Residents don’t want ‘waterfront’ property

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 3, 2003

WINTON – Thomas Mizelle and others living on the eastern end of Saluda Hall Road didn’t bargain for &uot;waterfront&uot; property when they purchased land to build their homes years ago.

Even though this Hertford County roadway does not come close to lying near any body of water, it takes on a &uot;lake-like&uot; appearance during heavy rainstorms. Mizelle said he, along with his neighbors, are tired of the hassles associated with accessing their flooded property and are equally as disgusted with what they referred to as, &uot;a lack of help from DOT (the North Carolina Department of Transportation).&uot;

&uot;When we get a good rain, the water stands ankle deep and higher in our yards,&uot; said Mizelle as he addressed the Hertford County Board of Commissioners here Tuesday morning. &uot;You can float an aluminum boat in our yards.&uot;

Mizelle said he considered the problem connected with water always standing in the roadside ditches.

&uot;I’ve been a resident on the east end of Saluda Hall Road for 30-plus years and I have yet to see DOT clean out those ditches,&uot; he noted. &uot;When it backs up, it causes mildew, mold and rot to our homes, not to mention a terrible problem with mosquitoes.&uot;

Apparently, those ditches drain into a privately owned canal that cuts through the woods adjacent to Mizelle’s property. He claims there are trees and debris clogging that waterway, but stressed that the first course of action was to clean the roadside ditches.

&uot;I would love nothing better than to see you, our County Commissioners, to get together with DOT and get these ditches cleaned out,&uot; he urged.

Mizelle said neither he nor his neighbors would not object to &uot;chipping in&uot; to help offset the costs associated with the possible project.

&uot;First of all, we’re taxpayers and we would like to see our tax money at work,&uot; he said. &uot;We want something done. If it’s not the DOT or the County Commissioners, maybe we need to go a step higher.&uot;

Mizelle continued, &uot;What is it we have to do to get something done? I would be ashamed to sit on this Board and see this happening to our citizens.&uot;

At the end of the presentation, Board Chairman Johnnie Ray Farmer made sure that Mizelle understood the chain of command when it came to issues dealing with state government.

&uot;We have no control over DOT,&uot; noted Farmer. &uot;All we can do is relay this particular request to DOT.&uot;

Farmer then turned to Commissioner Brenda Greene to inquire about the possibility of DOT already being notified of the flooding problems along Saluda Hall Road.

&uot;Yes, this is one of those projects that DOT is aware of,&uot; said Greene. &uot;DOT said they would be willing to clean out the first 200 feet of the canal that Mr. Mizelle made reference to on private property. After that, it would cost approximately $3,500 to complete the job, but there may be other options so that the private citizens will not have to pay.&uot;

Greene, agreeing with Mizelle, added that one option would be for DOT to first clean the roadside ditches to see if that would alleviate the problem.

Hertford County Manager Don Craft said that although the county doesn’t have the funds set aside for special projects such as this, he did mention that the county could perhaps use some of the expected mosquito control money coming from the state to use on this particular request.

&uot;It’s not like we would be setting a precedent by using this (mosquito control) money to ease a flooding problem,&uot; said Craft. &uot;We’ve done it before.&uot;

Farmer recommended that Craft get in contact with a DOT engineer and the three would visit the area in order to survey the problem and come-up with a course of action.