thursday that he has been looking for ways to alleviate the flooding problem on Berkeley Boulevard.

Earlier this week city planning board members said they had asked City Manager Richard Slozak to look into the problem six months ago, but had not received a response from his office.

Slozak said Thursday that the city had been looking for ways to clean out a ditch near Adamsville Baptist Church to improve drainage, but that the details had not been worked out. The ditch is identified by a "blue line" on state engineering maps and is protected by the stringent Neuse River buffer rules.

The subject came up Wednesday during the planning board's review of a subdivision plan in the area behind Lowe's Home Improvement Store, which includes a 14-screen theater and upscale apartments. While the planning board was satisfied that this particular development would not add to the flooding problems in the area because of retention ponds, members said that the current situation still needed to be addressed.

A state transportation engineer has said the drainage pipes under Berkeley Boulevard are too small, but that they won't be replaced until they deteriorate.

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.

The engineer said the remainder of the ditch maintenance would have to be funded and accomplished by others, such as the city, land owners and developers.

Slozak said that he and City Engineer Terry Gallimore have met with representatives from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources to see what could be done about the ditch.

"We can clean it out to its original elevation," Slozak said. "Because it's complicated, we'll do it initially, as approved by DENR."

Slozak said the buffer rules prohibit the city from using equipment to clean the ditch. Instead it can only use manpower to prune. Trees sprouting up in the ditch can't be cut down, though branches can be trimmed.

The state also told the city that the ditch could only be cleared out from the church side. Slozak said that parts of the area were all grown up, so it would be labor intensive.

"We're trying to get prison labor to do the work," he said. "I don't know how much it will solve the problem."